Hyundai A-League - 2011/2012 - Season 7

Brown’s Late Header Earns Rare Road Win
By Jeremy Ruane
with the compliments of

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 15
5:30pm, Sunday 15 January, 2012
at Skilled Stadium, Robina

Gold Coast United FC 0
lost to
Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Tim Brown 88')

(linked from FFA web site)

A late headed goal from Tim Brown earned Wellington Phoenix their first away win of the Hyundai A-League season at Skilled Park on January 15, as they silenced all but the Wellington fans in the paltry 2,135-strong crowd by edging Gold Coast United 1-0.

The scoreline does scant justice to the match, which saw a plethora of chances squandered throughout proceedings, so much so that it’s a miracle that only one goal was scored!

Straight from the kick-off, both teams went on the offensive, United initially. Adama Traore, Maceo Rigters and Ben Halloran combined to slip James Brown into the penalty area, but Andrew Durante’s challenge took the pace off the shot and made it easy for recalled ‘keeper Mark Paston to deal with.

Wellington responded through another recalled player, Nick Ward, who galloped down the right before whipping over a cross for Chris Greenacre, whose near post header was tipped over the bar by Jerrad Tyson.

The resulting short corner saw Tony Lochhead whip in a cross which Gold Coast failed to clear, allowing Tim Brown to get in a shot on goal. Tyson blocked it, while Michael Thwaite blocked Dani Sanchez’s attempt to rifle home the rebound, before Jonas Salley cleared United’s lines.

The respite was brief. Within seconds, Wellington were on the prowl again, led by the outstanding Ben Sigmund - his was an immense defensive display. On this occasion, he surged out of defence, with Brown taking over and picking out Sanchez.

Tyson parried his shot, with the ball ricocheting off Thwaite and past the bewildered figure of Kristian Rees before rebounding off the post, with Rees completely oblivious to the ball’s whereabouts!

Gold Coast managed to survive this scare, and another when Ward, Brown and Sanchez combined on the right to invite Paul Ifill to go for goal with a header. The ball soared over the bar, which allowed the home team a few seconds to gather themselves and set about establishing themselves in the contest.

A right royal arm wrestle ensued, but Gold Coast gradually began to gain the ascendancy, only to find Sigmund in imperious form in defence, blocking numerous openings before the home team could pounce. He was ably supported by Durante and Manny Muscat, but Sigmund was responsible for the lion’s share of Gold Coast’s frustration.

He couldn’t keep them at bay all the time, however, and just after the half-hour mark, Rees came close to making amends for his earlier fright by stinging the gloves of Paston following a James Brown corner.

Sigmund stepped in to thwart the lively Halloran soon after, with James Brown’s resulting corner seeing Thwaite’s close-range header kept out by Paston’s parried save.

After Ward had sent a volley careering wide at the other end of the park, Halloran and the similarly energetic figure of Traore teamed up to prise open Wellington’s defence, only for Halloran’s shot to creep narrowly past Paston’s right-hand post.

The ‘keeper, whose distribution accuracy remains as wayward as it was before his spell on the bench, somehow kept out Paul Beekmans’ effort six minutes from half-time, after the midfielder had worked a one-two in the penalty area with Rigters to engineer a shooting chance from four yards. Paston’s reflex save was top drawer.

Paston is always good value for one absolute howler per game, however, and it duly materialised early in the second spell, but not before United had, via Salley and Traore, surged downfield straight from the kick-off, the latter thundering a fifteen yarder against Paston’s near post just twenty seconds after the resumption.

A minute later, Traore charged forward again, linking with Salley who brought Beekmans into play. His low cross fizzed across the face of goal, Rigters a couple of strides away from making contact with the ball and giving Gold Coast the lead.

Cue Paston’s latest “Minties Moment”, four minutes after half-time. The incisive run into the penalty area of Peter Jungschlager went unchallenged by Wellington players, so the midfielder promptly took aim and unleashed a low drive which Paston dived to smother.

The sight of the ball suddenly bouncing over the prone ‘keeper after striking his glove was a heart-in-mouth moment for Wellington fans, but much to their relief, Muscat kept his wits about and got his ‘keeper out of jail with a splendid goal-line clearance, particularly given he had Rees on his shoulder as he swept the ball to safety.

