Hyundai A-League - 2011/2012 - Season 7

Sydney sunk by Brown's bombshell
By Jeremy Ruane
with the compliments of

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 8
4:30 pm, Sunday 27 November, 2011
at Westpac Stadium Wellington, NZ

Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Paul Ifill 8', Tim Brown 60')

Sydney FC 1
(Bruno Cazarine 70')

(linked from FFA web site)

Wellington Phoenix scored a welcome 2-1 victory over a disappointing Sydney FC at Westpac Stadium on 27 November, Tim Brown delighting the 6,308 fans present with an absolute snorter of a match-winner in this Hyundai A-League encounter.

While Paul Ifill will rightly claim the plaudits as the game’s star turn, it would be inappropriate to ignore the tactical plan which Wellington coach Ricki Herbert came up with to baffle a Sydney side which rarely threatened the home team’s goal.

Instead, it was Wellington who bossed the game, setting out their stall right from the outset. Leo Bertos, the prime beneficiary of Ifill’s return to the starting line-up, linked with Tony Lochhead on the left, with the overlapping fullback playing a one-two with Ifill before whipping in a cross which Chris Greenacre just failed to reach.

Seconds later, Bertos buccaneered down the left past a couple of opponents before fizzing in a wicked cross which ricocheted goal wards off the retreating figure of Scott Jamieson, with Greenacre on his shoulder. Former Wellington ‘keeper Liam Reddy somehow kept it out, although he knew little about it.

Wellington’s infamous Yellow Fever fans let him know all about it in the seventh minute, however, as the home team took the early lead. Route one was the tactic employed for the goal, with Lochhead’s early ball forward releasing Ifill through a spread-eagled Sydney defence.

The striker took the ball on in his stride and cheekily nutmegged the advancing figure of Reddy to open the scoring, much to the glee of the local faithful, who were thrilled to see the club’s star turn back in the starting line-up and in full working order again.

Only a vital Terry McFlynn tackle prevented Ifill from doubling Wellington’s lead soon after, while Reddy saved at the feet of the goalscorer in the twentieth minute after Ifill had been picked out by Manny Muscat’s floated delivery.

When Sydney were in possession, they found themselves subjected to football’s equivalent of basketball’s all court press by Wellington, and were unable to make much head-way as a result. Not even the genial Nick Carle could weave his usual wizardry in the face of such pressure - he was very subdued throughout proceedings.

The home team, meanwhile, were dictating terms in attack as well - witness Muscat’s cheeky chip in the 24th minute, which followed his mazy dribble through a couple of challenges as he dashed in off the right flank.

Reddy grabbed this under the bar, and was relieved to see the fullback’s cross career across the bows of the incoming Greenacre soon after, as Wellington sought the second goal their performance already merited.

Sydney’s first attack of note materialised on the half-hour, and inevitably Carle was its architect - he’s too good a player to be kept quiet for an entire match! His penetrating run left two opponents in his wake, and after linking with McFlynn and Mark Bridge, Carle unleashed a low drive which skidded narrowly past Tony Warner’s goal.

Cue a Wellington riposte, Bertos and Ifill leading the charge with a left-flank raid which saw the latter get in behind the defence and whip in a cross which parted Nick Ward’s hair in the 33rd minute.

Seven minutes later, the Bertos - Ifill ticket was Wellington’s outlet again, the pair combining well with the goalscorer unlucky not to add to his tally for the game, his drive skimming inches past Reddy’s left-hand post.

The resulting goal-kick sparked a Sydney raid from which they should have had a penalty. Jamieson loomed large on the left before working a one-two with Carle. As the fullback entered the penalty area for the return pass, his progress was halted in no nonsense manner by Muscat.

Quite how referee Ryan Shepheard waved play on beggars belief - spot-kicks have been given for far less obvious incidents than this. But play on Sydney did, and in first half stoppage time they came close to equalising when Carle’s corner saw Michael Beauchamp’s header headed off the line by Lochhead, who underlined the value of covering the post at a defensive set-piece by his intervention.

Wellington spurned a glorious chance to double their lead nine minutes into the second spell. Muscat picked out Greenacre with a peach of a cross which the striker deftly laid off into the stride of Ifill, six yards out and with the goal at his mercy. He volleyed wildly over, his last act of note before making way for Milan Pavlovic.

Just prior to Ifill’s exit, Ward and Vince Lia worked a one-two down the right which culminated in the former crossing to the far post. Greenacre was the target, but the intervention of Jamie Coyne proved timely for Sydney.

