HAL Review Round 8: Top Two Maintain Winning Ways

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

 

HAL 14 – Round 8 Review

It’s as you were heading into Christmas at the top of the Hyundai A-League ladder, after Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory once more recorded victories in the last complete round of fixtures before the festive season commences.

Melbourne Victory and Brisbane Roar produced one of the most remarkable first halves of football in A-League history at Suncorp Stadium, where the 10,289 fans present witnessed six goals and a red card – far from your average first half fare, that’s for sure!

It was all on from the first whistle, with Brisbane thrice being denied inside the first minute by Melbourne goal-line clearances, to which the visitors responded by opening the scoring through Costa Barbarouses after thirteen minutes.

Cue Eric Bautheac’s rush of blood, as he committed a wild challenge on Corey Brown before getting involved in a skirmish immediately afterwards – two bookable offences as far as referee Adam Fielding was concerned, although the tackle itself probably merited a straight red.

Despite being numerically challenged, Brisbane drew level from the penalty spot just shy of the half-hour mark through Adam Taggart. But Melbourne were swift to make their extra man count, Ola Toivonen restoring their advantage.

Five minutes before half-time, Keisuke Honda made it 3-1 from the penalty spot before Toivonen put through his own net when attempting to head a free-kick to safety. But on the stroke of half-time, Barbarouses wrapped up the scoring – the second spell was far less lively – to give Melbourne the league lead for 48 hours.

They were forced to relinquish as Perth Glory maintained their unbeaten start to the season by overcoming Newcastle Jets 2-0 in front of x fans at McDonald Jones Stadium, where the visitors got off to a flying start thanks to Neil Kilkenny’s third minute penalty.

However, they could just as easily have been trailing after fourteen seconds, with Jair denied by Liam Reddy, who was beaten all ends up by the Brazilian’s thumping header on the quarter hour, only for the far post to come to his rescue.

Perth’s ‘keeper made further saves from Jair and Jason Hoffman before half-time, but it was a spilled ball by his opposite number, Glen Moss, which presented Jason Davidson with the chance to hook home the visitors’ second goal in the 25th minute.

Newcastle strove to reduce the deficit throughout the second spell, but couldn’t find a way past Reddy, whose exploits ensured Perth of an eighth successive match without defeat.

Sydney FC lead the pursuit of the leading pair, coming from behind to down ten-man Western Sydney Wanderers 3-1 in front of 18,043 rain-soaked fans at ANZ Stadium, where lightning strikes in the general area forced a delay to the kick-off.

Wests took a deserved lead half-way through the first half when Oriol Riera headed home, but things then went pear-shaped for Wanderers, goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic earning himself a red card for handling the ball outside his area when tipping an Adam Le Fondre shot to safety.

With the numerical advantage, Sydney soon got on top, and they drew level on the stroke of half-time when Alex Brosque stabbed home the rebound after Josh Brillante’s shot had hit the post.

There was no way back for Wests once Siem de Jong gave Sydney the lead just before the hour mark, and the points were made safe ten minutes from time by debutant Jacob Tratt’s thumping header, a goal which extended the victors’ remarkable streak in these derbies, Sydney having lost just one of the fifteen encounters to date.

Melbourne City climbed above Adelaide United into fourth spot after winning 2-0 at Coopers Stadium on Sunday evening, with Jordan Elsey’s own goal half-way through the first half coming somewhat against the run of play to that point.

Craig Goodwin should have at least hit the target with his header from right in front in the shadows of the half-time whistle, but United were left facing a mountain to climb when Luke Brattan buried City’s second goal five minutes into the second spell.

Adelaide pressed on in an effort to cut the deficit, but found Eugene Galekovic in unbeatable form – one save in particular, from a Scott Galloway piledriver, was a reflex stop of the highest order.

Uninspiring fare was the order of the day at Westpac Stadium, where 6,970 fans saw Wellington Phoenix ease past a toothless Central Coast Mariners combination 2-0, thanks to a ninth minute strike from Louis Fenton and a Sarpreet Singh tap-in on the stroke of half-time in a match which the home team were little troubled – the fact it took Coast eighty minutes to get their first shot on target speaks volumes.

The Christmas round of action kicks off on Friday night with Perth and Sydney meeting at NIB Stadium. Then on Saturday night, Wellington welcome Brisbane Roar to Westpac Stadium prior to the Melbourne derby at AAMI Park – City host this one.

Central Coast and Newcastle meet at Central Coast Stadium on Sunday evening, while the round concludes on Boxing Day as Adelaide and Western Sydney lock horns at Coopers Stadium.

As this is the last round review before the festive season, I’ll take this opportunity to wish all site visitors a Merry Christmas.

Match Details:

Adelaide United FC 0 – Melbourne City FC 2 (“oggie” (25), L. Brattan (50)); HT 0-1

Brisbane Roar FC 2 (A. Taggart (28 pen), “oggie” (42)) – Melbourne Victory FC 4 (C. Barbarouses (13, 45), O. Toivonen (32), K. Honda (40 pen)); HT 2-4

Newcastle United Jets FC 0 – Perth Glory FC 2 (N. Kilkenny (3), J. Davidson (25)); HT 0-2

Wellington Phoenix FC 2 (L. Fenton (9), S. Singh (45)) – Central Coast Mariners FC 0; HT 2-0

Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 (O. Riera (23)) – Sydney FC 3 (A. Brosque (45), S. De Jong (57), J. Tratt (81)); HT 1-1

League Ladder:
https://www.a-league.com.au/ladder

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W-League Season 11

Results Round 7 (short round)

https://www.w-league.com.au/fixtures#!/results/s2018/r7

Ladder

https://www.w-league.com.au/ladder

Y-League Season

Results
https://www.y-league.com.au/