R17: Leaders topple Champs to surge seven points clear

by Jeremy Ruane:
with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com
Hyundai A-League – Season 2013/2014 – Round 17 Review


Hyundai A-League leaders Brisbane Roar surged seven points clear with a game in hand at the top of the table on the first weekend in February, after coming from behind to down defending champions Central Coast Mariners 2-1 in front of 16,078 fans at Suncorp Stadium.

The first half was punctuated by indiscretions, many of which resulted in free-kicks. One of these came from the penalty spot – Mile Sterjovski gave Central Coast the lead nine minutes before half-time after he had been fouled by Michael Theo.

Brisbane, who had enjoyed the better of the exchanges to this point, looked to strike back immediately, the offside flag denying Dimitri Petratos an equaliser before the interval.

After it, the Thomas Broich show really hit town, the midfielder bossing the game as he set up Henrique’s equaliser just after the hour mark, then Besart Berisha’s late winner in a match which could well have finished 2-2, had Mitchell Duke’s drive – the game’s last kick – not clipped the wrong side of the upright from Central Coast’s perspective.

Second-placed Western Sydney Wanderers were held to a 2-2 draw at Hunter Stadium by a Newcastle Jets team which took the lead through a thumping Adam Taggart thirty-yarder just shy of the half-hour mark.

Aaron Mooy levelled matters on the stroke of half-time with a sumptuous twenty-five yard free-kick, before Michael Beauchamp put the title-chasers on course for victory via a scrambled effort half-way through the second half.

They were denied the win they coveted by another Taggart strike in stoppage time, and the Newcastle striker was on his way to potentially completing his hat-trick when Western Sydney goalkeeper Ante Covic brought him down outside the penalty area.

With all in the 15,924-strong crowd anticipating a last-minute free-kick, and a sending-off for the professional foul, referee Ben Williams – no stranger to making decisions of a debatable nature – added another such call to his already bulging catalogue by instead blowing the full-time whistle … as Bill Shankly once said, “They may know the rules, but they don’t know the game”.

Suffice to say, Newcastle were ropable, in particular their prodigal son, Joel Griffiths, who made his frustrations known to the official in no uncertain terms, a daft but perfectly understandable outburst to which referee Williams rightly responded by showing Griffiths the red card.

Melbourne Victory arrested their recent dramatic form slump, i.e. avoided a third successive 5-0 defeat, but were unable to return to winning ways at NIB Stadium, where Perth Glory came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw in front of 10,151 fans.

Tomi Rogic rattled Perth’s crossbar in the 34th minute, as he began his first match for his new club, but Melbourne had just three minutes to wait before breaking the deadlock, Guilherme Finkler firing home a penalty to give the visitors the half-time advantage.

Five minutes into the second spell, the scores were levelled in stunning fashion by Perth’s half-time substitute Darvydas Sernas, who made an instant impact with a splendid curling effort from distance, a strike which set up a fascinating second half in which both teams spurned chances to net the winner.

Wellington Phoenix closed to within a point of the play-off spots with a 2-1 victory over Adelaide United in front of 18,056 fans at Auckland’s Eden Park – Wellington’s biggest home crowd of the season by some distance, and the biggest of the round.

They were delighted to see the Wellingtonians take the lead in the 22nd minute through Carlos Hernandez’s penalty, and after Stein Huysegems had hit both the post and the crossbar eleven minutes later, the home team doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time through Kenny Cunningham.

The second half saw both teams squander one-on-one opportunities, while Jeremy Brockie somehow missed an open goal before the visitors pulled one back in the final minute through substitute Awer Mabil as their conquerors climbed into eighth place on the table.

Last-placed Melbourne Heart gave their season a considerable boost by coming from behind to down Sydney FC 2-1 at AAMI Park, despite playing with just ten men on the park for the best part of an hour.

