R14: Western Sydney can close to within point of leader

by Jeremy Ruane
with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com

Hyundai A-League – Season 2013/2014 – Round 14 Review

Having begun the fourteenth round of action seven points behind Hyundai A-League leaders Brisbane Roar, Western Sydney Wanderers can close to within a point of the table-toppers on Tuesday evening, when they take on Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park in a rescheduled fixture to accommodate their AFC Champions League hopes.

That’s thanks to Brisbane going down 2-1 to Adelaide United in dramatic fashion at Suncorp Stadium, where 17,593 fans saw Jeronimo Neumann open the scoring in the 21st minute for the visitors, forcing home the rebound after Michael Theo had saved his penalty, the ‘keeper having been fortunate to avoid a red card for his part in the decision to award the spot-kick – referee Alan Milliner was more than a little lenient!

Brisbane had their fair share of chances to level the scores, but were forced to play the second half with just ten men on the park when Diogo Ferreira committed his second bookable offence just before the interval.

Unperturbed, the ten men battled on, and were rewarded for their perseverance when Besart Berisha marked his return from injury with the equaliser ten minutes from time.

If there’s one team which knows about injuries this season, it’s Adelaide, and it’s as a result of such setbacks that they have been forced to turn to the likes of teenager Jordan Elsey to keep them in contention.

He achieved more than just that in stoppage time, heading home a dramatic winner to maintain Adelaide’s hopes of reaching the play-offs – they lie just x points outside the top six at the half-way point in the campaign.

Western Sydney didn’t leave it quite as late to see off Sydney FC in front of 18,080 fans at Pirtek Stadium, but were denied by the woodwork four times in the first half alone before they clinched their 1-0 win.

Mark Bridge and Tomi Juric both hit the post, while Youssouf Hersi and Juric rattled the bar in the same attack just before half-time as Western Sydney pounded away against a Sydney side which rode their luck and were on course for a point when substitute Brendan Santalab popped up with the winner three minutes from time.

Central Coast Mariners maintained third spot courtesy a 1-1 draw at Wellington Phoenix, who fell behind to a sixteenth minute strike from Matt Simon at a windswept Westpac Stadium.

But Kenny Cunningham’s equaliser on the stroke of half-time delighted the 7,005-strong crowd, who crowed with delight when the out-of-form Daniel McBreen sent his 68th minute penalty into orbit as the reigning champions spurned the chance to collect three points in New Zealand.

Perth Glory moved into the play-off spots with a 3-0 drubbing of bottom-placed Melbourne Heart, who were well in contention until substitute Shane Smeltz struck twice in the last four minutes to delight the 9,045 fans present at NIB Stadium.

Melbourne have now equalled the league’s winless streak, with Adrian Zahra’s goal in the 64th minute the beginning of the end of the visitors’ hopes of bringing an end to a run which is now nineteen matches in length, and is fast closing on an entire calendar year time-wise.

It wasn’t a great night for the Victorian teams, with Melbourne Victory held to a 1-1 draw at Hunter Stadium by a Newcastle Jets team urged on by 12,270 fans, who took great delight in Mitch Nichols putting through his own net three minutes before half-time.

Andrew Nabbout scored at the right end four minutes into the second spell for the visitors, who maintained their fourth placing with this point from a match which saw both teams fielding under-strength sides after the national body cherry-picked a host of Under-22 players for a tournament in Oman.

Tuesday’s rescheduled nineteenth round match is one which both Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney hope will go ahead without any crowd concerns, given the Damocles’ Sword – a points deduction – hanging over the heads of both clubs should terraces trouble arise.

Next weekend’s fifteenth round fare kicks off on Friday night with a double-header. Melbourne Heart host Newcastle at AAMI Park before Perth and Brisbane draw swords at NIB Stadium.

On Saturday evening, Wellington and Melbourne Victory do battle at Westpac Stadium prior to the Allianz Stadium clash of Sydney and Central Coast, while on Sunday night, Adelaide and Western Sydney wrap up the round when they duel at Coopers Stadium.

Match details

Brisbane Roar FC 1 (B. Berisha (80)) – Adelaide United FC 2 (J. Neumann (21), J. Elsey (90)); HT 0-1
Newcastle Jets FC 1 (“oggie” (42)) – Melbourne Victory FC 1 (A. Nabbout (49)); HT 1-0
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 (B. Santalab (87)) – Sydney FC 0; HT 0-0
Perth Glory FC 3 (A. Zahra (64), S. Smeltz (86, 89)) – Melbourne Heart FC 0; HT 0-0
Wellington Phoenix FC 1 (K. Cunningham (45)) – Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (M. Simon (16)); HT 1-1

P W D L F A GD Pts
Brisbane Roar 14 10 0 4 28 13 +15 30
Western Sydney Wanderers 14 7 5 2 16 11 +5 26
Central Coast Mariners 14 5 6 3 13 15 -2 21
Melbourne Victory 14 5 5 4 19 16 +3 20
Perth Glory 14 5 4 5 15 14 -1 19
Newcastle Jets 14 5 4 5 14 14 0 19
Sydney FC 14 6 1 7 17 21 -4 19
Adelaide United 14 4 5 5 21 20 +1 17
Wellington Phoenix 14 3 5 6 15 18 -3 14
Melbourne Heart 14 0 5 9 9 25 -16 5
By Jeremy Ruane

Womens National League – Round 8

Adelaide United FC 1 (Emily Condon 70’) – Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 (Michelle Carney 96’)
Newcastle Jets FC 0 – Sydney FC 3 (Nicola Bolger 13’, Caitlin Foord 38’, 77’)
Brisbane Roar FC 2 (Tameka Butt 67’, Katrina Gorry 76’) – Perth Glory FC 1 (Rosie Sutton 78’)
Melbourne Victory FC 2 (Lisa De Vanna 47’, Caitlin Friend 83’) – Canberra United FC 1 (Kendall Fletcher 67’)

National Youth League – Round 11

Newcastle Jets FC 0 – Sydney FC 3 (Calver 60, Urosevski 86, Mallia 90+2)
Melbourne Heart FC 3 (Mebrahtu 17, Germano 55, Schroen 67) – Melbourne Victory FC 1 (Proia 90+3)
Brisbane Roar FC 4 (Borrello 63, Ingham 68, 85, 90+3) – Adelaide United FC 3 (Costa 21, 27, 87pen)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 6 (Jaushua Sotirio 16′, Mark Cindric 33′ pen, 39′, 80′ 86′, Yianni Perkatis 62′) – Perth Glory FC 0
AIS 2 (Liam Rose 26’, Marc Marino 73’) – Central Coast Mariners FC 5 (Jacob Esposito 22’, Patrick Dixon 32’, Jesse Curran 44’, Hayden Morton 45+3’, Dominic Ferguson 56’)