A-League: HAL 7 (2011 - 2012 Season)
Round 16+ Review
Jeremy Ruane
(with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com)

'Central Coast surge clear with two wins in four days'

Hyundai A-League leaders Central Coast Mariners scored two wins in four days during the past week to surge clear at the top of the table, with two-thirds of the premiership phase of the competition having been completed.

The week began with two Wednesday evening encounters, the later one seeing Central Coast pinching the milk out of Melbourne Heart’s tea as they stole a 1-0 win at AAMI Park, despite being outplayed for the majority of the match.

How the home team failed to score only Mathew Ryan could explain! He was outstanding twixt the sticks for the league leaders, making a string of splendid saves to keep his team in the contest.

On the one occasion Alex Terra managed to beat him, the post came to Central Coast’s rescue, but come the dying stages of the match, it was still a minor miracle that the table-toppers were still on level terms in this one-sided contest.

Murphy’s Law being what it is, Adam Kwasnik popped up in the last minute to snatch a dramatic victory for the visitors which silenced the 5,522-strong crowd and extended the leaders’ advantage to nine points on the table.

7,478 fans turned up to Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday evening to see Central Coast maintain their title charge as they came from behind to down Adelaide United 3-2 in a thrilling encounter.

The first three goals came in a four-minute spell just after the quarter hour mark. Daniel McBreen gave the Mariners the lead when heading home a Pedj Bojic cross, but while they were still celebrating, Adelaide struck back in devastating fashion through Sergio Van Dijk and Bruce Djite - the ol’ one-two combination in the week Muhammad Ali celebrated his seventieth birthday!

There were chances galore for both teams before the half-time whistle, and the thrills and spills continued into the second spell before the home team levelled matters sixteen minutes from time.

Kwasnik was the marksman, but within three minutes, Van Dijk was only prevented from restoring Adelaide’s advantage by the post. Central Coast stormed straight downfield from the rebound, and promptly took the lead themselves through Joshua Rose, a strike which set up a grandstand finish.

Try as they might, however, John Kosmina’s team failed to notch the equaliser which would maintain the unbeaten run they have enjoyed since their mentor’s return, meaning Central Coast are the first team to clock up forty points so far for the season.

Their lead is now eleven points over reigning champions Brisbane Roar, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Melbourne Heart in front of 7,118 fans at AAMI Park in Saturday’s feature match of the round.

Melbourne opened the scoring in a lively affair when Jonathan Germano was perfectly placed to head home the rebound on the half-hour after Alex Terra’s spectacular volley had been blocked by a defender.

Brisbane had the chance to level matters from the penalty spot eight minutes later, but Besart Berisha, who is staring at a one-match suspension after his antics a week ago, spurned the chance by firing over the bar - and there wasn’t too much sympathy for him from Sydney supporters when he did, we understand!

The Albanian firebrand made amends in the 69th minute, however, heading home the equaliser - his eleventh goal of the season - to set up the final twenty minutes, during which both teams sought a winning goal.

None was forthcoming, however, and the stalemate was a result neither team wanted, particularly Melbourne, who found themselves pushed down into fourth spot by a team which has never been as high as third in their entire A-League history.

On Friday night, Wellington Phoenix made it back-to-back wins on the road for the first time in their history when seeing off Newcastle Jets 1-0 at Ausgrid Stadium, where 11,649 fans saw Manny Muscat score his first goal for the club just shy of the hour mark - and in some style, too, a goal which lifted the New Zealand-based club into the hitherto unchartered waters - for them - of the top three!

The early game on Wednesday saw Sydney FC and Perth Glory share the spoils in a 1-1 draw in stifling conditions at the Campbelltown Sports Stadium, where the scoring was reserved for the latter stages of each half.

