Hyundai A-League - 2011/2012 - Season 7

Record crowd sees Wellington draw with Adelaide
By Jeremy Ruane
with the compliments of

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 7
5 pm, Saturday 19 November, 2011
at Eden Park, Auckland, NZ

Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Nigel Boogaard og 83')

drew with
Adelaide United FC 1 (Bruce Djite 44')

(linked from FFA web site)

Wellington Phoenix and Adelaide United fought out a 1-1 draw in their Hyundai A-League clash at Eden Park on 19 November, with the club's first A-League fixture in Auckland watched by a club record crowd numbering 20,078.

A cagey opening forty-five minutes offered little in attacking terms. Chris Greenacre took advantage of a couple of fortuitous ricochets to burst into the penalty 95 seconds after the kick-off, only to see his progress curtailed by Jon McKain's well-timed challenge.

In the eleventh minute, Cameron Watson was forced to head over his own crossbar to prevent Alex Smith's cross from reaching Nick Ward, while two minutes later a Leo Bertos corner caused consternation in the visitors' penalty area, Adelaide eventually scrambling clear.

These half-chances apart, it was real cat-and-mouse stuff, which was a shame for the terrific crowd of 20,078 - the biggest regular season crowd to watch Wellington home or away since January 2009 - which converged on Eden Park for Wellington's first A-League game in New Zealand's biggest city.

They deserved a goal, and both Bruce Djite and Greenacre went close to providing it at opposite ends of the park inside the final five minutes of the half. The Adelaide striker blazed over from the edge of the penalty area after Dario Vidosic had pounced on a Sigmund error, while Wellington's number nine skied the ball on the stretch from inside the six yard box after Smith had flicked on a Bertos corner.

Vidosic was becoming an increasingly influential figure as the game wore on, and just how influential was revealed a minute before half-time. Receiving a Zenon Caravella pass, the number ten instinctively lobbed the ball over Wellington's defence to send Djite powering through. He poked the ball home past the advancing Warner to open the scoring, a goal which was greeted in near silence by the large local crowd.

Within seconds, Wellington came close to finding themselves two goals down. Iain Ramsay released Vidosic down the left, and his cross on the run picked out Djite, whose shot was blocked. Caravella fired the rebound over the bar, the last act of a first half which badly needed the goal Djite had delivered in the shadows of the half-time whistle.

Wellington began the second half brightly, and threatened an early equaliser in the 53rd minute. Tony Lochhead linked up with Smith to present Nick Ward with a shooting chance which Galekovic gathered greedily.

The talismanic Paul Ifill was introduced to the fray soon after - his first appearance after recovering from injury - and he was joined in due course by Daniel, as Wellington chased a game which saw Adelaide keeping them at arm's length for much of the second spell, while rarely threatening to increase their advantage.

A blistering thirty-five yard free-kick from McKain fourteen minutes from time required two attempts from Warner before he could get it under control, but the visitors were under increasing threat as Wellington pressed for an equaliser, and the pressure eventually told.

Eight minutes from time, Galekovic's vital punch clear prevented Bertos' cross from reaching Ifill's head after Greenacre had created the opening, but when the number nine turned the ball into Ifill's path two minutes later, the alarm bells were ringing loudly in Adelaide's rearguard.

They should have been, because the sight of fan favourite Sigmund storming upfield to join the attack is not common. Ifill's cross was an inviting one for him, and prompted Nigel Boogaard to launch himself into a headed clearance.

Unfortunately for the defender, he directed the ball into the far corner of his own net - a classic diving header - much to the delight of Wellington's biggest ever home crowd in regular season play.

The impetus the equaliser provided saw Wellington go all out for the winner in the final stages. Ifill was crowded out deep in the penalty area in the dying stages of the match, while after McKain and Andrew Durante had received treatment for a head clash, a Daniel corner resulted in Brown's shot being cleared off the line by Osama Malik.

It was the last action of an absorbing encounter, with the biggest winners on the day being Eden Park - if you can't play on that surface, you can't play - and Auckland's oft-fickle footballing public, whose turn-out in record numbers will certainly have the Wellington club considering their options for future home game.

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 7
5 pm, Saturday 19 November, 2011
at Eden Park, Auckland, NZ

Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Nigel Boogaard og 83')

drew with
Adelaide United FC 1 (Bruce Djite 44')

    Crowd: 20,078


    Wellington Phoenix FC :
    Player listing:
    Warner (gk); Muscat, Sigmund, Durante, Lochhead; Bertos, Brown, Lia (Griffiths +89'), Ward (Daniel +73'); Smith (Ifill +59'), Greenacre (booked, 23)
    Substitutes not used: Imray (rgk)

    Coach: Ricki Herbert

    Yellow Cards: Tim Brown 38' , Vince Lia 77', Chris Greenacre 23')
    Red Cards: Nil

    Adelaide United FC :
    Player listing:
    Galekovic (gk); Watson, Boogaard, McKain, Cassio (Malik +38); Caravella, Dilevski, Vidosic (Ricardo +89'), Usucar, Ramsay (Barbiero +81'); Djite
    Substitutes not used: Munro (rgk)

    Coach: Rini Coolen

    Yellow Cards: Zenon Caravella 79', Dilevski 33', Ricardo 90', Usucar 67'
    Red Cards:Nil

    Referee: Peter Green 3/10
    Assistant Referees: Jan Hendrik Hintz, Mark Rule; Fourth official: Glen Lochrie

    BOTN Player Points:
    3. Ben Sigmund (WP)
    2. Dario Vidosic (AU)
    1. Paul Ifill (WP)

    Pitch rating: 10/10 [Ed. wow!]

    Game rating: 6/10

    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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