R3 Review: Wellington stun leaders to leave Sydney on top

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


The only perfect record in the Hyundai A-League went west as third round action took place on the weekend New Zealand celebrates Labour Day, and it was fitting, in such circumstances, that the only Kiwi team in Australia’s national league should be the side to do the damage.

Wellington Phoenix’s future in the competition remains in doubt – they are the lone club yet to have their licence extended by Football Australia. What better way to stake their claim for an extension of at least ten years by coming from behind to lower the colours of leaders Brisbane Roar, 3-2 in front of 6,103 fans at Westpac Stadium!

In a cracking encounter played in great spirit throughout – interventions by referee Jarred Gillett were few and far between – the visitors opened the scoring through Dimitri Petratos, who curled home a gem of a fifteen yarder in the 26th minute.

If that goal was good, it was well and truly upstaged nine minutes later by Michael McGlinchey’s early contender for free-kick of the season – a peach of a thirty yarder which arced over the wall and beyond the flailing fingertips of Jamie Young before crashing into the corner of the net.

Four minutes into the second spell, the home team took the lead through Roy Krishna, whose rifled ten yard strike was matched by Jade North’s eight yard volley on the hour, which levelled the scores.

Both teams went all out for the winner, and it was Wellington who nabbed it twelve minutes from time, substitute Blake Powell stabbing home from four yards to the delight of the “Yellow Fever” faithful, who delighted in indulging in their bizarre shirt-shedding tradition for the first time in a fair while two minutes later.

That result opened the way for Sydney FC to rise to the top of the standings, but they left it late in an at times frantic Harbour City derby against Western Sydney Wanderers, who were controversially denied a goal on the stroke of half-time when Joshua Sotirio’s improvised headed effort was ruled out by the offside flag.

Earlier in the half, Dimas had hit the crossbar from point-blank range for the Wanderers, on an evening the behaviour and antics of a minority of the 40,539 fans present at Allianz Stadium left a fair bit to be desired – reports of the confiscation of flares, hammers and large bolts, intended for use as missiles, were prominent post-match, as was mention of damage to seats, bottle-throwing …

As the majority of like-minded, law-abiding supporters well know, this isn’t football.

FC left it late to clinch their 1-0 victory, Milos Ninkovic settling the contest two minutes from time when tucking the ball past Andrew Redmayne on receipt of Brandon O’Neill’s deft overhead flick.

On what turned out to be a great weekend for all the home teams – all five collected three points, Newcastle Jets started the ball rolling by upsetting title-holders Melbourne Victory 1-0 in front of 10,087 fans at Hunter Stadium.

David Carney’s rasping twenty-five yarder fifteen minutes from time sealed the deal for the victors, who earlier went close on a number of occasions through Milos Trifunovic.

Melbourne, who now haven’t won at this venue for over six years, also had chances aplenty, but Besart Berisha was denied by the woodwork, while fellow front-runners Costa Barbarouses and Fahid Ben Khalfallah also went close on a night of 33 shots on goal all told.

Sunday’s fare saw two 3-1 victories recorded, firstly by Melbourne City over Central Coast Mariners, then by Perth Glory at the expense of Adelaide United, a result which lifted the Western Australian outfit off the bottom of the table.

Bruno Fornaroli was City’s star turn, much to the delight of the 8,408 fans at AAMI Park. His second half brace in what was a lively affair clinched the points for the home team, after Patrick Kisnorbo and the Mariners’ Nick Fitzgerald exchanged goals inside the opening fifteen minutes.

Both Fitzgerald and Fabio Ferreira had goals disallowed for the visitors during proceedings, while visiting ‘keeper Paul Izzo made some vital saves to keep out the Aaron Mooy-inspired home team, whose hopes of FFA Cup glory were dashed in midweek by Perth.

The FFA Cup finalists carried their cup form into league action in front of 7,728 fans at NIB Stadium, Sidney Sciola Moraes delighting the natives by opening the scoring five minutes before half-time.

Suibstitutes Guyon Fernandez and Diego Castro made the game safe for Perth over the course of the next half-hour – both goals were set up by their captain, Richard Garcia, while the home team also put through their own net to give Adelaide some reward from the contest, Diogo Ferreira diverting a Sergio Cirio cross into his own goal.

Next weekend’s round is spread over four days, with the action beginning and ending in Australia’s sporting capital. Melbourne City entertain Newcastle at AAMI Park on Friday evening, before Central Coast and Sydney lock horns at Central Coast Stadium on Saturday night.

That match is immediately followed by Brisbane’s encounter with Adelaide at Suncorp Stadium, while on Sunday, Western Sydney and Perth lock horns at Pirtek Stadium before Melbourne Victory and Wellington meet at Etihad Stadium on Melbourne Cup day eve.

HAL11 Match details:

Melbourne City 3 (P. Kisnorbo (11), B. Fornaroli (53, 71)), Central Coast Mariners 1 (N. Fitzgerald (13)) HT 1-1
Newcastle Jets 1 (D. Carney (75)), Melbourne Victory 0 HT 0-0
Perth Glory 3 (S. Moraes (40), G. Fernandez (60), D. Castro (72)), Adelaide United 1 (“oggie” (75)) HT 1-0
Sydney FC 1 (M. Ninkovic (88)), Western Sydney Wanderers 0 HT 0-0
Wellington Phoenix 3 (M. McGlinchey (35), R. Krishna (49), B. Powell (78)), Brisbane Roar 2 (D. Petratos (26), J. North (60)) HT 1-1

HAL11 Ladder

P    W    D    L    F    A    GD    Pts

Sydney FC    3    2    1    0    3    1    +2    7

Brisbane Roar    3    2    0    1    7    5    +2    6

Wellington Phoenix    3    2    0    1    6    5    +1    6

Newcastle Jets    3    2    0    1    3    2    +1    6

Melbourne City    3    1    1    1    6    5    +1    4

Melbourne Victory    3    1    1    1    3    3    0    4

Perth Glory    3    1    0    2    6    6    0    3

Central Coast Mariners    3    1    0    2    5    7    -2    3

Adelaide United    3    0    2    1    2    4    -2    2

Western Sydney    3    0    1    2    2    5    -3    1

By Jeremy Ruane

W-League round-up

Round 2:

Canberra United FC 3 (Nicole Begg 8’, Veronica Perez 58’, Caitlin Munoz 68’) – Sydney FC 0
Perth Glory FC 0 – Newcastle United Jets FC 0
Melbourne City FC 2 (Marianna Tabain 49’, Aivi Luik 72’ pen) – Melbourne Victory FC 1 (Whitney Knight 92’)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 0 – Brisbane Roar FC 3 (Emily Gielnik 63’, 75’ pen, Gabrielle Marzano 91’)