A pitiful crowd numbering just 5,505 - serious consideration was given to announcing the crowd changes to the players, so poor was the turn-out - saw Sydney arrest their losing streak courtesy a Mark Bridge goal in first half stoppage time, but they were denied victory by Adam Hughes’ late equaliser for Perth, whose own unbeaten run compounds the problems of their hosts, who boast just two points from their last six games.

So to Sunday’s fare, which saw Sydney FC finally return to winning ways with a come-from-behind 2-1 triumph over Gold Coast United, while Perth Glory mauled Melbourne Victory 4-1 to open up a bit of a gap between the top six and the bottom four, all of whom have a game in hand on those above them.

Sydney’s Brett Emerton and United’s Jonas Salley both hit the woodwork in the opening twenty minutes at the Sydney Football Stadium, but the 8,541-strong crowd were mortified when Ben Halloran opened the scoring for the visitors ten minutes into the second half.

Their despair continued to mount as Ante Rozic produced two goal-line clearances to keep Gold Coast’s noses in front, but their resistance was finally broken by Karol Kisel nineteen minutes from time.

Sydney needed all three points, however, and got them in the last minute of the match when Bruno Cazarine headed home to bring their winless run to an end, and leave the beaten team firmly anchored at the bottom of the table.

Perth remain ahead of the Sydneysiders in fifth spot after handing Melbourne Victory a right pasting in front of 12,000 fans, the biggest crowd seen at NIB Stadium for some time. And they had plenty to rejoice about in a foul-riddled match in which three penalties were awarded.

Shane Smeltz, who opened the scoring after fourteen minutes, potted his second goal from the spot ten minutes before half-time, while Mile Sterjovski gave Perth a 3-0 half-time advantage when converting from the twelve-yard mark two minutes before the break.

Melbourne had to score first in the second spell, and did so when Harry Kewell swept home his spot-kick half-way through the half. That gave the visitors a lifeline, but any hopes they harboured of a comeback went west when Danny Allsopp was sent off twelve minutes from time.

There was still time for Andrezinho to apply the coup de grace, much to the delight of the Perth fans, who lie just two points off third place following an intriguing week of A-League action.

There is A-League action on five successive days, this week, kicking off with Newcastle’s clash with Adelaide at Bathurst’s Carrington Park on Wednesday evening. The next day sees the traditional Australia Day clash between Melbourne Victory and Sydney, both of whom need the points with the play-off placings now coming into focus.

It’s the battle of the Coasts on Friday night - Gold host Central at Skilled Park, while Brisbane and Newcastle draw swords at Suncorp Stadium twenty-four hours later. And on Sunday, Wellington welcome Melbourne Heart to Westpac Stadium for the match of a round which is concluded by Perth’s visit to Adelaide’s Hindmarsh Stadium.

Details: Hyundai A-League, weekend 16:

Melbourne Heart FC 0 - Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (Adam Kwasnik (89)); HT 0-0
Sydney FC 1 (Mark Bridge (45)) - Perth Glory FC 1 (Adam Hughes (88)); HT 1-0
Central Coast Mariners FC 3 (Daniel McBreen (15), Adam Kwasnik (74), Joshua Rose (78)) - Adelaide United FC 2 (Sergio van Dijk (17), Bruce Djite (19)); HT 1-2
Melbourne Heart FC 1 (Jonatan Germano (31) - Brisbane Roar FC 1 (Besart Berisha (69)); HT 1-0
Newcastle Jets FC 0 - Wellington Phoenix FC 1 (Manny Muscat (58)); HT 0-0
Perth Glory FC 4 (Shane Smeltz (14, 35 pen), Mile Sterjovski (43 pen), Andrezinho (89)) - Melbourne Victory FC 1 (Harry Kewell (68 pen)); HT 3-0
Sydney FC 2 (Karol Kisel (71), Bruno Cazarine (89)) - Gold Coast United FC 1 (Ben Halloran (55)); HT 0-0

By Jeremy Raune, from NZ

Details: National Youth-League, Round 12:

