Round 14 Review: Newcastle come close to ending Sydney’s streak

by Jeremy Ruane
with the compliments of

HAL Round Review

Reigning Hyundai A-League champions Sydney FC recorded a record 24th unbeaten home game at Allianz Stadium in the first full round of action in 2018, but were twice forced to come from behind as second-placed Newcastle Jets held them to a 2-2 draw in front of 18,055 fans.

Andrew Nabbout headed the visitors in front after ten minutes, but that effort was cancelled out six minutes later by a splendid Milos Ninkovic goal for the title-holders, for whom victory in this match would have put them out of sight at the half-way point in the campaign.

Instead, they found themselves on the back foot as the visitors gained the ascendancy, squandering several chances before the offside flag prevented Jason Hoffman from restoring Newcastle’s lead.

It was finally afforded them just after the hour mark by Joey Champness, but with three minutes remaining, and their chance to eclipse Brisbane Roar’s seven-year-old unbeaten league record fast receding, Bobo headed home the equaliser which preserved Sydney’s eight-point advantage over Newcastle in the race for the Premiers’ Plate.

Melbourne City moved back into third place thanks to a come-from-behind 2-1 win over a Wellington Phoenix side which looked to employ an “anti-football” approach to eke out a result in front of 5,207 fans at AAMI Park.

They very nearly achieved their objective, too, with Roy Krishna’s goal three minutes before half-time threatening to earn the visitors their second win of the season. Numerous other opportunities were spurned, the pick of them being an Andrija Kaludjerovic header which bounced down to safety off the underside of the crossbar.

City turned the game round following the introduction off the bench of youngster Daniel Arzani, who was instrumental in setting up both of Ross McCormack’s close-range finishes, the marksman following up his 72nd minute far post tap-in with a well-timed run to head home from close range eight minutes later.

Melbourne Victory, who began the round in third spot, were held to a 1-1 draw by Central Coast Mariners at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong, and will be frustrated at having missed a fair few first half chances, including a Costa Barbarouses crossbar rattler in the 26th minute.

Three minutes after the interval, Besart Berisha gave the home team a deserved lead, but they paid the price for failing to add to it twenty minutes from time, Central Coast substitute Blake Powell restoring parity to earn his side a share of the spoils.

Adelaide United made significant strides up the table as they condemned Perth Glory to a 3-0 defeat at NIB Stadium, the 9,069 fans present groaning in despair as Daniel Adlung opened the scoring for the visitors just ten minutes into the contest.

They had to wait another hour before Adelaide inflicted further misery upon them, Nathan Konstandopoulos doubling the visitors’ lead before Johan Absalonsen added the coup de grace five minutes from time.

Western Sydney Wanderers also enjoyed a buoyant trip back home after eclipsing Brisbane Roar 2-0 in front of 11,189 fans at Suncorp Stadium, where the home team enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and had a wrong offside call made against Corey Gameiro as he raced through on goal just before Oriol Riera fired the visitors in front.

On the stroke of half-time, Brisbane found themselves further behind thanks to a Mark Bridge goal, and they were fortunate that the deficit didn’t grow in the second spell thanks to the efforts of goalkeeper Jamie Young and some lenient officiating which left Wests fuming – they should have had a penalty for a Massimo Maccarone foul on Brendon Santalab.

A rare midweek round of action takes place this week, leaders Sydney kicking things off at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on Monday night. Two matches take place on Tuesday evening, with Newcastle and Central Coast meeting at McDonald Jones Stadium prior to Perth taking on Melbourne City at NIB Stadium.

On Wednesday night, the round concludes with another two matches. Wellington welcome Melbourne Victory to Westpac Stadium prior to the clash of Western Sydney and Adelaide at ANZ Stadium.

Match details

Brisbane Roar FC 0 – Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (O. Riera (29), M. Bridge (45)); HT 0-2

Melbourne City FC 2 (R. McCormack (72, 80)) – Wellington Phoenix FC 1 (R. Krishna (42)); HT 0-1

Melbourne Victory FC 1 (B. Berisha (48)) – Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (B. Powell (70)) HT 0-0

Perth Glory FC 0 – Adelaide United FC 3 (D. Adlung (10), N. Konstandopoulos (71), J. Absalonsen (85)); HT 0-1

Sydney FC 2 (M. Ninkovic (16), Bobo (87)) – Newcastle United Jets FC 2 (A. Nabbout (10), J. Champness (62)); HT 1-1

League ladder

P W D L F A GD Pts

Sydney FC 14 11 2 1 35 12 +23 35

Newcastle Jets 14 8 3 3 32 17 +15 27

Melbourne City 14 7 1 6 17 17 0 22

Adelaide United 14 6 2 6 18 16 +2 20

Melbourne Victory 14 5 5 4 19 19 0 20

Western Sydney 13 4 5 4 15 22 -7 17

Perth Glory 14 5 1 8 15 28 -13 16

Central Coast 14 3 5 6 14 18 -4 14

Brisbane Roar 14 3 4 7 16 21 -5 13

Wellington Phoenix 13 1 4 8 16 27 -11 7



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