R11: Newcastle stun leaders in low-key Round

Hyundai A-League – Season 2013/2014 – Round 11 Review
by Jeremy Ruane:
with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com

The pre-Christmas round of Hyundai A-League action was a fairly low-key affair, with ten goals scored in the six games which took place during the week. But there was one result which stood out head and shoulders above the rest – the demise of the table-toppers on home turf.

Leaders Brisbane Roar surprisingly came a cropper at Suncorp Stadium, where they were outfoxed 2-0 by Newcastle Jets, despite the visitors’ goal being subjected to a decent pummelling throughout proceedings.

The home team opened the scoring, but it was defender James Donachie who had the misfortune to put through his own net just after the half-hour mark. Joe Gibbs sealed the shock win for the Hunter Valley outfit when notching Newcastle’s second goal two minutes from time to silence the 14,848-strong crowd.

That result allowed Western Sydney Wanderers the chance to reduce Brisbane’s advantage to two points, one they took when downing Central Coast Mariners 2-0 in front of 15,786 fans at Pirtek Stadium.

Two first half goals decided this repeat of last season’s Grand Final, with Tomi Juric’s stunning scissors kick breaking the deadlock in the twentieth minute. Youssouf Hersi doubled Wests’ advantage thirteen minutes later, after which there was no way back for the title-holders, who look a shadow of the team which won the league earlier this year.

That match was Central Coast’s second in five days, the first seeing them score a 1-0 win over Wellington Phoenix [R6 deferred] in front of 6,755 fans at North Sydney Oval, where the visitors were only denied a share of the spoils by an outstanding goalkeeping display.

Mariner’s goalkeeper Liam Reddy produced a string of stunning saves to keep out Wellington, one of which denied Stein Huysegems from the penalty spot. On the one occasion he was unable to keep the ball out, however, Jeremy Brockie spurned his second open goal opportunity in as many matches to deny Wellington a share of the spoils.

That said, Reddy’s opposite number, Glen Moss, also produced a goalkeeping masterclass, with his denial of a Nick Fitzgerald effort just before the hour mark one of the best you’ll see in the A-League this season.

There was a goal, however, and given a New Zealand club was involved, there was a sense of irony in it being scored by a Sydney-based New Zealand international. Storm Roux broke the deadlock just shy of the half-hour mark to fire the reigning champions to a welcome victory in this rescheduled sixth round encounter.

Three days later, Wellington were in action again, this time at Westpac Stadium where Sydney FC rolled up with ambitions on halving the advantage Brisbane enjoyed over them going into this match.

But the home team’s desire to win their first game of the season, and just their fourth in 2013, proved greater, their 1-0 victory coming about from Stein Huysegems’ 33rd minute effort, which saw him roll the ball into an empty net after rounding Vedran Janjetovic.

Needless to say, it delighted the 6,339-strong crowd, who had seen the Belgian rattle an upright in the tenth minute of a match in which Sydney clearly missed the injured Alessandro Del Piero, while Wellington suffered the loss of Paul Ifill to a potentially career-ending ruptured Achilles tendon injury.

Off the field, the biggest news of the week saw Perth Glory part company with coach Alistair Edwards, who lost out in a battle with player power at the Western Australian outfit.

Kenny Lowe stepped into the breach, and his first task saw Perth entertaining Adelaide United at NIB Stadium. Unfortunately for the 9,436 fans who turned up, there wasn’t much in the way of entertainment – save for a couple of impressive Danny Vukovic saves, this was a largely uninspiring goalless draw.

Twenty-four hours prior, tribal warfare Melbourne style enticed 26,491 fans along to AAMI Park, and it was Victory who prevailed in the derby, inflicting a 3-1 defeat on ten-man Heart, whose numbers were reduced in the twentieth minute when Patrick Kisnorbo was sent off for a studs-up challenge.

The fact that Adama Traore’s boot had twice connected with Harry Kewell above the waistline prior to this incident meant the former Liverpool star was more than a tad upset with referee Ben Williams’ decision, no matter how correct it was.

Kewell’s mood darkened even further when goalkeeping team-mate Andrew Redmayne gifted Melbourne Victory the opening goal seven minutes before half-time, Mitch Nichols the ultimate beneficiary of the custodian’s poor clearance.

Two goals in three minutes just after the hour mark killed off the contest, James Troisi bagging his seventh of the season before Nichols notched his second of the match against opponents who remain rooted to the bottom of the table, some fourteen points behind their cross-town rivals.

