Wins at WIN, if not for either team

By Corinthian (Paul Green):

Hyundai A-League – Season 10 – 2014/2015 – Round 14
7:30pm, Saturday 3rd January 2015- WIN Stadium, Wollongong

Sydney FC 0
drew with
Newcastle United Jets FC 0


There was no winner in this game, but many would argue that football on the South Coast came out on top, as a crowd in excess of 11,000 flocked to the first A League game to be staged in Wollongong, as Sydney FC went provincial, with their own regular arena, Sydney Football Stadium undergoing maintenance work.

A scoreless draw may look dull on paper, but the match on a warm and sunny Saturday evening was anything but boring, as both teams had the intention of getting something from the game.

Newcastle needed something after a long, lean spell, while Sydney FC were little different, having failed to win much at home and the prospect of playing at a different venue might have allowed them to express themselves better, perhaps.

They came out firing and on an immaculate surface provided some good entertainment, but once again there were no goals, though one perfectly legitimate and spectacular volley from Austrian marquee man, Marc Janko, was chalked off for offside, later video evidence suggesting that the assistant, whose flag was raised, got it wrong and referee, Lucien Laverdure, copped the blame for endorsing that decision and consequently blowing for the infringement.

Later some harsh words from aggrieved Sydney FC coach, Graham Arnold, pointed the finger squarely at the man in the middle, but apart from that one mistake, prompted by an assistant’s raised flag, the referee had an excellent game.

It was not a game without other chances, either.

Bernie Ibini and Alex Brosque and Janko, one one other occasion, all failed to find the net after receiving worthwhile service from their midfield support group.

Sydney FC have been down on numbers lately and withdrawals on the day of the game have happened more than once, this time Shane Smeltz pulling out hours before kick-off.

The absence of Socceroo, Terry Antonis, from the midfield was absorbed, but in defence Arnold’s team still needs an assured presence alongside the very able Nikola Petkovic.

On one flank Aaron Calver came in and had his moments, but when he got forward some of this crosses were a little hard for the strikers to reach and that proved disappointing.

The move that could and in hindsight should have secured a goal and the three points for Sydney came in the 33rd after Calver had done some good work on the right.

Janko connected from the left-hand side of the field, just outside the area and the ball fairly whistled into the roof of Ben Kennedy’s net.

Kennedy was bombarded with shots more than once and stood tall, saving at close-range a number of times. He had far more to do than his opposite number in the Sydney goal, Vedran Janjetovic, though in the second-half, as the Jets came into the game more, the Sydney man did have a few torrid moments as well.

After only five minutes had elapsed the always lively Bernie Ibini got into a good spot at the far post and tried to nod the ball down, hoping that it would bounce past the keeper and over the line, but instead it kept on bouncing and went just wide. The intention was good, but there wasn’t enough of his head on the ball to provide the necessary power or direction.

Janko struck the post in the 22nd, again from the left, a tight angle making it difficult for the striker to get the accuracy required of him.

Peter Triantis provided Janko with a cross in the 32nd, but the timing of the mid-fielder’s cross was not so good and the Austrian missed connecting with the ball by a whisker.

The efforts of Brazilian Jeronimo for Newcastle were worthy, but he, too, was unable to find the target, blasting over in the 42nd, having found only the side-netting in the 15th minute, from an Allan Welsh through pass.

Towards the end of the game he was hampered after sustaining a shoulder injury that needed urgent on-field attention, as all three of the Newcastle’s bench-men had come on already.

After the break, Joel Griffiths came on for Mitch Cooper, up front, to play a creative role just in behind Jeronimo and the Jets lifted a lot during the second period.

Jeronimo again failed to hit the target, however, when his 52nd minute header flew wide and Newcastle had defender Adrian Madaschi to thank for a terrific tackle to deny Brosque in the 66th, while Brosque himself had earlier come to Sydney’s rescue by booting off the line to deny the Jets a second-half opener in the 56th.

Also a booming shot from substitute Edson Montano in the 76th was heading under the bar until Janjetovic rose well to tip the ball over and preserve his clean sheet.

The wins aren’t coming for either side at the moment and while Sydney had by far the better of things and will surely improve when reinforcements come in after the January transfer window, Newcastle applied themselves to the task well and showed signs that with a careful selection and use of playing resources they can soon begin to win games as well.

Match details

Crowd: (Official) 11,377

Sydney FC: GK 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC; 25. Aaron CALVER, 2.Seb RYALL, 6.Nikola PETKOVIC, 16.Alex GERSBACH; 18.Peter TRIANTIS, 23. Rhyan GRANT (13.Christopher NAUMOFF 77), 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 11.Bernie IBINI;  14.Alex BROSQUE (C),    21.Mark JANKO,
Subs not used: RGK 1.Ivan NECEVSKI,  29. George BLACKWOOD, 4.Pedj BOJIC, 12 Hagi GLIGOR,

Yellow Cards: Nil; Red Cards: Nil

Coach: Graham Arnold

Newcastle Jets FC: 20.Ben KENNEDY (gk);  4.Kew JALIENS (C), 18.Allan WELSH,  6.Adrian MADASCHI; 17.James VIRGILI (13.Edson MONTANO 75), 11.Andrew HOOLE; 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI (16.Jacob PEPPER 73), 8.Zenon CARAVELLA, 23.David CARNEY;  19.Mitch COOPER (9.Joel GRIFFITHS 46), 7.Jeronimo NEUMANN
Subs not used:  30. John Solari (rgk), 12. Sam GALLAGHER

Yellow Cards: Mitch Cooper 23, Zenon Caravella 64, Kew Jaliens 72, Andrew Hoole 82; Red Cards: Nil

Coach: Phil Stubbins

Points and ratings

Player points:
3. Ben Kennedy (NUJ)
2. Nicola Petkovic (SFC)
1. Kew Jaliens (NUJ)

Match 7/10
Pitch 9/10
Referee: Lucien Laverdure 8/10
Assistant Referee 1: Leigh Pigram, Assistant Referee 2: Owen Goldrick; Fourth Official: Luke Withell