A-League: HAL 8 (2012 - 2013 Season)
Round 12 Review
Jeremy Ruane
(with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com)

'Christmas Comes Early For A-League’s New Boys'

Christmas came early for Hyundai A-League new boys Western Sydney Wanderers this year, their stunning 6-1 demolition job on second-placed Adelaide United the highlight of the weekend’s twelfth round of action.

Western Sydney fans among the 9,056 present at Parramatta Stadium on Friday evening must have thought all their Christmases had come at once, while Adelaide’s supporters were left thinking there must be some merit in the Mayan calendar’s end date.

How else could you sum up probably the most unexpected result in the A-League to date this season? The Wanderers had scored just eight goals in eleven games prior to this match, so for them to go on a scoring blitz and prevail 6-1 over their second-placed visitors … astonishing!

There was never any hint of a blow-out occurring when Mark Bridge put the home team in front after eighteen minutes, but two goals in first half stoppage time, from Bridge and Dino Kresinger, put Wests on easy street.

By the hour mark, Shinji Ono had found the target, while Bridge completed his hat-trick in sumptuous fashion to leave Adelaide staring down the barrel of a right royal shellacking!

Sadly for Wests, the withdrawal of both Ono and Kresinger curtailed much of their momentum after they had gone nap, and encouraged Adelaide to seek a consolation goal, which Dario Vidosic duly provided half-way through the second half.

With cries of “we want six” ringing around the ground, Western Sydney weren’t going to disappoint their followers, and in second half stoppage time Joseph Gibbs wrapped up the scoring to ensure this clash of two top four teams would top the bill as the weekend’s most talked about encounter for all the right reasons - unless you’re an Adelaide fan!

Central Coast Mariners were unable to take full advantage of their closest rivals’ crash when held to a 1-1 draw at Wellington Phoenix, who levelled the scores five minutes from time through Dani Sanchez at a sun-drenched Westpac Stadium.

It was also very empty - just 5,961 fans made the effort to attend a match in which the visitors opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time through Daniel McBreen, ten minutes after the offside flag had denied Jeremy Brockie from celebrating what would have been the opening goal of a generally uninspiring encounter.

The match of the round was played in front of a full house at AAMI Park, where 26,457 Melbournians saw Archie Thompson deftly chip home a last-gasp winner via bar and post to clinch a 2-1 win for Victory over a Heart side which looked the more likely winners after Fred had headed home an equaliser eight minutes from time.

A pulsating, chance-laden encounter finally saw the deadlock broken half-way through the second half, All Whites star Marco Rojas - whose defence-splitting pass set up the winner - finishing off a fine move in style for his seventh goal of the season.

After Fred’s leveller, only a stunning save by Nathan Coe - to match the equally stunning volley David Williams unleashed from twenty-five yards - prevented Heart from taking the lead. But as they attacked in stoppage time, Adama Traore’s timely intervention sparked the Rojas-led Victory counter-attack which culminated in Thompson’s stylish finish and delight for the blue half of Melbourne.

Things are going from bad to worse for reigning champions Brisbane Roar, whose coach, Rado Vidosic, opted to “move upstairs” during the week in a bid to revive drooping spirits. Mike Mulvey stepped into the hot seat, but despite the change of gaffer, there was no change in fortune for the title-holders, who were downed 1-0 at Suncorp Stadium by Perth Glory.

11,352 fans saw a Steven McGarry thunderbolt on the stroke of half-time settle the contest, although in fairness to Brisbane, they did everything but score in a one-side affair which wasn’t reflected by the scoreline. They battered the visitors, but Henrique’s crossbar rattler was as close as they came to snatching a share of the spoils.

Brisbane aren’t bottom of the A-League’s Christmas tree, however. That dubious honour is the domain of Sydney FC, who slumped to a 2-1 defeat at Newcastle Jets, where 17,402 fans saw all three goals scored in twenty first half minutes at Hunter Stadium.

A niggly start to the game was punctuated in the thirteenth minute by a Craig Goodwin free-kick which gave the home team the lead. That sparked a strong spell from Newcastle, with Emile Heskey doubling their advantage thirteen minutes later following James Virgili’s good work had unlocked the Sydney defence.

The visitors were back in the contest just after the half-hour mark when Yairo Yau turned home the rebound after his initial effort was only parried by fit-again Newcastle ‘keeper Mark Birighitti.

That goal really set up the contest, but the remaining hour of play saw only flashes of inspiration, with a couple of saves by Vedran Janjetovic keeping Sydney in contention.

Despite the promptings of Alessandro Del Piero, the visitors couldn’t muster an equaliser, and the A-League’s glamour club find themselves propping up the competition heading into the Christmas round of action.

That kicks off on Boxing Day with a duel between Adelaide and Brisbane at Hindmarsh Stadium. A trio of matches take place next day, with the action kicking off at Westpac Stadium where Wellington welcome Melbourne Heart.

Sydney and Central Coast clash in another New South Wales derby at Allianz Stadium, while at Patersons Stadium, Perth and Western Sydney do battle before the round concludes on Thursday evening with Melbourne Victory entertaining Newcastle at AAMI Park.

It just remains for this writer to wish all readers a Merry Christmas - may yours be safe and enjoyable for all the right reasons.

Details: Hyundai A-League, Round 12:

Brisbane Roar FC 0 - Perth Glory FC 1 (S. McGarry (45)); HT 0-1
Melbourne Heart FC 1 (Fred (82)) - Melbourne Victory FC 2 (M. Rojas (67), A. Thompson (90)); HT 0-0
Newcastle Jets FC 2 (C. Goodwin (13), E. Heskey (26)) - Sydney FC 1 (Y. Yau (32)) HT 2-1
Wellington Phoenix FC 1 (D. Sanchez (85)) - Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (D. McBreen (45)); HT 0-1
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 6 (M. Bridge (18, 45, 58), D. Kresinger (45), S. Ono (52), J. Gibbs (90)) - Adelaide United FC 1 (D. Vidosic (68)); HT 3-0

By Jeremy Raune, from NZ

Details: Youth-League, Round 10:

Brisbane Roar FC 2 (Anthony Proia 2, Benjamin Liftin 48) - Perth Glory FC 2 (Brandon O'Neill 22, Ryan Lowry 35)
Melbourne Heart FC 0 - Melbourne Victory FC 2 (Luke O'Dea 36, 45+1)
Newcastle Jets FC 4 (Taggart 41', 45'+2, Bradbery 16', 84') - Sydney FC 1 (Urosevski 87')
Adelaide United FC 1 (Briscoe 57') - Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 (Perkatis 46')
AIS 1 (Joshua Barresi 23') - Central Coast Mariners FC 3 (Louis Bozanic 33', Daniel Bragg 78', Patrick Dixon 90'+3)

Details: Womens League, Round 10:

Melbourne Victory FC 3 (Petra Larsson 10’, Jessica McDonald 52’, 90’) - Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 (Vanessa Hart 2’)
Brisbane Roar FC 6 (Amy Chapman 20’, Emily Gielnik 23’, 35’, 93’, Vedrana Popovic 58’, Tameka Butt 61’) - Adelaide United FC 2 (Kristy Moore 65’, Racheal Quigley 77’)
Perth Glory FC 3 (Aivi Luik 33’, Elizabeth Milne 35’, Lisa De Vanna 49’) - Canberra United FC 3 (Nikki Washington 24’, Hayley Raso 44’, Caitlin Cooper 71’)
Newcastle Jets FC 0 - Sydney FC 4 (Kyah Simon 11’, 47', 87’, Alanna Kennedy 14’)


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