Nick Kalmar reduced the deficit on the scoreboard ten minutes from time as Heart pulled a goal back, but Connor Pain, late in the first half, and Nichols, late in the second, were both denied by the woodwork as Victory strengthened their top six status and added further to the burdens borne by Heart coach John Aloisi.

A full round of action is spread across the period between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve. Sydney and Brisbane kick things off at Allianz Stadium on Boxing Day night, while Melbourne Heart and Wellington square off in the bottom-of-the-table battle at AAMI Park twenty-four hours later.

At the same venue on Saturday night, Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney do battle, while on Sunday afternoon, Adelaide and Newcastle lock horns at Coopers Stadium. The round concludes on New Year’s Eve with Central Coast entertaining Perth at Bluetongue Stadium.

It just remains to wish all readers a happy, safe and Merry Christmas – Jeremy Ruane

Match Details:

Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (S. Roux (27)) – Wellington Phoenix FC 0; HT 1-0 [R6]
Brisbane Roar FC 0 – Newcastle Jets FC 2 (“oggie” (33), J. Gibbs (88)); HT 0-1
Melbourne Heart FC 1 (N. Kalmar (81)) – Melbourne Victory FC 3 (M. Nichols (38, 63), J. Troisi (60)); HT 0-1
Perth Glory FC 0 – Adelaide United FC 0
Wellington Phoenix FC 1 (S. Huysegems (33)) – Sydney FC 0; HT 1-0
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (T. Juric (20), Y. Hersi (33)) – Central Coast Mariners FC 0; HT 2-0

League table:
P W D L F A GD Pts
Brisbane Roar 11 8 0 3 19 9 +10 24
Western Sydney W. 11 6 4 1 13 7 +6 22
Melbourne Victory 11 5 3 3 17 11 +6 18
Newcastle Jets 11 5 3 3 13 11 +2 18
Sydney FC 11 6 0 5 13 13 0 18
Central Coast Mariners 11 4 4 3 10 13 -3 16
Perth Glory 11 3 4 4 10 12 -2 13
Adelaide United 11 2 4 5 16 17 -1 10
Wellington Phoenix 11 1 4 6 10 16 -6 7
Melbourne Heart 11 0 4 7 9 21 -12 4

By Jeremy Ruane

National Youth League – Round 9
Melbourne Heart FC 0 – Western Sydney Wanderers FC 3 (Barresi 56′, Fofanah 68′, Andrijasevic 74′ og)
Central Coast Mariners FC 3 (Whyte 17′, Bingham 25′, Griffiths 35′) – Melbourne Victory FC 4 (Makarounas 4′, Proia 37′, Murnane 51′, Cristaldo 57′)
Perth Glory FC 1 (O’Brien 42′) – Adelaide United FC 4 (Golec 25′, Costa 35′, Kirk 73′, Kamau 74′)
Brisbane Roar FC 2 (Borrello 57′, 61′) – Newcastle Jets FC 2 (Goodwin 45’+2, Cooper 49′)
Sydney FC 3 (Urosevski 18′, Mallia 50′, Powell 70′ pen) – AIS 0

W-League – Round 6
Melbourne Victory FC 1 (Lisa De Vanna 82’) – Adelaide United FC 0
Perth Glory FC 0 – Canberra United FC 2 (Ashleigh Sykes 51’, Stephanie Ochs 92’)
Brisbane Roar FC 1 (Hayley Raso 55’) – Sydney FC 1 (Renee Rollason 4’)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 3 (Linda O’Neill 45’, Catherine Cannuli 71’, 76’) – Newcastle Jets FC 0

Leading scorers:

5 goals
Caitlin Friend (Melbourne Victory)

4 goals
Catherine Cannuli (Western Sydney Wanderers), Michelle Heyman, Stephanie Ochs (both Canberra United)

3 goals
Lisa De Vanna (Melbourne Victory), Jodie Taylor (Sydney FC), Katrina Gorry (Brisbane Roar)

2 goals
Christina Julien, Rosie Sutton (both Perth Glory), Alexandra Gummer, Tiarn Powell (both Adelaide United), Jessica Fishlock, Enza Barilla (both Melbourne Victory), Nicola Bolger, Emma Kete, Renee Rollason (all Sydney FC), Hayley Raso (Brisbane Roar)

Photo: The famous sauce bottles at North Sydney Oval in the R6 deferred game [Lowenna Rappo]