Hyundai A-League - 2011/2012 - Season 7

Late Sigmund header rare highlight in poor game
By Jeremy Ruane
with the compliments of

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 10
5pm, Saturday 10 December, 2011
at Westpac Stadium Wellington, NZ

Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Ben Sigmund 84')

Perth Glory FC 0

(linked from FFA web site)

A late Ben Sigmund bullet header fired Wellington Phoenix to a 1-0 victory over Perth Glory at Westpac Stadium on December 10, one of very few highlights in a Hyundai A-League fixture which the bulk of the 6,020 fans present won’t have fond memories of in the days and months to come.

Quite frankly, the first half was diabolical, riddled with fouls and niggly incidents. Indeed, so poor was what unfolded that it would not surprise to see both clubs charged with bringing the game into disrepute, because what they contrived to produce certainly made a mockery of “the beautiful game”.

Goalscoring opportunities in the first half could be counted on one hand, with Perth twice threatening a goal inside the first 100 seconds. Tony Lochhead headed a Liam Miller shot to safety after just nineteen seconds, while Vince Lia survived strong appeals for a handball offence after Shane Smeltz directed a header against the midfielder’s arm in the penalty area.

Referee Ryan Shepheard waved play on, but soon had his hands full dealing with a real stop-start affair between two teams who seemed more intent on getting the upper hand via physical means rather than footballing ones.

Occasionally, make that very occasionally, some brief flashes of football broke out amidst the first half mayhem, and the bulk of them were supplied by Perth. In the twelfth minute, Mile Sterjovski’s probing ball into the penalty area was met by Josh Mitchell’s deft shot.

Tony Warner grabbed this effort underneath his crossbar, then saved at the feet of Adam Hughes six minutes before half-time, after Smeltz had flicked on Jacob Burns’ ball forward.

At the other end of the park, Bas Van Den Brink headed a Paul Ifill cross out of the hands of Danny Vukovic on the quarter-hour as Wellington produced their first attack of the match, while their former goalkeeper smothered Dani Sanchez’s shot on the stroke of half-time after Manny Muscat’s free-kick had been cleared to the Spaniard.

After this effort, Tim Brown, one of three Wellington players to be booked in the first half as their disciplinary issues continued, was fortunate to avoid a second yellow card for an off-the-ball incident with Sterjovski which largely summed up the entire nature of the first forty-five minutes.

The second spell wasn’t a great deal better, although in fairness, both teams made an effort to play football in the second half, and the foul count diminished markedly. But with both sides averaging a goal per game going into this encounter, it was no surprise that scoring chances continued to be at a premium.

After Vukovic had received lengthy treatment for an ankle injury, Chris Greenacre and Leo Bertos both gave their team-mate little cause for concern with efforts around the hour mark. The former sliced his volley wide of the target, while the latter’s attempt tamely trickled through to the custodian.

Sanchez went closer than either of them in the 66th minute with a viciously struck free-kick which had Vukovic diving in vain as it arced over the defensive wall and just past the ’keeper’s right hand post.

Warner also had his moments as the second half unfolded. He smothered a twenty yarder from Miller on the hour after Trent McClenahan and Adam Hughes had engineered the opening down the right, but the ‘keeper was found wanting seven minutes later as Hughes flicked on a Van Den Brink cross.

Sigmund got his team-mate out of jail as Smeltz moved in for the kill against his old club, and after Van Den Brink had headed an Ifill effort to safety following Manny Muscat’s industry on the right, it was the fan’s favourite who broke the deadlock five minutes from time, soaring skywards to meet Bertos’ corner with a thumping header which bulleted into the top left-hand corner of Vukovic’s net.

Cue a late charge from the visitors, who twice went close to equalising via Jacob Burns free-kicks in stoppage time, both of which saw Vukovic joining his team-mates among the gathered throngs in Wellington’s penalty area.

On the first occasion, Andrew Durante stopped a Hughes shot with his hand - referee Shepheard was unsighted, much to the home team’s relief, although this was tempered somewhat by the sight of Lochhead pulling up sharply with what looked suspiciously like a groin problem - Wellington won’t need reminding how much they missed the fullback when he was last sidelined by a similar injury.

One Wellington player certain of a spell on the sidelines is substitute Mirjan Pavlovic, who undid all his hard running during his time on the park by stupidly getting himself sent off for recklessly lunging at Steve Pantelidis from behind, as the Perth man emerged from his own penalty area.

It left the home team to see out the game with ten men, and they managed the feat, just. But only after another Burns free-kick had seen Hughes beat Warner in the air again, only for the midfielder to be unable to direct his header on target with the last chance of a decidedly forgettable fixture, one which made watching rugby or Everton seem positively attractive by comparison!

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 10
5pm, Saturday 10 December, 2011
at Westpac Stadium Wellington, NZ

Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Ben Sigmund 84')

Perth Glory FC 0

    Crowd: 6,020


    Wellington Phoenix FC :
    Player listing:
    Warner (gk); Muscat, Sigmund, Durante, Lochhead (Daniel +90); Ifill, Lia, Brown, Bertos; Sanchez (Pavlovic +76' (RC), Greenacre (Ward +84')

    Substitutes not used: 1. Mark Paston (rgk)

    Coach: Ricki Herbert

    Yellow Cards: Lochhead 32', Ifill 31', Brown 41''
    Red Cards: Pavlovic 90'

    Perth Glory FC :
    Player listing:
    Vukovic (gk); McClenahan (Pantelidis +88'), Van Den Brink, Mitchell, Howarth,Miller, Burns, Hughes; Sterjovski (Amphlett +72'), Smeltz, Andrezinho (Mehmet +77')

    Substitutes not used: (rgk)

    Coach: Ian Ferguson

    Yellow Cards: Mitchell 88', Howarth 65'
    Red Cards:Nil

    Referee: Ryan Shepheard 2/10
    Assistants: Mark Rule, Nathan McDonald; Fourth Official: Matthew Conger

    BOTN Player Points:
    > 3. No-one merited the full quota
    2. Bas Van Den Brink (PG)
    1. Vince Lia (WP)

    Pitch rating: 8/10

    Game rating: 1/10

    Match Report and ratings: By Jeremy Ruane

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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