Round Review: No Perfect Records After Two Rounds

by Jeremy Ruane:
with the compliments of

HAL 14 – Round 2 Review

Not one team in the Hyundai A-League boasts a perfect record after two rounds of the competition, with a further three draws in this round – on the last weekend in October – reflecting the overall tightness of the competition.

Just two teams scored victories in the round, with Perth Glory securing their triumph in the last minute of their visit to Melbourne Victory, whose 3-2 loss in front of 17,219 fans at AAMI Park leaves the reigning champions propping up the table – the only team to lose their opening two fixtures this season.

Perth got off to a flying start when Joel Chianese’s close-range strike gave them an eighth minute lead, an advantage doubled fifteen minutes later when Andy Keogh stole in to punish some static defending with a delightful lob of Melbourne ‘keeper Lawrence Thomas.

The home team sought a way back into the contest, but it wasn’t until two minutes into the second spell that Terry Antonis offered them a lifeline via a long-range strike which cannoned in off a post.

Close calls from Costa Barbarouses and Keisuke Honda – a superb Liam Reddy save denied him – followed, but Melbourne weren’t to be denied, Storm Roux heading in Honda’s corner with three minutes remaining.

A draw seemed certain, but three minutes from time Thomas denied a Chianese effort, only to look on in despair as Chris Ikonomidis steered home the rebound to delight the Western Australians, who are one of four teams on four points after two rounds.

The only other team to collect three points in this round was Sydney FC, who edged Western Sydney Wanderers 2-0 in front of 30,588 fans at the Sydney Cricket Ground, a derby marred by the curse of the competition, VAR.

Early goals in each half from Adam LeFondre and Alex Brosque proved the difference between the teams on the scoreboard, but how different things might have been had Roly Bonevacia’s strike on the hour been allowed to stand.

Instead, over-zealous officialdom once more incited ire, with former Liverpool defender and now WSW boss Markus Babbel incandescent with rage, earning himself a red card from referee Chris Beath for his furious response to the incorrect overruling.

Wests, for whom Oriol Riera and Bonevacia went close in the first half, continued to press despite the injustice, with Brandon O’Neill heading a Keanu Baccus header off the line before Jordan O’Doherty rattled the woodwork eight minutes from time.

Adelaide United and Newcastle Jets shared the spoils at Coopers Stadium, with the visitors having the better of the first half exchanges in this 1-1 draw. But it was United who went closest to breaking the deadlock, Craig Goodwin’s free-kick cannoning off the crossbar four minutes before the interval, then drawing a solid near post save from Glen Moss seconds later.

Seven minutes into the second spell, Newcastle finally got the goal their efforts merited when Ronny Vargas steered home Jason Hoffman’s cross in front of the 7,906-strong crowd. But within eleven minutes, Adelaide were level, Michael Marrone’s inch-perfect cross matched by Goodwin’s storming header.

Hoffman was denied a headed winner by Paul Izzo’s point-blank range save in the 68th minute, while after George Blackwood went close from distance, the United midfielder was cleaned out by Moss in a last-ditch aerial duel which left Blackwood with a broken shoulder.

15,129 fans saw Brisbane Roar and Wellington Phoenix battle out a scoreless draw at Suncorp Stadium, where defenders dominated proceedings at both ends of the park, no one more so than Steven Taylor, who contrived to hit the post for the visitors with the goal at his mercy in the ninth minute – the best chance of the match.

Just 7,144 fans converged on Central Coast Stadium to see the Mariners and Melbourne City battle out a 1-1 draw, where an early aerial collision between Matt Simon, Eugene Galekovic and Iakopo La Rocca, with the City duo left feeling the worse for wear afterwards.

Half-way through the half, Ross McCormack came back to haunt his old club by opening the scoring for the Mariners, and on the stroke of half-time he was only a flying save from Galekovic away from doubling it, via a free-kick.

The second spell saw City piling on the pressure, with strong penalty claims turned down as Cisse fouled Bruno Fornaroli, while Riley McGree and Rostyn Griffiths were both thwarted by Ben Kennedy, who was beaten seconds later as Dario Vidosic drilled home the rebound from close range.

Adelaide and Sydney contest the FFA Cup Final on Tuesday, three days before the Sky Blues travel to AAMI Park to take on Melbourne City. United, meanwhile, visit Central Coast on Sunday.

Saturday’s triple-header sees Wellington welcoming Western Sydney to Westpac Stadium, prior to the clash of Newcastle and Melbourne Victory at McDonald Jones Stadium. Wrapping things up is Perth’s encounter with Brisbane at NIB Stadium.

Match details:

Adelaide United FC 1 (C. Goodwin (63)) – Newcastle United Jets FC 1 (R. Vargas (52)); HT 0-0

Brisbane Roar FC 0 – Wellington Phoenix FC 0

Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (R. McCormack (21)) – Melbourne City FC 1 (D. Vidosic (84)); HT 1-0

Melbourne Victory FC 2 (T. Antonis (47), S. Roux (87)) – Perth Glory FC 3 (J. Chianese (8), A. Keogh (23), C. Ikonomidis (90)); HT 0-2

Sydney FC 2 (A. LeFondre (4), A. Brosque (53)) – Western Sydney Wanderers FC 0; HT 1-0

League Ladder:

W-League Season 11 – Round 1

Melbourne Victory FC 0 – Adelaide United FC 0

Canberra United FC 2 (Rhoda Mulaudzi 57′, Ellie Carpenter 85′) – Melbourne City FC 0

Brisbane Roar FC 1 (Carson Pickett 88′) – Perth Glory FC 1 (Alyssa Mautz 54′)

Western Sydney Wanderers FC 0 – Sydney FC (Caitlin Foord 13′, 76′, Chloe Logarzo 60′)

Newcastle United Jets FC – Bye