20 Jan - 5:15pm - Newcastle Jets FC 1 - Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) 0 - Newcastle Ausgrid Stadium
20 Jan - 6:30pm - Central Coast Mariners FC 3 - Adelaide United FC 0 - Pluim Park, Lisarow
21 Jan - 3:00pm - Sydney FC 1 - Gold Coast United FC 3 - WIN Jubilee, Kogarah
21 Jan - 5:00pm - Perth Glory FC 0 - Melbourne Victory FC 0 - 6PR Stadium, Inglewood
22 Jan - 4:00pm - Melbourne Heart FC 1 - Brisbane Roar FC 5 - John Cain Memorial Park, Thornbury

Details: Westfield womens W-League, Semi Finals:

Westfield W-League 2011/12 Semi-final Round-Up

Canberra United FC 1 (Michelle Heyman 83’) - Melbourne Victory FC 0

Saturday 21 January - McKellar Park, Canberra - Local kick-off: 3pm

Referee: Kiralee Gardner

Canberra United: Lydia WILLIAMS, Caitlin COOPER, Ellie BRUSH, Hayley RASO (Emma KETE 60’), Grace GILL (Caitlin MUNOZ 91’), Michelle HEYMAN, Nicole SYKES, Ashleigh SYKES, Sally SHIPARD, Taryn HEMMINGS, Jennifer BISSET

Substitutes not used: Georgia YEOMAN-DALE, Snez VELJANOVSKA, Aroon CLANSEY (gk)

Yellow cards: Nil; Red cards: Nil

Melbourne Victory: Brianna DAVEY, Rebekah STOTT, Maika RUYTER-HOOLEY, Kendall FLETCHER, Danielle JOHNSON, Stephanie CATLEY, Ashley BROWN, Jodie TAYLOR, Caitlin FRIEND (Georgie KOUTROUVELIS 80’), Katrina GORRY, Amy JACKSON

Substitutes not used: Rita MANKOWSKA, Louisa BISBY, Cassandra DIMOVSKI (gk)

Yellow cards: Ashley Brown 57’; Red cards: Nil

Brisbane Roar FC 1 (Emily Gielnik 95’+) - Sydney FC 1 (Renee Rollason 18’)
> * Brisbane Roar win 4-2 on penalties

Sunday 22 January - Queensland Sport and Athletic Centre, Brisbane - Local kick-off: 2pm

Referee: Casey Reibelt

Brisbane Roar: Casey DUMONT (gk), Laura ALLEWAY, Clare POLKINGHORNE, Brooke SPENCE, Joanne BURGESS, Kim CARROLL, Catherine CANNULI (Olga CEBRIAN-GARCIA 79’), Lana HARCH (Emily GIELNIK 46’), Aivi LUIK, Tameka BUTT, Vedrana POPOVIC

Substitutes not used: Hoshimi KISHI (gk), Ellen BEAUMONT, Rebecca PRICE

Yellow cards: Vedrana Popovic 34’; Red cards: Nil

Sydney FC: Allison LIPSHER (gk), Teresa POLIAS, Danielle BROGAN, Renee ROLLASON (Teigen ALLEN 83’), Estelle JOHNSON, Servet UZUNLAR, Kylie LEDBROOK (Brittany WHITFIELD 93’), Caitlin FOORD, Thea SLATYER, Kyah SIMON, Leena KHAMIS (Sarah WALSH 71’)

Substitutes not used: Alisha BASS

Yellow Cards: Server Uzunlar 40’, Renee Rollason 61’ Kyah Simon 69’, 96’, Teigen Allen 112’; Red Cards: Kyah Simon 96’

Westfield W-League 2012 Final

Match: Canberra United FC v Brisbane Roar FC

Date: Saturday 28 January 2012 - Venue: McKellar Stadium - Canberra - Kick Off: 3:00pm (EDST)

Gates Open: 2:00pm (EDST) - The match will be shown live on ABC at 3pm.


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