A-League: HAL 8 (2012 - 2013 Season)
Round 19 Review
Jeremy Ruane
(with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com)

'Derby Win Sees Melbourne Reduce Mariners’ Lead'

Hyundai A-League leaders Central Coast Mariners have had their lead trimmed again following nineteenth round action on the first weekend in February, at the conclusion of a week in which Newcastle Jets captain Jobe Wheelhouse parted ways with the club, and John Kosmina resigned as coach of Adelaide United, citing “a lack of trust” among a number of other reasons which prompted his surprise departure.

The Mariners were held to a 2-2 draw at Brisbane Roar, who found themselves trailing to a Michael McGlinchey goal after eight minutes after temporarily being reduced to ten men while they got their substitution paperwork sorted out, Massimo Murdocca having picked up an early injury.

They could well have been down to ten men on a permanent basis soon after, Jade North’s professional foul on McGlinchey being completely ignored by referee Lucien Laverdure, adding further evidence to the growing pile of decisions which, had another referee been in charge, would almost certainly have seen a different outcome result.

It’s not the match officials who have been guilty of inconsistency this season, however. The title-holders have had a real curate’s egg of a season, but in leading marksman Besart Berisha, have someone in their ranks who is still well in contention to retain his Golden Boot award.

He it was who headed his side level two minutes into the second spell, much to the delight of the 10,604-strong crowd at Suncorp Stadium, and when his clinical finishing put the title-holders in front, you were left wondering if the real Brisbane Roar had turned up for this contest.

But in Daniel McBreen, Central Coast boast this season’s leading marksman, and ten minutes from time he rifled home an equaliser which proved suffice to keep the league leaders well ensconced on the top rung of the league ladder with eight rounds remaining, although Berisha could well have pinched all three points for Brisbane at the death, his downward header bouncing just over the bar.

Central Coast’s advantage is back to three points, however, Melbourne Victory having eaten into their lead after overcoming Melbourne Heart 2-1 in front of a bumper 41,203-strong crowd at Etihad Stadium.

They owed their triumph to the goalkeeping exploits of Nathan Coe, who pulled off some outstanding saves throughout proceedings, most notably from the returning Eli Babalj, to frustrate Melbourne Heart.

Having dominated the exchanges, Heart found themselves trailing on the half-hour to an Archie Thompson goal which came very much against the run of play. And after Billy Celeski and Golgol Mebrahtu had exchanged crossbar-rattling efforts, Victory built on that advantage, forging their way into an unassailable advantage ten minutes into the second half when Mark Milligan potted a penalty.

David Williams halved the deficit in style seventeen minutes from time to set up a grandstand finish, but both Coe and Heart goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne earned their corn to ensure the scoreline remained 2-1 in favour of the second-placed team in front of one of the A-League’s biggest crowds of this or any season.

The clash of the round, in terms of league standings, took place on Sunday evening at Hindmarsh Stadium, where Adelaide, under the stewardship of Michael Valkanis, found themselves under the cosh from the outset against Western Sydney Wanderers.

The visitors finally made their superiority tell in the shadows of the half-time whistle, Youssouf Hersi and Mark Bridge both netting in a two-minute spell which went a long way towards condemning Adelaide to a third successive defeat.

They eventually succumbed 4-2 to the league’s newest club, Hersi heading home his second of the game seven minutes into the second half before Adelaide mounted a mini-revival, culminating in Bruce Djite getting them on the board just after the hour mark.

But the game was up for the home team when Mateo Poljak swooped to conquer half-way through the second spell, and while Iain Ramsay pulled another goal back when firing home via an upright three minutes from time, it was too little, too late for the home team, who could only look on as Western Sydney stormed to their fourth successive three-point haul.

Another derby took place on Saturday at Hunter Stadium, where 12,428 fans watched Newcastle Jets twice come from behind to draw 2-2 with Sydney FC, who were denied the services of new signing Joel Griffiths on the eve of this match courtesy the handing-down of a three-match suspension.

The visitors made light of that setback, with Alessandro Del Piero capitalising on a defensive error to put Sydney in front in the twelfth minute. Their advantage lasted just 240 seconds, however, for Ryan Griffiths restored parity from the penalty spot after being fouled in the area by Rhyan Grant.

Without their departed captain - Wheelhouse opted to leave Newcastle now when advised that his contract wouldn’t be renewed at season’s end - the home team struggled to make an impact, and but for the goalkeeping exploits of Mark Birighitti could well have been out of sight long before Blake Powell restored Sydney’s lead just shy of the hour mark.

Newcastle’s resistance came to their rescue, however, their pursuit of an equaliser earning them a second penalty in the shadows of the full-time, and a red card for Sydney’s Terry McFlynn, who had the misfortune to handle a goal-bound shot on the line. Up stepped Griffiths once more - 2-2.

At the bottom of the table, Perth Glory have replaced Wellington Phoenix on the lowest rung of the ladder after the latter prevailed 1-0 in their Eden Park encounter, which was watched by 11,566 fans.

Jeremy Brockie headed home the game’s only goal four minutes before half-time in a typical six-pointer, the result of which lifts Wellington to within a point of the last play-off spot.

The action is spread across four days in round twenty, with Central Coast and Wellington getting things under way at Bluetongue Stadium on Thursday evening, a match followed twenty-four hours later by the clash of Adelaide and Melbourne Victory at Hindmarsh Stadium.

Saturday’s fare sees two matches scheduled, with Melbourne Heart - at AAMI Park - and Western Sydney entertaining Perth and Newcastle respectively, with the New South Wales derby scheduled for Campbelltown Stadium. And on Sunday evening, Sydney and Brisbane draw swords at Allianz Stadium.

Details: Hyundai A-League, Round 19:

Brisbane Roar FC 2 (B. Berisha (47, 69)) - Central Coast Mariners FC 2 (M. McGlinchey (8), D. McBreen (80)); HT 0-1
Melbourne Victory FC 2 (A. Thompson (29), M. Milligan (56 pen)) - Melbourne Heart FC 1 (D. Williams (73)); HT 1-0
Newcastle Jets FC 2 (R. Griffiths (16 pen, 89 pen)) - Sydney FC 2 (A. Del Piero (12), B. Powell (57)); HT 1-1
Wellington Phoenix FC 1 (J. Brockie (41)) - Perth Glory FC 0; HT 1-0
Adelaide United C 2 (B. Djite (61), I. Ramsay (87)) - Western Sydney Wanderers FC 4 (Y. Hersi (43, 52), M. Bridge (45),M. Poljak (68)); HT 0-2

By Jeremy Raune, from NZ

Details: Youth-League, Round 15:

Newcastle Jets FC 5 (Taggart 34, 53, 78, Ribiero 5, Caravella 44) - Melbourne Heart FC 2 (Walker 58, 70)
Melbourne Victory FC 7 (Gallagher 15, 55, Nabbout 20, Stella 77, 79, 90, Buceto 90+4) - Perth Glory FC 0
Adelaide United FC 3 (Karatzas 1, 54, Briscoe 42) - Sydney FC 3 (Urosevski 65, 71, Lum 87)
Brisbane Roar FC 2 (Julius Doe 8’, Kenneth Dougall 33’(pen) - Central Coast Mariners FC 0
AIS 1 (Anthony Kalik 63’) - Western Sydney Wanderers FC 4 (Joseph Gibbs 1’, Reece Caira 10’, (og) Rocco Pizatta 59’, Jake McGing 76’)

Details: Womens League:



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