Review R7: Change at top as Brisbane hand wests first defeat

Hyundai A-League – Season 2013/2014 – Round 7 Review

by Jeremy Ruane:
with the compliments of

Brisbane Roar returned to the top of the Hyundai A-League on 22 November, ending the unbeaten start to the season of previous incumbents Western Sydney Wanderers by downing them 3-1 in front of 19,066 fans at Suncorp Stadium.

 This lively top-of-the-table affair saw Wanderers suffer two setbacks inside the first twenty minutes, during which time Brisbane took a two-goal lead courtesy Besart Berisha – five minutes into the contest – and Ivan Franjic.

 Brendon Santalab pulled a goal back just before the half-hour mark for the visitors, who pounded away throughout the rest of the match in search of an equaliser, going closest to doing so when Labinot Haliti hit the woodwork half-way through the second half.

 They paid the price for their pursuit of parity, however, Kwame Yeboah clinching the points for Brisbane with a thunderous stoppage time strike which ensured the number of goals Wests had conceded prior to this match would double by the final whistle.

 Brisbane’s win also allowed the chasing pack to close on the early leaders, with Sydney FC leading the way twenty-four hours later. They did it the hard way, mind, finishing the match with ten men as a last-gasp winner accounted for Wellington Phoenix 2-1 at Allianz Stadium.

The 14,503 fans were rejoicing ten minutes before half-time when Richard Garcia’s thunderbolt ignited a till then sterile first half, but within two minutes Wellington should have been given the chance to equalise from the penalty spot – referee Jarred Gillett got his decision badly wrong, much to the visitors’ frustration.

Alessandro Del Piero went close to doubling Sydney’s lead soon after when hitting the post, but it was team-mate Pedj Bojic who could have cost his side victory seventeen minutes from time when committing his second bookable offence.

Instantly, Wellington went on the offensive, and after substitute Kenny Cunningham had been denied a goal by the offside flag, he struck a splendidly taken equaliser a minute into stoppage time.

But the ten men struck back in heart-breaking fashion, debutant substitute Ranko Despotovic denying Wellington a deserved share of the spoils by steering home the winner in the third minute of stoppage time, much to the delight of the vocal locals.

Hard on Sydney’s heels are arch-rivals Melbourne Victory, who were also reduced to ten men in their clash with Adelaide United at Etihad Stadium, but still prevailed 3-0, to the delight of the 20,064 fans present.

Seconds after United lost Cassio to a hamstring injury, Costa Barbarouses gave the home team the lead in the fifteenth minute, but the visitors were afforded a lifeline on the stroke of half-time when Adrian Leijer committed his second bookable offence to leave Melbourne to face the second half with just ten men on the park.

Adelaide went for the jugular, and were afforded a great chance to equalise in the 67th minute from the penalty spot. But Nathan Coe denied Sergio Cirio’s twelve-yard effort, and Melbourne instantly stormed downfield and doubled their advantage on the counter-attack through Archie Thompson.

The visitors continued to chase the game, despite the distraction caused by some very poor fourth officiating work, but United were caught on the counter-attack once more, ten minutes from time, with Mitch Nichols wrapping up the scoring to lift Melbourne to within four points of the league lead.

Wrapping up Saturday night’s three-match feast, reigning champions Central Coast Mariners scored a last-gasp come-from-behind 2-1 victory at ten-man Perth Glory to give their season a welcome boost.

Perth enjoyed the better of the early exchanges, and took a deserved lead through Jamie MacLaren in the 25th minute. But within minutes they had lost their second player to injury – by full-time, injuries had deprived them of four players.

While Perth were coming to terms with the departure of the injured William Gallas, Michael McGlinchey levelled the scores ten minutes before half-time. And despite the home team dominating the second spell, it was the visitors who were celebrating come the final whistle, Mitchell Duke’s injury time winner clinching the points at the death.

On Sunday evening, an Adam Taggart hat-trick fired Newcastle Jets to a 3-1 victory over cellar-dwellers Melbourne Heart at Hunter Stadium, a result which heaps further pressure on the visitors’ boss, John Aloisi.

The Newcastle striker delighted the 12,806 fans present by scoring seven minutes before and ten minutes after half-time, and completed his hat-trick just after the hour mark to restore Newcastle’s two-goal advantage, after Andrea Migliorini had reduced the arrears just shy of the hour for the visitors.

Central Coast and Melbourne Victory get the eighth round action under way on Friday evening at Bluetongue Stadium, while on Saturday, the clash of Brisbane and Perth at Suncorp Stadium is followed by the latest New South Wales derby, with Sydney welcoming Newcastle to Allianz Stadium.

On Sunday, the three teams who are already beginning to drop off the pace are in action. Wellington and Western Sydney draw swords at Westpac Stadium, while Melbourne Heart and Adelaide wrap up the round at AAMI Park.

Match details:

Brisbane Roar FC 3 (B. Berisha (5), I. Franjic (19), K. Yeboah (90)) – Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 (B. Santalab (28)); HT 2-1

Melbourne Victory FC 3 (C. Barbarouses (14), A. Thompson (68), M. Nichols (80)) – Adelaide United FC 0 HT; 1-0

Perth Glory FC 1 (J. MacLaren (25)) – Central Coast Mariners FC 2 (M. McGlinchey (35), M. Duke (90)); HT 1-1

Sydney FC 2 (R. Garcia (35), R. Despotovic (90)) – Wellington Phoenix FC 1 (K. Cunningham (90)); HT 1-0

Newcastle Jets FC 3 (A. Taggart (38, 55, 62)) – Melbourne Heart FC 1 (A. Migliorini (58)) HT 1-0

 League Table:

P W D L F A GD Pts

Brisbane Roar 7 5 0 2 14 5 +9 15

Western Sydney Wanderers 7 4 2 1 9 6 +3 14

Newcastle Jets 7 3 3 1 9 7 +2 12

Sydney FC 7 4 0 3 9 10 -1 12

Melbourne Victory 7 3 2 2 11 8 +3 11

Central Coast Mariners 6 2 3 1 8 7 +1 9

Perth Glory 7 2 3 2 6 7 -1 9

Adelaide United 7 1 2 4 8 12 -4 5

Wellington Phoenix 6 0 3 3 6 9 -3 3

Melbourne Heart 7 0 2 5 3 12 -9 2

Westfield W-League
International weekend – no games

Foxtel National Youth League – Round 5

Brisbane Roar FC 3 (Diogo Ferreira 21′, Brandon Borello 28′,35′) – Sydney FC 2 (Mitchell Mallia 52′, Jacob Tratt 77(p))
Newcastle Jets FC 6 (Virgili 12, 17, 73, Oxborrow 20, Bradbery 60, Gibbs 90+3pen) – AIS 3 (Smith 12, Kalik 57, 75)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 3 (Hanna 18, Barresi 62, Sotirio 80) – Melbourne Heart FC 1 (Espindola 1)
Perth Glory FC 2 (O’Neill 23p, O’Brien 37) – Central Coast FC 0