Hyundai A-League - 2011/2012 - Season 7

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Defiant defensive display stifles Sydney
By Jeremy Ruane
with the compliments of

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Week 21
5:30 pm, Saturday 25 February, 2012
at Sydney Football Stadium

Sydney FC 0
lost to
Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Paul Ifill 13')

(linked from FFA web site)

A defiant defensive display by Wellington Phoenix earned the visitors to the Sydney Football Stadium a hard-earned 1-0 win over Sydney FC on February 25, a result which leaves the beaten team’s play-off hopes on thin ice, and which wasn’t greatly appreciated by the majority of the 10,165 fans present.

Sydney began smartly enough, Terry McFlynn winning the ball on half-way in the third minute before slipping it through to Joel Chianese, who ran at Wellington’s defence prior to setting up Bruno Cazarine for a shot which he sent sizzling over the bar.

Five minutes later, the home team’s foremost striker went closer still. Nick Carle spread play wide to Scott Jamieson, steaming up from fullback, and his pinpoint cross found Cazarine in between defenders. His ten-yard bullet header was splendidly tipped away from the top corner by Mark Paston.

Another overlapping fullback was to make a telling impact in the thirteenth minute. Wellington’s lone attack of the half saw Chris Greenacre and Paul Ifill combine to work the ball wide to Tony Lochhead, who curled a scrumptious cross into the danger zone.

Ifill darted in front of Michael Beauchamp to meet it, and did he meet it! A thumping angled downward header left Ivan Necevski powerless to prevent it arrowing past him into the bottom right-hand corner of the net from eight yards - 1-0 Wellington, and once again, it was that man Ifill to whom they turned in thanks and celebration.

After this setback, Sydney dominated proceedings, but all too often their approach play foundered on a final ball which failed to do justice to the work which had gone prior, or Wellington’s sterling defensive work, in which Ben Sigmund and Andrew Durante were yet again to the fore.

Both weren’t in the frame in the 23rd minute, however, as Chianese took advantage of a bouncing ball and dashed into the penalty area, taking the ball past Paston in the process. At this point, the striker went to ground, the ‘keeper’s momentum appearing to have prompted Paston to clip Chianese’s trailing leg as he went past.

Howls for a penalty were swiftly heard from Sydney fans, which would have meant a sending-off for Wellington’s custodian, as he was the last man. Referee Peter Green had other ideas, however - a free-kick was awarded to the visitors, and Chianese was booked for simulation. Video evidence was inconclusive - a brave call by the official.

Sydney next threatened eleven minutes before half-time when recalled Socceroo Carle jinked his way through three defenders, including Sigmund, before rattling the side-netting. But an even better chance was to fall the home team’s way three minutes prior to the interval.

Brett Emerton buccaneered his way to the right-hand by-line before whipping a wicked cross into the heart of Wellington’s goalmouth, Rising, salmon-like, to meet it was Cazarine, who should have buried this heading opportunity. Instead, he directed it downwards but too close to Paston, who was able to parry the sphere then recover to block the scrambling striker’s attempt to turn home the rebound.

Sydney went to the dressing rooms regretting that and other opportunities which had got away on them, and six minutes into the second half they were nearly made to pay for their profligacy for a second time.

Greenacre switched play to Lochhead, who teamed up with Leo Bertos to make in-roads down the left. The latter then brought Tim Brown into play, and his pass found Lochhead darting in off the flank.

The fullback then worked an opening with Bertos which allowed Ifill a sight of goal, and his low angled drive careered narrowly past the far post, and only just too far in front of the incoming figure of Greenacre, who would have had a tap-in had the ball been two yards closer to him.

The home team heeded the warning, and once again laid siege to the Wellington goal. And despite wobbles aplenty, the visitors stood firm. Emerton curled a delicious twenty yard free-kick inches past Paston’s left-hand post in the 58th minute.

Seconds later, Durante headed off the line after Pascal Bosschaart’s super through ball had picked out Jamieson, whose cross for Cazarine deflected off Dani Sanchez and looped over the stranded figure of Paston towards the target.

