Hyundai A-League - 2011/2012 - Season 7

Perth edge Wellington to retain perfect record
By Jeremy Ruane
with the compliments of

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 3
4:30 pm, Sunday 23 October, 2011
at East Perth Oval (aka Nib Stadium)

Perth Glory FC 1
(Shane Smeltz 33')

Wellington Phoenix FC 0

(linked from FFA web site)

Perth Glory maintained their perfect start to the 2011-12 Hyundai A-League season at NIB Stadium on October 23, but they were made to work decidedly hard for their 1-0 win over a Wellington Phoenix side which has rarely performed as well as this on the road.

The game was barely a minute old when the home team went close to recording the perfect start to the match. Travis Dodd rampaged down the right before attempting to pick out Shane Smeltz with a cross, but Ben Sigmund hurtled across to thwart the threat.

Sigmund’s central defensive partner, Andrew Durante, has had a new lease of life since becoming a father recently, but in the fifth minute he took things to extremes. Racing out of defence, he played a one-two with Dani Sanchez and stormed down the left before getting to the by-line.

This is nose-bleed territory for a central defender at the best of times! But Wellington’s captain produced a quality cross to the near post which Chris Greenacre headed narrowly past the upright - a riveting raid deserving of better fate!

Four minutes later, Sanchez worked an opening with Leo Bertos down the left which culminated in the Spanish recruit lashing a shot across goal and past the far post - Perth knew they had a game on their hands, something which the early bookings of Sigmund and Manny Muscat underlined.

That said, it was the home team who were next to threaten, with new Wellington signing Alex Smith making a vital covering tackle to hamper the progress of in-full-flight Perth winger Andrezinho in the sixteenth minute, at the expense of a corner.

Liam Miller took it, and picked out the home team’s star turn, Bas Van Den Brink, rising on the far post. He headed the ball across goal, and how both Dodd and Chris Coyne failed to get a touch on the sphere to head it home only they will know - a terrific chance spurned.

A highly absorbing duel began to unfold, with Wellington giving as good as they got against a Perth side chasing their third successive victory for just the second time in A-League history.

Former Wellington striker Shane Smeltz hardly got a sight of goal during the opening exchanges, and when one did present itself in the 27th minute, he undid all the good work of Billy Mehmet by dragging his shot well wide of the target.

Six minutes later, Smeltz wasn’t anywhere near as profligate - he opened the scoring. Jacob Burns disguised his free-kick well, playing the ball wide for Van Den Brink to latch onto when all were gathering in the penalty area for a flighted cross. The one the defender flicked inside was hard and low, and before Wellington’s defenders could react Smeltz had stolen a yard on them and gleefully tucked the ball across Tony Warner into the far corner of the net - 1-0 Perth.

Wellington sought a swift riposte through Daniel, whose thirty-five yard firecracker certainly caught Danny Vukovic’s attention two minutes after the goal. He saved the attempt, as did Warner at the opposite end of the park on the stroke of half-time to prevent Todd Howarth from heading the home team further in front and giving the 8,299-strong crowd more reason to be joyful.

More of the same was in evidence in the second spell, with Perth’s initial dominance eventually surpassed by a period of sustained Wellington pressure. Burns, Smeltz and Scott Neville prised open the visitors’ rearguard two minutes after the resumption, only for Durante to clean up the danger posed by the intended target, Mehmet, from doing justice to their creativity.

Wellington retorted through Sigmund, who met Daniel’s corner with a towering header which Vukovic tipped onto the bar in the 54th minute. Back came Perth - there was a real arm wrestle taking place to gain the ascendancy by the hour mark, at which point Burns picked out Coyne with a free-kick which culminated in Warner grabbing the defender’s headed attempt.

The visitors were gaining the upper hand in the tussle, but the home team were producing the goalscoring chances, such as that conceived twenty minutes from time by the combined efforts of Andrezinho and Mehmet. The beneficiary was Smeltz, but his finishing certainly wasn’t mutually beneficial from Samoa’ reference - this was high, wide and far from handsome.

A Miller corner picked out the marksman six minutes later, but Wellington managed to scramble the danger to safety on this occasion. They then produced a late flurry of openings, with Greenacre harshly denied by the offside flag eight minutes from time, four minutes prior to Sanchez firing a twenty-five yard free-kick over the top from directly in front.

But Wellington were fated not to score, and to compound matters, their prospects of winning the Fair Play award suffered another blow when Muscat was sent off for committing his second bookable offence in the shadows of the full-time whistle, the sound of which confirmed Perth as co-leaders of the competition with Brisbane Roar, five points clear of fourth-placed Wellington, whose performance in this match was deserving of better fate.

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 3
4:30 pm, Sunday 23 October, 2011
at East Perth Oval (aka Nib Stadium)

Perth Glory FC 1
(Shane Smeltz 33')

Wellington Phoenix FC 0

    Crowd: 8,299


    Perth Glory FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 3. Bas van den BRINK, 4. Billy MEHMET, 6. Chris COYNE, 7. Jacob BURNS, 9. Shane SMELTZ, 10. Liam MILLER (2. Josh MITCHELL 84’), 12. Scott NEVILLE, 13. Travis DODD (15. Tommy AMPHLETT +65’) 17. Todd HOWARTH, 27. ANDREZINHO (14. Steven MCGARRY +74’)
    Substitutes not used: 30. Lewis ITALIANO (rgk)

    Coach: Ian Ferguson

    Yellow Cards: Liam Miller 18', Chris Coyne 83',
    Red Cards:Nil

    Wellington Phoenix FC :
    Player listing:
    20. Anthony WARNER, 2. Manny MUSCAT, 3. Tony LOCHEAD, 7. Leo BERTOS, 9. Chris GREENACRE, 11. Daniel CORTES (13. Nikolas TSATTALIOS 76’), 12. Nick WARD, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 21. Dani SANCHEZ, 22. Andrew DURANTE, 24. Alexander SMITH
    Substitutes not used: 30. Phillip IMRAY (rgk)

    Coach: Ricki Herbert

    Yellow Cards: Ben Sigmund 7', Manny Muscat 13', 90', Daniel 32'
    Red Cards: Manny Muscat 90'

    Referee: Ben Williams 6/10 - highest mark I can recall giving him. Guess he's learning!
    Assistant Referees: Matthew Cheeseman, Michael Nugus; Fourth official: David Costello

    BOTN Player Points:
    3. Bas van den Brink (PG)
    2. Ben Sigmund (WP)
    1. Jacob Burns (PG)

    Pitch rating: 7/10

    Game rating: 7/10

    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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