A-League: HAL 8 (2012 - 2013 Season)
Round 16 Review
Jeremy Ruane
(with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com)

'Adelaide halve deficit as title rivals draw'

Adelaide United closed to within two points of Hyundai A-League leaders Central Coast Mariners in sixteenth round action in the competition on the second weekend in January, after the table-toppers were held to a 1-1 draw by third-placed Melbourne Victory.

The match of the round took place in fire-ravaged Tasmania, specifically at the Aurora Stadium in Launceston, and it was there where 6,238 fans saw Melbourne Victory go desperately close to downing the league leaders.

It was certainly a point gained for Graham Arnold’s side, particularly given the coach was sent from the dugout during the first half of a match which Melbourne enjoyed the better of, and on another day, would have won.

But you takes your chances, you wins your matches, and Melbourne failed to take anywhere near enough of those they carved out, particularly just after the half-hour mark, when Marco Rojas saw his penalty hit a post.

Archie Thompson also missed a sitter as Matt Ryan’s saves kept his side on level terms, but he could do nothing to prevent Marco Flores from breaking the deadlock three minutes before half-time.

Central Coast improved as the second half went on, with Nathan Coe matching Ryan in the stunning saves department as both teams produced a game worthy of its billing. Thirteen minutes from time, Daniel McBreen tucked home a penalty to restore parity in a compelling contest which Melbourne twice came within inches of winning in stoppage time.

Second-placed Adelaide United reduced the deficit at the top to two points after proving too strong for Perth Glory, with the visitors scoring twice in stoppage time at Hindmarsh Stadium to leave the 10,129 fans present a tad nervous before the final whistle confirmed a 3-2 win for the home team.

Early substitute Jeronimo Neumann - he came on after Bruce Djite pulled a groin muscle just eighty seconds into the contest - was the star turn for United, pouncing on an awful Scott Jamieson clearance to open the scoring on the half-hour, before doubling Adelaide’s lead seven minutes later.

In between times, Steven McGarry rattled the post for Perth, sparking a scramble from which the visitors should have equalised. Instead, they found themselves three goals down just after half-time, Iain Ramsay thumping home what was surely the clincher.

It nearly wasn’t, however, for Perth came with a wet sail in the dying minutes and reduced the deficit to one goal, Shane Smeltz’s penalty supplemented by a McGarry strike deep in stoppage time which, sadly for the visitors, came too late to enable them to seek an unlikely equaliser.

That result opened the door for Newcastle Jets to leapfrog their Western Australian rivals, and they did thanks to a 1-0 defeat of Brisbane Roar at Hunter Stadium, where 10,164 fans saw Ryan Griffiths score the only goal of a game of few decent chances three minutes into the second half.

Sunday’s fare saw Western Sydney Wanderers further cement their grip in fourth place by outplaying Wellington Phoenix 2-0 at a windy Westpac Stadium. The home team hit the crossbar through Stein Huysegems in the first half, but barely saw the ball in the second spell as the visitors dominated proceedings.

A splendid diving header from Nikolai Topor-Stanley deservedly put Western Sydney in front nineteen minutes from time, and when Labinot Haliti tapped into an empty net following an awful mix-up in Wellington’s defence, the silence of all but a handful in the 6,608-strong crowd spoke volumes.

Later, 13,125 fans saw Sydney FC climb off the bottom of the table with a dramatic come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Melbourne Heart at Allianz Stadium, thanks to goals in the last five minutes from Brett Emerton and Rhyan Grant.

The home team rarely looked like snatching a share of the spoils after Richard Garcia fired Melbourne in front half-way through the first half, but the roar which greeted this late late show was heard loud and clear across the Tasman, with Wellington now propping up the league on the back of three straight defeats.

Melbourne Heart and Adelaide kick off next weekend’s seventeenth round action when they clash at AAMI Park on Friday evening, while Saturday sees a triple-header taking place.

Sydney and Wellington start the ball rolling at the Allianz Stadium, before Central Coast and Newcastle lock horns in the F3 derby at Bluetongue Stadium. Perth and Melbourne Victory wrap up the night’s action at NIB Stadium, while on Sunday evening, Brisbane and Western Sydney draw swords at Suncorp Stadium.

Details: Hyundai A-League, Round 16:

Adelaide United FC 3 (J. Neumann (29, 37), I. Ramsay (46)) - Perth Glory FC 2 (S. Smeltz (90 pen), S. McGarry (90)); HT 2-0
Melbourne Victory FC 1 (M. Flores (42)) - Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (D. McBreen (77 pen)); HT 1-0
Newcastle Jets FC 1 (R. Griffiths (48)) - Brisbane Roar FC 0; HT 0-0
Sydney FC 2 (B. Emerton (85), R. Grant (90)), Melbourne Heart 1 (R. Garcia (24) HT 0-1 Wellington Phoenix FC 0 - Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (N. Topor-Stanley (71), L. Haliti (82)); HT 0-0

By Jeremy Raune, from NZ

Details: Youth-League, Round 12:

Adelaide United FC 3 (van Dijk 30, 31, Melling 84) - Brisbane Roar FC 0
Melbourne Victory FC 8 (J.Jeggo 1', 39', Nabbout 3', Buceto 9', O'Dea 15', 30', Pain 29', Cristaldo 66') - Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (Duke 76')
AIS 1 (Rose 73') -Melbourne Heart FC 3 (Garuccio 37', Groenewald 70, Epifano 75')
Newcastle Jets FC 4 (Ribeiro 13, Jesic 32, 35, 88 pen) - Perth Glory FC 6 (Harold 10 pen, Glisby 50, Sam 61, Woodcock 68, Zahra 78, Kalau 80)
Sydney FC 4 (Mallia 8m, 80m, Lum 24m, Antonis 87m) - Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 (Elrich 48m)

Details: Womens League, Round 12:

Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (Louise Fors 30’, 74’ pen) - Sydney FC 3 (Caitlin Foord 9’, Samantha Kerr 39’, Nicola Bolger 83’)
Brisbane Roar FC 5 (Katrina Gorry 12’, Tameka Butt 38’, 41’ (pen), 71’, Emily Gielnik 65’) - Canberra United FC 1 (Kristen Mewis 45+4’)
Adelaide United FC 1 (Rachael Quigley 52’) - Perth Glory FC 3 (Kate Gill 18’, 65’, Marianna Tabain 86’)
Newcastle Jets FC 3 (Jasmin Courtenay 40’, Emily van Egmond 42’, 84’ pen) - Melbourne Victory FC 3 (Amy Jackson 4’, Enza Barilla 30’, o.g. 60' (Hayley Crawford))


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