Round 4 Review: Perth Take Outright Lead In A-League

by Jeremy Ruane
with the compliments of

HAL 14 – Round 4 Review

Perth Glory took the outright lead in the Hyundai A-League on Armistice Day, seeing off Adelaide United 2-0 in front of 9,705 fans at Coopers Stadium to take full advantage of Sydney FC’s stumble as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Newcastle Jets.

Joel Chianese thumped a twelfth minute shot against the crossbar for the visitors before Liam Reddy somehow got away with tripping Ben Halloran four minutes later, having made a meal of a back-pass.

Apostolos Stamatelopoulos came desperately close to converting a Craig Goodwin cross early in the second spell as Adelaide sought to break the deadlock, but that honour was afforded Andy Keogh seventeen minutes from time, the striker turning home the rebound after Alex Grant’s header, from a Neil Kilkenny corner, was superbly saved by Paul Izzo.

United’s ‘keeper was in action again soon afterwards, denying Keogh in a one-on-one opportunity, while he made a fabulous tip-over save to prevent Jordan Elsey from conceding an own goal in stoppage time.

But Perth had made the game safe moments beforehand, Chris Ikonomidis and Fabio Ferreira working a one-two which saw the former wheel away in delight as Perth soared to the top rung on the table.

They enjoy the outright lead thanks to Nick Cowburn’s late equaliser for Newcastle, as they held Sydney to a 1-1 draw in front of 11,415 fans at McDonald Jones Stadium, where Alex Brosque headed home a Rhyan Grant cross in the twentieth minute, soon after Adam Le Fondre had gone close to breaking the deadlock.

Milos Ninkovic was denied by a splendid Glen Moss save half-way through the second spell as Sydney looked to consolidate their advantage, while Newcastle’s ‘keeper prevented the visitors from pinching the points in stoppage time, denying Charles Ngoy in a one-on-one situation.

The Melbourne teams occupy third and fourth spots on the ladder, City comfortably prevailing 2-0 over Wellington Phoenix in front of 6410 fans at AAMI Park, where Ritchie de Laet’s thumping twenty-five yarder effectively settled the contest in just the ninth minute.

Wellington’s lack of attacking ambition was evident throughout this match, with Sarpreet Singh’s 27th minute free-kick their only attempt of consequence, one well saved by Eugene Galekovic.

Kearyn Baccus went desperately close to doubling City’s lead with a thunderbolt just prior to that effort, while Bruno Fornaroli achieved that feat on the hour mark after working a one-two with Riley McGree. Dario Vidosic went close with a free-kick late in the contest, a relatively routine one for the home team against a side which has now gone three games without scoring.

That sort of statistic is unheard of at Melbourne Victory, and the reigning champions underlined the fact by thrashing Central Coast Mariners 4-1 at the same venue on Sunday evening, where 16,508 fans saw Ben Kennedy produce a string of saves to keep the score down long before the deadlock was broken.

Keisuke Honda did that on the half-hour, moments after Costa Barbarouses had been denied the opening goal by the offside flag. 1-0 became 2-0 shortly after when James Troisi struck, while the contest was as good as over on the stroke of half-time, as Corey Brown netted Melbourne’s third.

Central Coast came out with far greater intent in the second spell, and were rewarded just after the hour mark when Mario Shabow pulled a goal back for the cellar-dwellers.

Melbourne’s response saw Kennedy tip an effort from Georg Niedermeier onto the post before Joshua Hope wrapped things up with a stoppage time strike to re-establish the home team’s three goal advantage.

The Glen Willow Sporting Field in Mudgee became the latest to host A-League football in this round, and those present witnessed Brisbane Roar come from two goals down to hold Western Sydney Wanderers to a 2-2 draw.

Bruce Kamau’s early work – he hit the post, then earned a penalty – earned goals for Oriol Riera inside the first seventeen minutes. He fired home the rebound with his tenth minute effort, then squeezed home the rebound after seeing his penalty saved by Jamie Young, who was later the victim of racial abuse by a “fan” whom security wasted little time in evicting from the venue.

Young produced another fine save to deny Jordan O’Doherty, before Alex Lopez gave Brisbane a lifeline when firing in off a post from twenty-five yards eight minutes before half-time.

Three minutes into the second half, Adam Taggart brought about parity from the penalty spot, but Wests came desperately close to winning it ten minutes from time, substitute Jaushua Sotirio curling a long-range effort against the far post.

A-League action takes a week off due to the international window, but returns on 23 November when Wests and Newcastle clash at Spotless Stadium. Saturday’s fare sees Wellington and Adelaide clashing at “The Caketin”, prior to Brisbane welcoming Melbourne City to Suncorp Stadium.

Two games on Sunday evening wrap up the round, with the battle of Sydney and Melbourne Victory at Jubilee Stadium followed by what is surely a home banker as Perth welcome Central Coast to NIB Stadium.

Match Details:

Adelaide United FC 0 – Perth Glory FC 2 (A. Keogh (73), C. Ikonomidis (90)); HT 0-0

Melbourne City FC 2 (R. de Laet (9), B. Fornaroli (59)) – Wellington Phoenix FC 0; HT 1-0

Melbourne Victory FC 4 (K. Honda (30), J. Troisi (35), C. Brown (45), J. Hope (90)) – Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (M. Shabow (62)); HT 3-0

Newcastle United Jets FC 1 (N. Cowburn (87)) – Sydney FC 1 (A. Brosque (20)); HT 0-1

Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (O. Riera (10, 17)) – Brisbane Roar FC 2 (A. Lopez (37), A. Taggart (48 pen)); HT 2-1

League Ladder:
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