Hyundai A-League - 2011/2012 - Season 7

Stunning Gold Coast equaliser
denies Wellington win
By Jeremy Ruane
with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 1
4pm, 9 October, 2011
at Robina Stadium, Gold Coast

Gold Coast United FC 1
(James Brown 88’)
drew with
Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Chris Greenacre 17')


(linked from FFA web site)

A stunning James Brown equaliser two minutes from time secured Gold Coast United a richly deserved point from their clash with an injury-hit Wellington Phoenix side at Skilled Park on October 9, as the Hyundai A-League teams kicked off the season with a 1-1 draw.

Gold Coast enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges on an excellent pitch, and were only prevented from opening the scoring in the tenth minute by the offside flag. Dylan MacAllister rifled the ball home past Mark Paston, after Wellington’s ‘keeper had parried a James Brown shot, but the former Wellington striker did so from an offside position.

Wellington responded with a neat thirteenth minute move. Tony Lochhead linked with new signing Dani Sanchez, whose switched pass to Paul Ifill saw the visitors’ talisman whip in a first-time cross which found Tim Brown ghosting in on the far post. Fellow All White, Gold Coast ‘keeper Glen Moss, parried his international team-mate’s effort to safety.

Ifill loomed large on the left three minutes later, where he neatly controlled Lia’s cross-field ball before jinking inside Dylan McGowan and unleashing a shot which Moss was right behind.

But United’s ‘keeper stood not a prayer sixty seconds later, as Wellington opened the scoring. Manny Muscat stripped Adama Traore of possession inside the visitors’ half before playing the ball inside to Sanchez and storming downfield in anticipation of a return pass.

After Sanchez had surged through the middle of the park, the Spaniard duly provided the Maltese international with an invitation to cross first-time. Muscat didn’t hesitate, and picked out Chris Greenacre arriving on cue six yards out from goal to steer home the game’s opening goal.

Gold Coast sought a swift response, and had the ball in the net within three minutes. But again the offside flag deemed MacAllister had breached the offside trap as he latched onto Ben Halloran’s pass.

A fine move down the right by United saw McGowan, Halloran and Robson team up well, with the last-mentioned’s defence-splitting pass rewarding Paul Beekmans’ run from deep. But the midfielder was denied by a trademark tackle from Ben Sigmund in the act of shooting.

Only a superb save by Moss prevented Greenacre from doubling the lead with a flying near post header in the 29th minute, as he met Lia’s measured cross from the right in spectacular fashion.

Paston twice kept Wellington’s noses in front in the five minutes before half-time. On the first occasion, he turned a Beekmans’ shot to safety after MacAllister and Traore had combined on the left, while in the 44th minute, he pulled off a super stop to thwart Traore in a one-on-one situation, after the fullback had rampaged into the penalty area following good work down the left by Peter Jungschlager.

Wellington weren’t to be denied their half-time advantage, however, and came within inches of doubling it with the last kick of the half. Leo Bertos whipped in a wicked free-kick from the right which zoomed across the bows of both Greenacre and Sanchez, much to the relief of the 4,113-strong crowd.

United came out all guns blazing from the first whistle in the second spell, and should have gained their reward just 33 seconds into the half. Traore pounced on a stray pass and played the ball inside to Halloran, who worked a one-two with Robson before blazing horribly high and wide of the target from inside the penalty area and with Paston fast approaching.

Unperturbed, Gold Coast kept on coming, with Paston again coming to Wellington’s rescue to the angst of Jungschlager, after James Brown had turned two opponents in midfield and rewarded his team-mate’s sound off-the-ball running.

Robson cracked a twenty yard free-kick narrowly past Paston’s right-hand post soon after this, either side of which the visitors, who are already suffering with injury concerns, added two more players to their queue at the casualty ward - Lia, who had taken a knock to the knee in the first half, and Ifill, with a groin problem.

Gold Coast’s pressure was unrelenting, but Wellington continued to weather the storm, thanks to some defiant defending - Andrew Durante, Sigmund and Muscat were extremely effective in this regard - and Paston’s prowess twixt the sticks.

His latest intervention, in the 54th minute, saw him punching a McGowan cross off the head of James Brown after the hard-running Halloran had combined with Halloran to prise open Wellington’s defence once more.

Four minutes later, Robson whipped in a free-kick which found Ante Rozic rising on the far post to head the ball across goal. Fortunately for Wellington, Tim Brown was on hand to direct a cushioned header into the gloves of Paston, who gave the visitors a scare soon afterwards when going down with what appeared to be a rib injury.

Fortunately, he saw the game out, unlike Sanchez, who hobbled off with a calf problem as the Wellingtonians’ injury concerns grew. His departure was preceded by two chances which the visitors had to double their lead - crosses from substitute Nick Ward and Bertos just failed to find Greenacre, their intended target.

After Paston had grabbed a deflected volley from substitute Joel Porter, Wellington’s ‘keeper finally made an error, coming but missing Jungschlager’s 79th minute corner. Rozic didn’t, meeting the ball with a full-blooded header which was a goal for all money until it struck the knee of Muscat and ricocheted up and off the crossbar to safety, the fullback proving the value of covering the post at a set-piece.

A timely tackle from Sigmund denied substitute Tahj Minniecon ten minutes from time, while the defender’s well-timed challenge on Halloran just outside the area gave Gold Coast the chance to win the game in stoppage time, one they wasted.

For they had equalised in stunning fashion in the 88th minute. Seconds after a deflected Michael Thwaite drive had flashed past the post, a surging run from James Brown saw him power past three opponents before he thundered home a thirty-yarder which Paston hadn’t a prayer of stopping.

Gold Coast would have been kicking themselves if they hadn’t taken at least a point from this game, such were the chances they had, while the 1-1 outcome is one which Wellington should be pleased with, given the disruptions they endured both during the game and prior to it - hopefully their trip home will take far less time than the fourteen hours it took to head north-west from Wellington.



2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 1
4pm, 9 October, 2011
at Robina Stadium, Gold Coast

Gold Coast United FC 1
(James Brown 88’)
drew with
Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Chris Greenacre 17')

    Crowd: 4,113

    MATCH STATS:

    Gold Coast United FC :
    Player listing:
    Moss (gk); McGowan (Porter, 57), Thwaite, Rozic, Traore; Halloran, Robson, Beekmans (Severino, 81), Jungschlager; J. Brown, MacAllister (Minniecon, 74)
    Substitutes not used: tba

    Coach: Miron Bleiberg

    Yellow Cards: Nil
    Red Cards: Nil

    Wellington Phoenix FC :
    Player listing:
    Paston; Muscat, Sigmund, Durante (booked, 84), Lochhead; Bertos, Lia (Ward, 50 (booked, 90)), T. Brown, Ifill (Daniel, 53); Sanchez (Downey, 69), Greenacre
    Substitutes not used: tba

    Coach: Ricki Herbert

    Yellow Cards: Andrew Durante 83’
    Red Cards: Nil


    Referee: Gerard Parsons 6/10

    BOTN Player Points:
    > 3. Mark Paston (WP)
    2. James Brown (GCU)
    1. Manny Muscat (WP)

    Pitch rating: 8/10 - best it's ever been, surely

    Game rating: 7 /10 - whoever thought Gold Coast United could be entertaining?

    Match Report and ratings: By Jeremy Ruane, from NZ

Nil photos


Disclaimer: The content of this report is the responsibility of the writer. Stats are either as recorded by the writer at the game, or as supplied by FFA, or a mixture - no responsibility can be taken for their compete accuracy although we do strive for that. Any photos used here, unless attributed, are as implicitly supplied by FFA and used by assumed permission.

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