Paston then turned another twenty-yarder from Emerton round the post after he had cut inside past Manny Muscat, while from Emerton’s resulting corner, Paston punched the ball out as far as Chianese, whose acrobatic fifteen yard volley was deflected to safety.

Further close calls from Chianese and Cazarine gave Wellington further cause for concern, while in response, the visitors mounted a couple of rare raids which ruffled Sydney’s feathers in the 64th and 65th minute.

Ifill scooped a shot over the bar after Bertos made in-roads down the left, while the goalscorer engineered a fine opening seconds later after breaking down the right. Ifill’s cross to the near post found Greenacre racing in to meet it, but the ball struck the covering figure of Beauchamp, forcing birthday boy Necevski into a smart reflex save to prevent the visitors from doubling their lead through an unlikely source.

Normal service - Sydney pounding away - soon resumed, Cazarine going close with an acrobatic volley following more Carle creativity the only time the home team truly threatened in the next fifteen minutes. On the other occasions, Wellington just got bodies in the way - it wasn’t pretty by any means, but it sure was effective.

Come the final ten minutes, and the home team were getting increasingly desperate in their efforts to snare a point. Substitute Terry Antonis was only inches away with a twenty-five yarder, while another replacement, speedster Mitch Mallia, could not make up the ground in time to prevent Paston from clearing as he pursued a through ball.

Then in stoppage time, Beauchamp spurned two great chances to level the scores. The first came from an Emerton cross to the far post which found the by-now-makeshift striker with just Paston to beat.

The ‘keeper parried his header to safety, but when Beauchamp was next picked out by a cross, he had an open goal at his mercy, Paston having come for the cross but missed it horribly. Not half as horribly as Beauchamp missed the target, however - the howls of “The Cove” could be heard as far north as Newcastle!

While Sydney’s fans were still bemoaning their side’s misfortune in front of goal, Wellington substitute Mirjan Pavlovic went close to doubling the visitors’ advantage thanks to a downfield dash which culminated in him attempting to chip Necevski.

The ‘keeper wasn’t falling for that effort, but the sound of the final whistle soon after put a dampener on his birthday celebrations - it was Wellington who were in joyous mood thanks to a rare win in Sydney which has sent them back into third spot on the table, while the beaten team drop out of the play-off spots once more.

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 23
5:30 pm, Saturday 25 February, 2012
at Sydney Football Stadium

Sydney FC 0
lost to
Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Paul Ifill 13')

    Crowd: 10,165


    Sydney FC :
    Player listing:
    20. Ivan Necevski (gk), 4. Pascal Bosschaart, 5. Michael Beauchamp, 6. Hirofumi Moriyasu (17. Terry Antonis +68'), 7. Brett Emerton, 9. Bruno Cazarine, 10. Nick Carle, 15. Terry McFlynn (c), 16. Joel Chianese (24. Mitch Mallia +75'), 21. Scott Jamieson, 23. Rhyan Grant (22. Nathan Sherlock +89')

    Substitutes not used: 1. Liam Reddy (rgk)

    Coach: Vitislav Lavicka

    Yellow Cards: Joel Chianese 23', Michael Beauchamp 64'
    Red Cards:Nil

    Wellington Phoenix FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Mark Paston, 2. Manny Muscat, 3. Tony Lochhead, 6. Tim Brown, 7. Leo Bertos (24. Alex Smith ‘78), 8. Paul Ifill, 9. Chris Greenacre (14. Mirjan Pavlovic ‘83), 17. Vince Lia, 18. Ben Sigmund, 21. Daniel Sanchez (12. Nick Ward ‘68), 22 Andrew Durante (c).

    Substitutes not used: 20. Anthony Warner (rgk)

    Coach: Ricki Herbert

    Yellow Cards: Vince Lia 67'
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Peter Green 6/10
    Assistant Referees: Daniel Goodwin, Scott Edeling; Fourth official: Stephen Lucas

    BOTN Player Points:
    > 3. Andrew Durante (WP)
    2. Ben Sigmund (WP)
    1. Mark Paston (WP)

    Pitch rating: 6/10

    Game rating: 7/10

    Match Report and ratings: By Jeremy Ruane

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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