United took a few minutes to recover from this setback, which allowed Wellington the chance to strike out in pursuit of an opening goal at the other end of the park. Tyson had to tip Ifill’s deflected cross over the bar as it arced goalwards, while a driving run and shot from substitute Leo Bertos narrowly cleared the woodwork, Greenacre clipped the top of the bar with a dipping twenty-five yard volley on the hour.

By now, Gold Coast were back in the groove, Rees having sent a volley bouncing past the post following a James Brown free-kick. Rigters then headed wide from six yards after substitute Dylan MacAllister had chased down a deflected James Brown shot and whipped in a cross which left Paston flailing in vain.

Soon after, the substitute aggravated his hamstring injury, meaning he enjoyed a fourteen-minute cameo against his old club, but at what price? Certainly it meant coach Miron Bleiberg had to change his plans - the experiment of having a coach wired up to contribute to the television commentary during a match was both novel and insightful.

It certainly revealed Bleiberg’s frustrations, as his team continued to create chances galore but contrived to miss them all, often without even threatening to hit the target. At the other end of the park, however, a stray back-pass from Salley was pounced on by Wellington substitute James Downey, who found himself one-on-one with Tyson.

The ‘keeper stood his ground, then plunged to his right to parry Downey’s 69th minute drive to safety - the replacement should have done far better with what was, without question, the game’s best chance to this point.

Ifill and Tim Brown both went close in the next five minutes, while Salley thwarted Downey nine minutes from time as he looked to head home a Bertos cross. And after James Brown had just failed to get on the end of a Rigters cross, Wellington substitute Daniel gifted possession to United’s Brown, who buccaneered towards goal before, like so many of his team-mates, coming a cropper at the hands of Sigmund.

That was a great chance, one Daniel was pleased to see spurned. And how the Brazilian made amends for his part in it, two minutes from time. Seconds after United committed the cardinal sin of making a substitution immediately prior to defending a set-piece, Daniel whipped in an 88th minute free-kick from the left.

Tim Brown lost his marker, soared skywards and, from twelve yards, guided an exquisite header beyond the diving figure of Tyson into the net to earn Wellington a rare and priceless victory on the road, as well as allowing them to close to within a point of third-placed Melbourne Heart.

There was still time for Gold Coast to snatch what would have been a deserved point from the match, but alas for the bottom-placed team, the combination play of Junschlager, substitute Daniel Severino, Rigters and Salley ultimately foundered on the despairing challenge of Muscat, whose effort forced the last-mentioned United player to fire wide of the mark in stoppage time, and confirm Wellington’s 1-0 win.

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 15
5:30pm, Sunday 15 January, 2012
at Skilled Stadium, Robina

Gold Coast United FC 0
lost to
Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Tim Brown 88')

    Crowd: 2,135


    Gold Coast United FC :
    Player listing:
    20. Jerrad Tyson [gk], 3.Michael Thwaite (c), 5.Kristian Rees (12.Dylan Macallister 63’) (21.Daniel Severino 77’), 6.Paul Beekmans (29.Mitch Bevan 88’), 13.Ante Rozic, 14.Ben Halloran, 15.Adama Traore, 16.Maceo Rigters, 18.James Brown, 22.Peter Jungschlager, 24.Jonas Salley

    Substitutes not used: 40.Chris O’Connor [rgk]

    Coach: Miron Bleiberg

    Yellow Cards: Kristian Rees 21’, Michael Thwaite 73’
    Red Cards: Nil

    Wellington Phoenix FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Mark Paston [gk], 2 Manny Muscat, 3 Tony Lochhead, 6.Tim Brown, 8.Paul Ifill, 9.Chris Greenacre, 12.Nicky Ward (19.Jimmy Downey 66’), 18.Ben Sigmund, 21.Dani Sanchez (7.Leo Bertos 50’), 22.Andrew Durante (c), 24.Alex Smith (11.Daniel 82’)

    Substitutes not used: 20.Tony Warner (rgk)

    Coach: Ricki Herbert

    Yellow Cards: Tim Brown 58’, Paul Ifill 86'
    Red Cards:Nil

    Referee: Kurt Ams 6/10
    Assistants: Dennis Silk, Nathan Macdonald; Fourth Official: Alan Milliner

    BOTN Player Points:
    > 3. Ben Sigmund (WP)
    2. Adama Traore (GCU)
    1. Manny Muscat (WP)

    Pitch rating: 6/10

    Game rating: 8/10

    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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