A-League: HAL 8 (2012 - 2013 Season)
Round 15 Review
Jeremy Ruane
(with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com)

'Central Coast Surge Clear After Vital Derby Win'

Hyundai A-League leaders Central Coast Mariners surged four points clear of the chasing pack on the first weekend in January, after emerging triumphant by a 2-0 scoreline in their New South Wales derby at Western Sydney Wanderers.

A decidedly tight first half battle at Parramatta Stadium was broken four minutes before the interval by Daniel McBreen, whose eleventh goal of the season came about following a splendidly worked one-two with Adam Kwasnik.

The home fans among the 16,387 patrons urged Western Sydney on towards an equaliser in the early stages of the second half, and would have been rewarded by Shinji Ono but for a goal-line clearance by Pedj Bojic.

Western Sydney’s hopes of retrieving the match were dealt a severe blow nine minutes into the second spell when Jason Trifiro was sent off for committing his second bookable offence, and while they had a strong penalty claim turned down when Mark Bridge was felled late in the match, their fate was sealed when McBreen pounced on a wayward back-pass to net his second with the last kick of the match.

Second-placed Adelaide United were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw at Hunter Stadium by Newcastle Jets, a match watched by 10,721 fans who saw few goalscoring chances of note, as goalkeepers Mark Birighitti (Jets) and Eugene Galekovic (United) kept the opposing attackers at bay.

That result allowed the chasing pack to close on the South Australians, and Melbourne Victory did just that at AAMI Park, where 18,609 fans saw the home team prevail 2-0 over Wellington Phoenix courtesy goals from Marcos Flores and Marco Rojas in a ten-minute spell around half-time.

Mark Milligan also hit the post for the home team, whose victory was a fairly comfortable one over opponents who rarely threatened, and will forever rue the day they let Rojas go to their conquerors.

Fifth-placed Perth Glory were held to a 2-2 draw at NIB Stadium by bottom-placed Sydney FC, who twice came from behind to earn a point in front of 9,817 partisan Perth fans.

The locals were denied an early lead when Travis Dodd’s effort was ruled out by the offside flag, but when Shane Smeltz headed home six minutes before half-time, Perth were on course for the three points.

But Sydney came back strongly in the second half, Jason Culina producing a superb diving header to equalise just after the hour, then spurning a golden opportunity to give the visitors the lead as they put Perth under terrific pressure.

With Smeltz around, however, opponents have to take their chances, and when the All White lashed home an unerring second goal ten minutes from time, Sydney’s hopes of at least a share of the spoils appeared dashed.

But the locals were still celebrating when Danny Vukovic made a meal of an Alessandro Del Piero free-kick, much to the delight of Sebastian Ryall, who volleyed home Sydney’s second equaliser two minutes after they had gone behind again.

Reigning champions Brisbane Roar’s hopes of extending their winning streak to three matches came a cropper at AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon, where 6,303 fans saw Melbourne Victory score a 3-2 victory in an at times testy encounter.

Brisbane were all over their opponents like a rash from the outset, but got caught on the counter-attack thirteen minutes into the match. David Williams fired home the opener, with Josip Tadic controversially doubling Melbourne’s lead ten minutes before half-time, his goal allowed to stand despite a clear offside call being ignored by the match officials.

The visitors were far from amused by this, and when Fred extended Melbourne’s lead to three goals early in the second spell, the game appeared up for Brisbane. Football being the game it is though, another incorrect decision by referee Alan Marriner changed the momentum of the match entirely - Williams was sent off for what was, at worst, a yellow card offence in the 67th minute.

The initiative instantly swung Brisbane’s way, and within ten minutes, they had reduced the deficit to a solitary goal, Besart Berisha belting home a penalty before netting his second of the match to set up a grandstand finish. The home team held out, however, to score a win which fires them back into the play-off spots - they were in ninth place at kick-off.

Next weekend’s action kicks off on Friday evening with Adelaide entertaining Perth at Hindmarsh Stadium. Twenty-four hours later, Newcastle and Brisbane do battle at Hunter Stadium after Melbourne Victory and Central Coast clash in the game of the round at Launceston’s Aurora Stadium.

And on Sunday, Wellington welcome Western Sydney to “The Caketin”, Westpac Stadium, before Sydney and Melbourne Heart wrap up sixteenth round action at Allianz Stadium.

Details: Hyundai A-League, Round 15:

Melbourne Heart FC 3 (D. Williams (13), J. Tadic (35), Fred (53)) - Brisbane Roar FC 2 (B. Berisha (74 pen, 76)); HT 2-0
Melbourne Victory FC 2 (M. Flores (43), M. Rojas (52)) - Wellington Phoenix FC 0; HT 1-0
Newcastle Jets FC 0 - Adelaide United FC 0
Perth Glory FC 2 (S. Smeltz (39, 80) - Sydney FC 2 (J. Culina (63), S. Ryall (82)); HT 1-0
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 0 - Central Coast Mariners FC 2 (D. McBreen (41, 90)); HT 0-1

By Jeremy Raune, from NZ

Details: Youth-League, Round 11:

Brisbane Roar Youth FC 3 (Theodore 54', Yeboah 65', Litfin 66') - Sydney FC Youth 1 (Mallia 37')
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 0 - Central Coast Mariners FC 5 (Daniel Bragg 11', Anthony Caceres 32', Brad McDonald 47', Mitchell Duke 70', 87')
Newcastle Jets FC 1 (Ribeiro 18') - Melbourne Victory FC 0
Perth Glory FC 1 (Higgins 70') - Australian Institute of Sport 2 (Schmidt, Barresi)
Melbourne Heart FC 0 - Adelaide FC 1 (Wooding pen.)

Details: Womens League, Round 11:

Canberra United FC vs Western Sydney Wanderers FC - game suspended due to lightning - Replay Tuesday 8 January, 2013

Melbourne Victory FC 4 (Johnson 2, Larsson 6, McDonald 14, Spiranovic 57) - Adelaide United FC 1 (McLaughlin 87)
Perth Glory FC 2 (Rosie Sutton 22’, Kate Gill 56’) - Newcastle Jets FC 2 (Emily van Egmond 3’, Jasmin Courtenay 77’)
Sydney FC 0 - Brisbane Roar FC 2 (Tameka Butt 48'+, 55')


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