R13 Review: Refereeing blunders mark start of New Year

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

HAL Review

The New Year round of Hyundai A-League action was overshadowed by refereeing blunders of quite some significance, with penalties and goals being awarded or ignored without justification, and, worse still, a blatant head-butt only being punished by a yellow card.

Ben Williams, Strebre Delovski, Kris Griffiths-Jones were the officials whose efforts  sullied the round, the first- and third-mentioned admitting the errors of their ways after the conclusion of their respective matches.

Not for the first time this season, Wellington Phoenix were the victims of Griffiths-Jones’ latest blunders, the official awarding Central Coast Mariners a penalty which never was after 27 minutes of their clash at Central Coast Stadium.

The 10,073-strong crowd delighted in seeing Fabio Ferreira despatch the spot-kick, and when Mitch Austin doubled their lead three minutes later, the bottom-placed club were on course for their first home win in many a month.

Wellington’s cause was further harmed when Albert Riera committed his second bookable offence early in the second half, but he should have been followed to the dressing rooms just before the hour mark by Roy O’Donovan, whose retaliatory head-butt on Manny Muscat only earned a yellow card from the referee.

It will be interesting to see how many weeks the Irishman is suspended for once the Match Review Panel does its duty this week, while for their parts in proceedings, Muscat and Griffiths-Jones should also spend a round on the sidelines.

The ten men fought back through Blake Powell’s goal half-way through the second spell, but instantly handed Central Coast their two-goal advantage back, Michael Neill pouncing to wrap up a much-needed 3-1 win for a club which is struggling to pay its players.

Twenty-four hours later, Mr Williams – no stranger to making obscure decisions at the best of times – added further entries to the growing catalogue of officiating blunders as Western Sydney Wanderers and Adelaide United fought out a scoreless draw in front of 16,312 fans at Pirtek Stadium.

Both teams had chances galore to break the deadlock, with saves aplenty being seen at both ends of the park as Andrew Redmayne and Eugene Galekovic earned their keep twixt the sticks.

Sergio Cirio hit the crossbar early on for United, after which the visitors were denied a clear-cut penalty when Michael Marrone was tackled by Nikolai Topor-Stanley after the ball had gone.

Referee Williams waved play on, moments after he had ruled out a Western Sydney goal, deeming Federico Piovaccari had been guilty of holding off – literally – Dylan McGowan’s challenge, even though the defender was similarly culpable in the same incident.

The table-toppers’ stumble offered Brisbane Roar the chance to take over at the top of the table on goal difference, a feat they achieved by overcoming Perth Glory 2-1 in front of 17,696 fans at Suncorp Stadium.

It was a tale of two ‘keepers – rather than further refereeing discrepancies – in this match, with Brisbane’s Jamie Young and Perth’s Ante Covic producing a string of fine saves throughout proceedings, Young’s efforts being supplemented by a goal-line clearance from Jade North which prevented Josh Risdon from netting a late Perth equaliser.

Jamie MacLaren broke the deadlock seven minutes into the second half, and when Henrique doubled Brisbane’s advantage just after the hour mark, the game looked up for Perth. But substitute Hagi Gligor set up a grandstand finish with his first touch twenty minutes from time, after which Young, in particular, ensured there would be new leaders at the end of this round.

Melbourne City and Sydney FC are now six points adrift of the top two after their AAMI Park encounter saw them share four goals in front of a 10,140-strong crowd, all of whom were stunned by the visitors’ first equaliser.

In a cracking encounter, Sydney dominated the early exchanges, and should have been awarded a penalty when Jacob Melling scythed down George Blackwood right in front of referee Delovski, who inexplicably waved play-on.

Needless to say, Sydney’s coach, Graham Arnold, was not a happy chappy, and his mood darkened further when Aaron Hughes gave City the lead eight minutes before half-time.

