R12 Review: Top Two edge further clear of rivals
by Jeremy Ruane:
with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com
Western Sydney Wanderers resumed their winning ways in the Hyundai A-League on Christmas Eve by downing Newcastle Jets 2-0 in front of 10,141 fans at Pirtek Stadium to retain their place at the top of the table after twelve rounds of action.
It took until first half stoppage time for the home team to turn their possession into something tangible on the scoreboard, but Alberto Aguilar’s header, from a Scott Jamieson free-kick, was due reward for Wests, who continued to dominate proceedings against a feeble Newcastle outfit throughout the second spell, David Carney the lone exception for the visitors.
The league leaders doubled their advantage twenty minutes from time, Mark Bridge making the points safe after Mark Birighitti had pulled off yet another save in an effort to keep his team in the contest.
Brisbane Roar remained line astern of the pace-setters by downing third-placed Melbourne City 3-1 in the match of the round at Suncorp Stadium, where 16,435 fans saw Thomas Sorensen deny the hosts on numerous occasions during the first half until Patrick Kisnorbo found a way past his own ‘keeper on the half-hour.
Brandon Borrello doubled Brisbane’s advantage five minutes before half-time, but Bruno Fornaroli took his personal tally for the season to ten goals when halving the deficit four minutes into the second half.
A gathering of the clans around the hour mark saw four players booked before Henrique wrapped things up with the last kick of the game in stoppage time, firing into an empty net from near half-way as Sorensen beat a hasty retreat towards his own goal, having gone forward in search of a late City equaliser.
Sydney FC kept the leaders in their sights by trouncing Central Coast Mariners 4-1 at Allianz Stadium, where 12,648 fans were on hand to see the home team storm to a three-goal lead inside the opening half-hour.
Alex Brosque put the visitors on course for a record sixth successive defeat when opening the scoring in the twelfth minute, then doubling it twelve minutes later from the penalty spot, before aggravating his hamstring injury and bidding adieu for the night.
Cue more drama, in the form of a second booking for Central Coast goalkeeper Paul Izzo, who argued with referee Ben Williams about the first penalty before conceding a second one on the half-hour.
Michael Tavares duly despatched the spot-kick past Izzo’s replacement, Tom Heward-Belle, to leave Sydney three-up and cruising. But an unmarked Harry Ascroft headed the visitors back into the contest six minutes before half-time, and Roy O’Donovan came within inches of reducing the deficit further nine minutes into the second half.
Sydney held on, however, and eventually restored their three-goal advantage when Jake McGing put through his own net six minutes from time, a result which leaves Central Coast some ten points adrift of the play-off spots with fifteen rounds remaining.
Reigning champions Melbourne Victory arrested their run of defeats against Perth Glory at AAMI Park, but had to settle for a share of the spoils in front of 22,544 fans as the teams traded penalties in a 1-1 draw.
Besart Berisha, twenty minutes before half-time, and Diego Castro, seventeen minutes from the end, were the men on target from twelve yards in a match dominated by the home team, who failed to finish off their numerous chances, Fahid Ben Khalfallah’s miss from five yards with the goal yawning in front of him the pick of the lot.
Adelaide United closed to within two points of the play-off spots by downing ten-man Wellington Phoenix 3-0 in front of 11,655 fans at Coopers Stadium, where the visitors were prevented from taking the lead through Alex Rodriguez just before the half-hour mark by the offside flag.
Roly Bonevacia cleared one off the line from Jordan Elsey around this time, but when United next attacked, they opened the scoring, Manny Muscat inadvertently turning Craig Goodwin’s cross into his own net three minutes before half-time.
Wellington started the second spell like a house on fire, and were denied two penalties inside thirty seconds by referee Chris Beath before Dylan McGowan cleared a Roy Krishna shot off the line.
The wind was taken from the visitors’ sails in the 56th minute, however, Albert Riera’s harsh second booking reducing Wellington to ten men for the duration, which gave Adelaide an initiative they wouldn’t relinquish.
Goodwin doubled their lead seventeen minutes from time, while Michael Marrone wrapped up the scoring two minutes later, turning home the rebound from close range after shots from Goodwin and Pablo Sanchez had hit the uprights.
There’s little respite for the beaten side, who head to Central Coast Stadium for a New Year’s Eve encounter with the Mariners. Next day, the first of 2016, Western Sydney and Adelaide clash at Pirtek Stadium, while on Saturday evening, Brisbane and Perth draw swords at Suncorp Stadium.
Later that night, Melbourne City meet Sydney at AAMI Park before the round concludes on Sunday with Melbourne Victory’s trip to Newcastle’s Hunter Stadium home.
As this is the final round review of 2015, it just remains for me to wish all readers a safe, happy and prosperous New Year.
Adelaide United FC 3 (“oggie” (42), C. Goodwin (73), M. Marrone (75)) – Wellington Phoenix FC 0; HT 1-0
Brisbane Roar FC 3 (“oggie” (31), B. Borrello (40), Henrique (90)) – Melbourne City FC 1 (B. Fornaroli (49)); HT 2-0
Melbourne Victory FC 1 (B. Berisha (25 pen)) – Perth Glory FC 1 (D. Castro (74 pen)); HT 1-0
Sydney FC 4 (A. Brosque (12, 24 pen), M. Tavares (30 pen), “oggie” (84)) – Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (H. Ascroft (39)); HT 3-1
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (A. Aguilar (45), M. Bridge (70)) – Newcastle Jets FC 0; HT 1-0
P W D L F A GD Pts
Western Sydney Wanderers 12 8 2 2 20 10 +10 26
Brisbane Roar 12 7 3 2 20 11 +9 24
Melbourne City 12 6 2 4 30 20 +10 20
Sydney FC 12 5 5 2 15 10 +5 20
Melbourne Victory 12 5 2 5 16 15 +1 17
Wellington Phoenix 12 4 3 5 16 19 -3 15
Adelaide United 12 3 4 5 13 18 -5 13
Newcastle Jets 12 3 4 5 9 15 -6 13
Perth Glory 12 3 3 6 13 18 -5 12
Central Coast Mariners 12 1 2 9 12 28 -16 5
Westfield W-League – Season 8 – 2015/2016 – Round 11
Melbourne Victory FC 1 (Barbieri 46′) – Sydney FC 2 (Khamis 10′, Spencer 22′)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 0 – Newcastle United Jets FC 1 (Tara Andrews 41′)
Brisbane Roar FC 0 – Melbourne City FC 1 (Kim Little 6′)
Melbourne City are Premiers for 2015/2016
BYE – Adelaide United, Canberra Unite, Perth Glory
Ladder link: http://www.w-league.com.au/ladder/w_league
Foxtel National Youth League – Version 2 – Year 1 – Round 8
To be played next weekend