The game was seemingly up for the visitors on the hour, when Brown unleashed his “Goal of the Season” contender. There appeared little threat to Sydney as Carle controlled a clearance from Reddy in the centre circle, but all that changed when Brown pick-pocketed the ball.

Spotting the ‘keeper off his line, the midfielder let loose a 42-yard piledriver which soared over the bewildered figure of Reddy and swept down the back of the net as the stunned goalkeeper looked on, chants of “Dodgy ’keeper” soon ringing in his ears once more.

At 2-0, and with Sydney seemingly having been beaten into submission, Wellington set about enjoying themselves. Ward was narrowly astray with a twenty-yard volley after Bertos’ free-kick wasn’t cleared in the 63rd minute.

Sixty seconds later, only a superb save by Reddy prevented Lia’s fulminating volley from making it 3-0 to the home team, Ward and Lochhead having combined on the left to engineer the opening. From Bertos’ resulting corner, Brown headed wide of the far post.

With twenty minutes to go, and seemingly from nowhere, Sydney dragged themselves back into the contest. Carle, inevitably, had a part to play, his back-heel affording Karol Kisel the space in which to turn the ball onto substitute Bruno Cazarine.

The newcomer knocked the ball up in the air - perhaps unintentionally, but it served its purpose, although Muscat’s wayward headed clearance attempt certainly helped in this regard.

The defender’s effort saw the ball head back towards Cazarine, whose mistimed volley bounced in slow-motion fashion past the similarly slow-moving figure of Warner to give the visitors a lifeline they scarcely deserved.

Sydney failed to build on their goal, however. They enjoyed plenty of possession, but offered little in the way of penetration, so much so that Warner didn’t have to make a save of note in the entire match.

Indeed, in the remaining twenty minutes it was Wellington who were the more threatening side, never more so than in the 82nd minute, when Muscat, Lia and Ward combined, the last-mentioned’s angled cross to the near post picking out Greenacre.

He met the ball with a stunning first-time volley, but Reddy was equal to the task, the ‘keeper’s flying one-handed save at his near post denying Wellington the third goal their efforts merited.

The home team almost came to regret not scoring that additional goal, because in stoppage time, Sydney had another strong claim for a penalty waved away by referee Shepheard.

Kisel’s free-kick into the area saw Beauchamp go down when challenged from behind, but the visitors’ pleas for a penalty proved fruitless, and they were left to head home having been unhinged by Wellington, who deservedly claimed the three points for just the second time this season.

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 8
4:30 pm, Sunday 27 November, 2011
at Westpac Stadium Wellington, NZ

Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Paul Ifill 8', Tim Brown 60')

Sydney FC 1
(Bruno Cazarine 70')

    Crowd: 6,308


    Wellington Phoenix FC :
    Player listing:
    20. Tony Warner (gk), 2. Manny Muscat, 3. Tony Lochhead, 6. Tim Brown, 7. Leo Bertos, 8. Paul Ifill (14. Mirjan Pavlovic +61'), 9. Chris Greenacre, 12. Nick Ward, 17. Vince Lia, 18. Ben Sigmund, 22. Andrew Durante (c)
    Substitutes not used: 1. Mark Paston (rgk), 11. Daniel Cortes, 24. Alex Smith

    Coach: Ricki Herbert

    Yellow Cards: Andrew Durante 72, Manny Muscat 74'
    Red Cards: Nil

    Sydney FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Liam Reddy (gk), 3. Jamie Coyne (12. Shannon Cole ‘76), 4. Pascal Bosschaart, 5. Michael Beauchamp, 7. Brett Emerton, 8. Karol Kisel, 10. Nick Carle, 15. Terry McFlynn (c), 17. Terry Antonis (9. Bruno Cazarine +55'), 19. Mark Bridge (18. Juho Makela +65'), 21. Scott Jamieson.
    Substitutes not used: 20. Ivan Necevski (rgk)

    Acting Coach:

    Yellow Cards: Scott Jamieson 63'
    Red Cards:Nil

    Referee: Ryan Shephard 5/10
    Assistant Referees: Glen Lochrie, David Walsh; Fourth official: Kurt Ams

    BOTN Player Points:
    > 3. Paul Ifill (WP)
    2. Leo Bertos (WP)
    1. Liam Reddy (SFC)

    Pitch rating: 8/10

    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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