Milos Ninkovic’s sublime back-heeled leveller eight minutes after the break was worth the admission money alone, the striker going on to head Sydney level again twelve minutes from time after Bruno Fornaroli’s eleventh goal of the season restored injury-hit City’s lead on the hour.

The visitors should have clinched all three points late on, Shane Smeltz scooping the ball over the bar from under the shadows of the crossbar and with the goal at his mercy to ensure both teams remain in a share of third place.

The final game in the round saw a Fahid Ben Khalfallah goal nineteen minutes from time finally arrest Melbourne Victory’s winless run, earning them a 1-0 win over Newcastle Jets in front of 8,864 fans at Hunter Stadium, where Archie Thompson hit the post in the first half of a match between two teams struggling for form of late.

Next weekend’s action kicks off with a match which is regarded as Central Coast’s home game, even though their clash with Melbourne Victory takes place at Geelong’s Simonds Stadium – another one from the FFA’s “illogical but true” files! At least it’ll guarantee the struggling club their biggest home gate of the season!

Saturday evening sees a triple-header in store, with Sydney and Newcastle meeting at Allianz Stadium prior to Melbourne City’s duel with Western Sydney at AAMI Park. Perth’s clash with Adelaide at NIB Stadium completes the treble, with injury-and-suspension-hit Wellington welcoming Brisbane to Westpac Stadium on Sunday evening to bring the premiership campaign to its half-way mark.

Match details:

Brisbane Roar FC 2 (J. MacLaren (52), Henrique (61))- Perth Glory FC 1 (H. Gligor (70)); HT 0-0

Central Coast Mariners FC 3 (F. Ferreira (27 pen), M. Austin (30), M. Neill (70)) – Wellington Phoenix FC 1 (B. Powell (67)); HT 2-0

Melbourne City FC 2 (A. Hughes (37), B. Fornaroli (60)) – Sydney FC 2 (M. Ninkovic (53, 78); HT 1-0

Newcastle United Jets FC 0 – Melbourne Victory FC 1 (F. Ben Khalfallah (71)); HT 0-0

Western Sydney Wanderers FC  0 –  Adelaide United FC 0

HAL Ladder

P    W    D    L    F    A    GD    Pts

Brisbane Roar    13    8    3    2    22    12    +10    27

Western Sydney Wanderers    13    8    3    2    20    10    +10    27

Melbourne City    13    6    3    4    32    22    +10    21

Sydney FC    13    5    6    2    17    12    +5    21

Melbourne Victory    13    6    2    5    17    15    +2    20

Wellington Phoenix    13    4    3    6    17    22    -5    15

Adelaide United    13    3    5    5    13    18    -5    14

Newcastle Jets    13    3    4    6    9    16    -7    13

Perth Glory    13    3    3    7    14    20    -6    12

Central Coast Mariners    13    2    2    9    15    29    -14    8

By Jeremy Ruane

Westfield W-League – Season 8 – 2015/2106 – Round 12

Match details

Perth Glory FC 0 – Canberra United FC 2 (Ellie Brush 22’, Ashleigh Sykes 87’)

Melbourne City FC 4 (Kim Little 12’, 33’ pen, Beattie Goad 66’, Marianna Tabain 70’) – Western Sydney Wanderers FC 0

Adelaide United FC 1 (Abigail Dahlkemper 94’) – Brisbane Roar FC 3 (Ruth Blackburn 26’, Kirsty Yallop 40’, Gabrielle Marzano 41’)

Newcastle Jets FC 0 – Melbourne Victory FC 1 (Natasha Dowie 13’)

Sydney FC – BYE

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

Foxtel National Youth League – Version 2 – Season 1 – Round 8

Match details

Conference A

Melbourne Victory FC 1 – Adelaide United FC 2

Brisbane Roar FC 0 – Perth Glory FC 1  

Conference B

Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 – Newcastle United Jets FC 1  

Sydney FC 5 – Central Coast Mariners FC 3

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