The visitors fashioned the first opening when Milos Dimitrijevic rattled the crossbar in the eighteenth minute, but the game took a decided tilt in Sydney’s favour fifteen minutes later when Orlando Engelaar was shown the red card for a rugged challenge.

Within five minutes, Sydney consolidated their numerical advantage on the scoreboard, Corey Gameiro opening the scoring six minutes before half-time. But the home team should have been given the opportunity to level the scores when Alessandro Del Piero saved a Harry Kewell shot – a clear hand-ball offence which referee Jarred Gillett somehow didn’t see.

Melbourne weren’t to be denied, however, and, urged on by the small 7,674-strong crowd, restored parity early in the second half, Jonatan Germano scrambling home after Sydney’s defence failed to clear their lines.

The ten men made light of their lack of numbers to dominate the second spell following their leveller, and in the last minute, gained due reward through a brilliant individual goal from David Williams, the winger dashing over half the length of the field to bury the ball beyond Vedran Janjetovic, having swept past four opponents en route.

Next weekend’s action couldn’t get off to a better start – the clash of the top two on Friday evening! Western Sydney enjoy home advantage against Brisbane at Pirtek Stadium.

On Saturday, Central Coast welcome Melbourne Victory to Bluetongue Stadium before Sydney and Adelaide do battle at Allianz Stadium, while Sunday’s fare sees Melbourne Heart and Perth clashing at the Lavington Sports Ground, prior to the Hunter Stadium encounter between Newcastle and Wellington.

Match details

Brisbane Roar 2 (Henrique (66), B. Berisha (90)), Central Coast Mariners 1 (M. Sterjovski (36 pen)) HT 0-1
Melbourne Heart 2 (J. Germano (52), D. Williams (89)), Sydney FC 1 (C. Gameiro (39)) HT 0-1
Newcastle Jets 2 (A. Taggart (27, 90)), Western Sydney Wanderers 2 (A. Mooy (45), M. Beauchamp (65)) HT 1-1
Perth Glory 1 (D. Sernas (50)), Melbourne Victory 1 (G. Finkler (37 pen)) HT 0-1
Wellington Phoenix 2 (C. Hernandez (22 pen), K. Cunningham (44)), Adelaide United 1 (A. Mabil (90)) HT 2-0

P W D L F A GD Pts
Brisbane Roar 17 12 1 4 32 15 +17 37
Western Sydney Wanderers 18 8 6 4 22 18 +4 30
Central Coast Mariners 17 7 6 4 18 17 +1 27
Melbourne Victory 18 6 6 6 23 28 -5 24
Sydney FC 17 7 1 9 23 24 -1 22
Adelaide United 17 5 6 6 25 24 +1 21
Perth Glory 17 5 6 6 17 18 -1 21
Wellington Phoenix 17 5 5 7 23 21 +2 20
Newcastle Jets 17 5 5 7 17 22 -5 20
Melbourne Heart 17 2 6 9 16 29 -13 12
By Jeremy Ruane

National Youth League – Round 14

AIS 0 – Adelaide United FC 1 (Anthony Costa 45′)
Melbourne Heart FC 1 (Mauk 5′) – Sydney FC 2 (Macdonald 43′, Urosevski 85′)
Brisbane Roar FC 0 – Central Coast Mariners FC 0
Perth Glory FC 5 (R Edwards 59m, Maclaren 65m, 80m, 90m+3, Sam 75m) –
Melbourne Victory FC 2 (Cristaldo 31m, J Jeggo 77m)

Womens National League – Round 11
Melbourne Victory FC 0 – Perth Glory FC 1 (Kate Gill 22’)
Canberra United FC 5 (Michelle Heyman 7’, Sally Shipard 10’, Ellie Brush 28’, Georgia Yeoman-Dale 46’, Jennifer Bisset 63’) – Newcastle Jets FC 0
Adelaide United FC 1 (Emily Condon 87’) – Brisbane Roar FC 1 (Emily Gielnik 64’)