Round 7 Review: Wellington Stun Sydney To Upstage Leading Duo

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

HAL 14 – Round 7 Review

Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory extended their advantage atop the Hyundai A-League on the second weekend in December, but it was the walloping Wellington Phoenix inflicted upon two-time reigning premiers Sydney FC which was the talking point of the competition’s seventh round of action.

10,101 fans looked on in stunned disbelief at Jubilee Stadium as the visitors tore Sydney apart – Wellington’s 3-1 win flattered their hosts, who were a distant third in this two-horse race.

The home team had a couple of chances – most notably to Adam LeFondre – before new New Zealand citizen Roy Krishna broke the deadlock with a clinical finish half-way through the first half, a goal he replicated ten minutes later, having been denied another in between times by Andrew Remayne.

Sydney’s ‘keeper was powerless to prevent Steven Taylor heading home Wellington’s third goal seven minutes before half-time, with Redmayne almost guilty of handing the visitors a fourth soon after the interval when his poor touch gave Nathan Burns a sniff of goal.

The home team were denied a goal in the first when the offside flag spared Andrew Durante’s blushes as Wellington’s captain put through his own net. But they bagged a consolation goal in the final minute as Michael Zullo struck, the only blemish on the day for the visitors’ coach, former Sydney captain Mark Rudan, who came back to haunt his former club big-time.

Perth retained top spot after seeing off Melbourne City 1-0 in front of 8,489 fans at NIB Stadium, where Chris Ikonomidis’ goal just before half-time proved decisive in contest which saw Tomislav Mrcela hit the crossbar with a header for the home side, whose victory was assured when City defender Curtis Good committed his second bookable offence ten minutes from time.

Melbourne Victory remain two points adrift of the unbeaten table-toppers after accounting for Adelaide United 2-0 in front of 20,629 fans at Marvel Stadium, where the visitors’ Michael Marrone was first to threaten with a crossbar-rattling header on the quarter hour.

Adelaide should have conceded a penalty half-way through the half when Scott Galloway inadvertently but clearly used his hand in controlling the ball in his area, but neither referee Shaun Evans nor the Video Assistant Referee – who must have had blinkers on not to see it! – were prepared to call the foul for what it should have been.

Both teams enjoyed further chances to score, but it was Melbourne who finally broke the deadlock just after the hour mark, Costa Barbarouses steering home the rebound after Paul Izzo had parried Ola Toivonen’s header.

Nineteen minutes from time, the Swede latching onto Terry Antonis’ back-heeled pass to beat Izzo at his near post and seal a 2-0 win for the reigning champions, who were made to work hard for the win by an Adelaide side which ensured Lawrence Thomas earned his clean sheet.

8,163 fans piled into Spotless Stadium to see Western Sydney Wanderers kick off the round by downing Central Coast Mariners 2-0, the result the beaten team’s fifth successive defeat, one which leaves them adrift of all-comers at the bottom of the table.

Kearyn Baccus’ ripping twenty-five yarder in first half stoppage time gave the home team the lead they deserved, with Jaushua Sotirio and Oriol Riera having gone close to breaking the deadlock earlier in the half.

The outcome was settled half-way through the second spell when another long-range strike, this time from Bruce Kamau, was parried by Ben Kennedy, who was unable to recover in time to prevent Sotirio from slipping the rebound under the ‘keeper to clinch the points for Wests over a Mariners team in desperate need of an about-face in fortunes.

Newcastle Jets and Brisbane Roar closed out the round on Sunday evening in front of 9,719 fans at McDonald Jones Stadium, with the home team prevailing 2-0 to end the round in a three-way tie for sixth place.

The visitors enjoyed the better of the early exchanges, with Glen Moss producing a stunning reflex save to deny Eric Bautheac before Bjorn Kristensen rattled the side-netting.

The home team gradually got a foothold in the contest, and made it count in first half stoppage time when Kaine Sheppard broke the deadlock with a goal from which Brisbane never recovered.

Within minutes of the second half starting, Ronald Vargas had hit the post for Newcastle, who doubled their advantage just shy of the hour mark through Jair, who enthusiastically celebrated a goal which ensured the home team of victory, one which Matthew Ridenton should have capped off in stoppage time, only to fall over the ball with the goal at his mercy.

This weekend’s action sees Brisbane and Melbourne Victory getting things under way at Suncorp Stadium on Friday evening, before Wellington welcome Central Coast to Westpac Stadium on Saturday night.

That’s followed by the Sydney derby, with Wests enjoying home advantage at ANZ Stadium, before two matches complete the round on Sunday evening. Newcastle host Perth at McDonald Jones Stadium before Adelaide and Melbourne City lock horns at Coopers Stadium in the final game of the round.

 

Match Details:

Melbourne Victory FC 2 (C. Barbarouses (62), O. Toivonen (81)) – Adelaide United FC 0; HT 0-0

Newcastle United Jets FC 2 (K. Sheppard (45), Jair (58)) – Brisbane Roar FC 0; HT 1-0

Perth Glory FC 1 (C. Ikonomidis (43)) – Melbourne City FC 0; HT 1-0

Sydney FC 1 (M. Zullo (89)) – Wellington Phoenix FC 3 (R. Krishna (21, 30), S. Taylor (38)); HT 0-3

Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (K. Baccus (45), J. Sotirio (68)) – Central Coast Mariners FC 0; HT 1-0

League Ladder:

https://www.a-league.com.au/ladder
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W-League Season 11

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