Round 22 mid split Review: Ten-man Newcastle stun Sydney as Victory win Derby

By Jeremy Ruane
With compliments of

HAL Round Review, so far

The top four teams in the Hyundai A-League battled it out on the first weekend in March, and while the scorelines in both matches read 2-1, it was the lower-ranked teams on the table who emerged victorious.

Pride of place goes to Newcastle Jets, who rolled runaway leaders Sydney FC in front of 18,156 fans at McDonald Jones Stadium, despite being deprived of the services of Roy O’Donovan for all but the first fourteen minutes of play.

The striker was deemed by the Video Assistant Referee to have struck Jordy Buijs in the face, giving referee Simon Beath no alternative. Sydney soon looked to make the most of their extra man advantage, with Adrian Mierzejewski hitting the crossbar with an acute-angled free-kick just shy of the half-hour mark.

All the scoring was completed in a fifteen-minute period either side of half-time, with Bobo’s headed equaliser seven minutes into the second spell cancelling out Dimitry Petratos’ penalty, awarded for a foul on Nikolai Topor Stanley.

The winning goal was struck in the 56th minute, a thirty yard grasscutter from Andrew Nabbout which Sydney goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne will think he could have done better with – his dive for the ball fell short, and it arrowed into the bottom far corner.

Fifteen minutes from time, only the post prevented Petratos from making the game safe as he unleashed a curling effort from ten yards, while four minutes later, a deflected Mierzejewski shot from the edge of the area was somehow headed off the line by Daniel the title-holders piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser which never materialised.

The battle for Victorian bragging rights went the way of the older club, with Melbourne Victory overturning Melbourne City in a rip-roaring encounter which engaged all 20,083 fans who were in attendance at AAMI Park.

Costa Barbarouses was denied what would have been a stunning start for Victory when the offside flag ruled out his goal after just fifty seconds of play. But the Kiwi wasn’t to be denied, and gleefully opened the scoring in the twelfth minute.

In response, City built up a head of steam, and were only the width of the crossbar away from equalising when Scott Jamieson hit the woodwork with a free-kick five minutes before half-time.

A gathering of the clans is almost a given in this fixture, and this latest Melbourne derby was no exception, Jamieson and Thomas Deng clashing on the stroke of half-time to ignite tempers in both camps.

City got back on level terms nine minutes into the second half, Bruno Fornaroli marking his return from injury with an equaliser from the penalty spot after Leigh Broxham had blocked Dario Vidosic’s cross with an outstretched arm.

Victory’s captain made ample amends just eight minutes later, a delightfully flighted angled cross rewarding Leroy George’s blindside run, the winger heading home emphatically to restore his team’s advantage.

Kevin Muscat’s side should have won by a greater margin, with James Troisi bagging “Miss of the Season” honours in stoppage time when firing wide of an open goal from thirty yards, with City goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis having been caught in possession on the edge of Victory’s penalty area as City pressed all out for a late equaliser from a corner.

Brisbane Roar upset fifth-placed Adelaide United 1-0 at Suncorp Stadium, where 8,237 fans saw Eric Bautheac’s splendid free-kick decide the contest four minutes before half-time.

The home team should have won by a greater margin, given Massimo Maccarone squandered two great chances, and United goalkeeper Paul Izzo pulled off a double save to deny both Brett Holman and Casey Gameiro during the second half.

Rounding out the weekend’s action was a 23rd round match brought forward due to Asian Champions League commitments. Western Sydney Wanderers and Perth Glory drew 1-1 in front of 6,612 fans at Spotless Stadium, where all the scoring took place inside the opening thirteen minutes.

Mark Bridge fired the home team in front ten minutes into the contest, but Xavi Torres restored parity from the penalty spot three minutes later. There was late drama as Perth goalkeeper Liam Reddy was shown the red card for a professional foul on Jaushua Sotirio, but Dino Djulbic, who took over the gloves, was able to see out the remaining minutes to ensure the visitors headed home with a point for their efforts.

Just two matches are scheduled next weekend as the competition gets back on track, with Western Sydney welcoming Wellington Phoenix to Spotless Stadium, prior to Perth’s clash with Central Coast Mariners at NIB Stadium.

Bottom-placed Wellington are giving the impression that their future isn’t going to be overly lengthy, following developments in the past week at a club where the majority of players are off-contract at season’s end.

Coach Darije Kalezic announced he won’t be continuing in the post next season, and both the Commercial Manager and Media & Communications Manager have also tendered their resignations. The way things are going, it could be a case of “Could the last one to leave please turn off the lights on your way out?”

Match details – mid split round 22

Brisbane Roar FC 1 (E. Bautheac (41)) – Adelaide United FC 0; HT 1-0

Melbourne City FC 1 (B. Fornaroli (54 pen)) – Melbourne Victory FC 2 (C. Barbarouses (12), L. George (62)); HT 0-1

Newcastle United Jets FC 2 (D. Petratos (43 pen), A. Nabbout (56)) – Sydney FC 1 (Bobo (52)); HT 1-0

Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 (M. Bridge (10)) – Perth Glory FC 1 (X. Torres (13 pen)); HT 1-1

League ladder – mid split round 22

P W D L F A GD Pts

Sydney FC 22 16 4 2 54 17 +37 52

Newcastle Jets 22 13 5 4 46 25 +21 44

Melbourne City 22 10 3 9 32 30 +2 33

Melbourne Victory 22 9 5 8 33 31 +2 32

Adelaide United 22 8 5 9 24 29 -5 29

Western Sydney 22 6 9 7 28 37 -9 27
Brisbane Roar 22 7 4 11 25 32 -7 25

Perth Glory 22 7 2 13 27 43 -16 23

Central Coast 21 4 8 9 22 29 -7 20

Wellington Phoenix 21 4 5 12 24 42 -18 17