R14 Review: Wellington continues upward surge as Perth stumble

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


Wellington Phoenix lead the pursuit of Perth Glory in the Hyundai A-League after the league leaders suffered just their second defeat of the campaign when edged by the odd goal in three by Adelaide United at NIB Stadium.

On a day the temperature gauge cleared 44C in Perth, 9,699 fans saw the visitors score a come-from-behind 2-1 triumph, the home team having opened the scoring just eleven minutes in through Nebojsa Marinkovic.

Twenty minutes later, United levelled the scores through Craig Goodwin, then took the lead three minutes after half-time courtesy a James Jeggo strike which decided the encounter, one which has left players of both teams feeling the after-effects of the heat.

Wellington edged ahead of Melbourne Victory in second place on goal difference after Jeremy Brockie marked his final game for the club with two goals in a 3-0 defeat of Brisbane Roar.

10,267 fans were thrilled by the home team’s ideal start, with Manny Muscat netting a rare goal for the Wellingtonians, who have never been any higher on the league table in their history than they are at present.

The reigning champions, with Henrique leading the way, looked to get back on level terms, but generally played second fiddle to a Wellington side which doubled their lead from the penalty spot six minutes into the second half.

Having done the deed from twelve yards, Brockie wrapped up the scoring half-way through the second spell with a far more fitting final goal for Wellington, his fifteen yard rocket careering past Brisbane goalkeeper Jamie Young to leave the home team believing that winning the title is not inconceivable in 2015.

Melbourne, meanwhile, extended Western Sydney Wanderers’ winless streak to twelve matches by downing the Asian champions 2-1 at Pirtek Stadium, in front of 14,619 fans.

Many of them hadn’t seen the home team score an A-League goal for what probably seemed like an eternity, but ten minutes into the second spell, Nick Kalmar broke their drought some 475 minutes after they last had reason to celebrate.

Carl Valeri had volleyed Melbourne in front just shy of the half-hour mark, and after Nick Ansell had seen his header cleared off the line by Jason Trifiro, Guilherme Finkler confirmed an away win ten minutes from time to leave the winless Western Sydney firmly entrenched at the bottom of the table, and wondering where their next win will come from.

The victors’ cross-town rivals, Melbourne City, didn’t fare so well at Central Coast Stadium, where a brace of Mitchell Duke goals clinched a 2-0 win for Central Coast Mariners.

The home team’s first win in thirteen matches delighted the 7,409 fans present, as did the goals of Mitchell Duke, who struck in the twelfth minute and again just before the half-hour mark to clinch the points.

Things went from bad to worse for City, who had goalkeeper Tando Velaphi sent off with half-an-hour left. His opposite number, Liam Reddy, was kept busy by efforts from the likes of Robert Koren throughout proceedings, but succeeded in keeping the visitors scoreless for the first time in eighteen matches.

Talking of scoreless, that was the result of the first match in the round, between Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets at WIN Stadium in Wollongong, where 11,377 fans saw a stunning strike by Sydney’s Marc Janko controversially ruled out by the offside flag.

The striker was also denied by the woodwork in this New South Wales derby, with Alex Brosque frustrating Newcastle by heading Adrian Madaschi’s effort off the line early in the second spell.

The Hyundai A-League now goes into recess for a fortnight as Australia hosts the Asian Cup Finals. When it resumes, it’s in the form of a split round, with Adelaide and Newcastle kicking things off at Coopers Stadium on January 24.

Also that night, Central Coast and Sydney draw swords at Central Coast Stadium, while a day later, Perth and Melbourne Victory lock horns at NIB Stadium. Melbourne City and Western Sydney meet at AAMI Park on 1 February, while Wellington visit Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium twenty-four hours later to complete the fifteenth round of action.

Match details:

Central Coast Mariners FC 2 (M. Duke (12, 27)) – Melbourne City FC 0; HT 2-0

Perth Glory FC 1 (N. Marinkovic (11)) – Adelaide United FC 2 (C. Goodwin (31), J. Jeggo (48)); HT 1-1

Sydney FC 0 – Newcastle United Jets FC 0

Wellington Phoenix FC 3 (M. Muscat (4), J. Brockie (51 pen, 67)) – Brisbane Roar FC 0; HT 1-0

Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 (N. Kalmar (55)) – Melbourne Victory 2 (C. Valeri (27), G. Finkler (80)); HT 0-1


P    W    D    L    F    A    GD    Pts

Perth Glory    14    10    2    2    25    15    +10    32

Wellington Phoenix    14    9    1    4    28    14    +14    28

Melbourne Victory    14    8    4    2    28    15    +13    28

Adelaide United    14    8    2    4    22    14    +8    26

Sydney FC    14    4    7    3    15    15    0    19

Melbourne City    13    4    4    5    20    24    -4    16

Brisbane Roar    13    3    3    7    14    19    -5    12

Central Coast    14    2    6    6    12    21    -9    12

Newcastle Jets    14    1    5    8    12    28    -16    8

Western Sydney    12    0    4    8    7    18    -11    4