R9 Review: Lead changes hands again as Champions beaten

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

HAL Review – Round 9

Reigning Hyundai A-League champions Melbourne Victory came a cropper on a shambolic QBE Stadium pitch in Auckland, allowing Western Sydney Wanderers to take the lead as the competition reached the one-third stage of the season.

Wellington Phoenix stunned the title-holders 2-0 in front of a disappointing crowd of 10,852 fans, who witnessed a match which, were the era of black-and-white TVs still upon us, would have rendered both teams impossible to recognise.

Melbourne wore their white change kit, but the host club opted for an all-grey outfit – an illogical move, given they were playing in New Zealand’s most populous city. Hence the disappointing crowd reference, although there have always been issues with the ground’s location, which can take anywhere up to two hours to reach for those travelling from East or South Auckland. User-friendly the facility is not.

Nor was the playing surface, or, to be more precise, the sandpit! The pitch which earlier this year hosted the FIFA U-20 World Cup Final has been wrecked following re-sowing problems at the end of the winter season, and shouldn’t have been used for a game of this stature.

But it was, and Wellington made the most of it in the first half, scoring through Roy Krishna – how he threaded the needle from the most acute of angles was amazing! – and, in the shadows of the half-time whistle, Roly Bonevacia, who earlier had a goal from a quickly taken free-kick ruled out by referee Alan Milliner, who pulled his hamstring with fifteen minutes to go.

The title-holders threw the kitchen sink at Wellington in the second spell, but Glen Moss, on his one hundredth appearance for the club, kept the visitors at bay. He was beaten once, but much to Besart Berisha’s frustration, the offside flag came to the home team’s rescue, and they held on for their third successive home win.

Western Sydney, meanwhile, clocked up their sixth successive victory as they held off a strong challenge from Brisbane Roar 2-1 in front of 9,860 fans at Pirtek Stadium, where the masses were treated to a gem of a finish from Mitch Nichols eleven minutes from time which won the game for the home team.

Mark Bridge had opened the scoring for Wests on the half-hour, but within six minutes Jamie MacLaren had Brisbane back on level terms. The visitors were arguably the better team over the course of the match, but Nichols’ curling twenty-five yard stunner deserved to win any fixture at any venue you’d care to mention – it was right out of the top drawer!

Melbourne City kicked off the ninth round in emphatic fashion, creating A-League history by becoming the first team to score five goals in two successive fixtures, with Central Coast Mariners their unwilling victims in a 5-1 rout at Central Coast Stadium.

A mere 4,514 fans were on hand to see City go nap at the expense of a home team which only had a consolation penalty from Mitchell Austin to show for an evening on which the visitors were in total control.

Harry Novillo helped himself to a goal in each half as Bruno Fornaroli – just before half-time – found the net for the seventh time this season. Stefan Mauk and Aaron Mooy, with the last kick of the game, rounded out the rout on a night Central Coast’s Storm Roux saw stars, a suspected concussion ending his evening’s activity thirteen minutes earlier than intended.

Twenty-four hours later, Alex Brosque ended Sydney FC’s recent goal drought by notching his fiftieth A-League goal in style as he led his team to a 1-0 victory over Newcastle Jets at Allianz Stadium.

Just 9,155 fans were on hand to witness a solid display by the home team, who would have led by a Filip Holosko hat-trick at half-time had he not spurned some great chances, including one which hit the post. Newcastle weren’t without their opportunities, but they were second-best on the night in this New South Wales derby.

The round concluded on Sunday evening in intense heat, which made for very unpleasant playing conditions at Coopers Stadium. So bad was the heat that the kick-off time was deferred by 150 minutes, but when Adelaide United and Perth Glory finally got things under way in their battle of the cellar dwellers, Pablo Sanchez wasted little time in giving the home team the advantage, scoring after two minutes.

To the delight of those present – there was another staged fan walk-out in this match, it proved to be the game’s only goal, earning United their first win of the campaign at the ninth attempt, but they could have won by more than 1-0, had Ante Covic not been on his game for the visitors.

The low turn-outs are the fans’ response to Football Federation Australia’s midweek reaction to last weekend’s activities, over an issue which is set to run for a wee while yet – and rightly so.

Adelaide and Sydney kick off tenth round action at Coopers Stadium on Friday evening, while Saturday night sees a triple-header taking place, with Brisbane and Wellington getting things under way at Cazaly’s Stadium.

Western Sydney and Melbourne Victory meet at Pirtek Stadium in the second encounter on the night, with Perth and Central Coast wrapping things up at NIB Stadium on a weekend which concludes with the Sunday night duel at Hunter Stadium between Newcastle and Melbourne City.

Match details:

Adelaide United FC 1 (P. Sanchez (2)) – Perth Glory FC 0;  HT 1-0

Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (M. Austin (86 pen)) – Melbourne City FC 5 (H. Novillo (26, 57), B. Fornaroli (45), S. Mauk (75), A. Mooy (90));  HT 0-2

Sydney FC 1 (A. Brosque (57)) – Newcastle Jets FC 0;  HT 0-0

Wellington Phoenix FC 2 (R. Krishna (18), R. Bonevacia (44)) – Melbourne Victory FC 0;  HT 2-0

Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (M. Bridge (29), M. Nichols (79)) – Brisbane Roar FC 1 (J. MacLaren (36));  HT 1-0

HAL Ladder – Round 9

P          W        D         L          F          A         GD       Pts

Western Sydney Wanderers     9          6          1          2          14        8          +6        19
Melbourne Victory                   8          5          1          2          14        9          +5        16
Sydney FC                               9          4          4          1          9          6          +3        16
Brisbane Roar                          9          4          3          2          14        9          +5        15
Melbourne City                        9          4          2          3          23        16        +7        14
Wellington Phoenix                   9          4          2          3          14        13        +1        14
Newcastle Jets                         9          3          3          3          9          9          0          12
Adelaide United                        9          1          3          5          8          17        -9         6
Central Coast Mariners 9          1          2          6          10        21        -11       5
Perth Glory                               8          1          1          6          7          14        -7         4

By Jeremy Ruane

Westfield W-League – Season 8 – 2015/2016 – Round 8

Match details

Canberra United FC 2 (Ashleigh Sykes 45’, 60’) – Brisbane Roar FC 0

Melbourne Victory FC 0 – Melbourne City FC 4 (Jennifer Beattie 35’, Larissa Crummer 52’, 72’, Kim Little 79’)

Sydney FC 2 (Alanna Kennedy 9’, Kyah Simon 74’)  – Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (Hannah Beard 19’, Liz Grey 84’)

Adelaide United FC 1 (Alexandra Gummer 75’) – Perth Glory FC 1 (Shawn Billam 7’)

Newcastle Jets FC – BYE

Ladder link: http://www.w-league.com.au/ladder/w_league

Foxtel National Youth League – Version 2 – Season 1 – Round 5

Match details

Conference B

Western Sydney Wanderers FC 3 – FFA Centre of Excellence 1

Sydney FC 1 – Newcastle Jets FC 2

Conference A

Perth Glory FC 0 – Adelaide United FC 3

Melbourne City FC 4 – Brisbane Roar FC 3

Ladder link: http://www.y-league.com.au/ladder/y_league