Round 14 Review: Central Coast End Their Winless Streak

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

HAL 14 – Round 14 Review

The biggest cheers in the Hyundai A-League this week emerged from Central Coast Stadium, where 4,103 fans saw Central Coast Mariners avoid entering A-League ignominy by overcoming Melbourne City 2-1 to record their first win this season and bring to a welcome end a ten-match losing streak – defeat in this match would have seen Central Coast equal the eleven-match record set by the NZ Knights in 2005.

Connor Pain drilled home the opener for the home team just after the half-hour mark, but after Ben Kennedy had turned away Rostyn Griffiths’ missile half-way through the second half, Lachlan Wales headed home the leveller thirteen minutes from time.

Central Coast weren’t to be denied, however. Matt Simon had earlier been thwarted by Eugene Galekovic’s save on the line, and the ‘keeper foiled him again from the penalty spot late on. But Simon followed up to drill home the winner, although City went desperately close to levelling again in stoppage time, Kennedy producing a superb reflex save to keep out Florin Berengeur’s flying header.

City looked to bounce back from that shock loss against league leaders Perth Glory at AAMI Park, but the 6,055 fans who turned up were treated to a drab goalless draw which spawned very few openings.

That was good news for City’s cross-town rivals, Melbourne Victory, who reduced the gap at the top of the table during the week by battering Brisbane Roar 5-0 in front of 7,131 fans at Suncorp Stadium.

Ola Toivonen gave them the lead on the quarter hour, but Brisbane should have at least drawn level before the break, with both Eric Bautheac and Adam Taggart being denied by sound Lawrence Thomas saves.

Everything went pear-shaped for Brisbane after the interval, however, a handball offence presenting Costa Barbarouses with the chance to score the first goal of his hat-trick from the penalty spot.

The All White went on to claim the match ball with two more goals against his old club inside the last eighteen minutes, after Storm Roux had headed the visitors into an unassailable lead en route to Melbourne’s biggest ever win over Brisbane.

The reigning champions were unable to close to within a point of the leaders, however, after being held to a 3-3 draw in front of 18,136 fans at AAMI Park by a Wellington Phoenix side which has now gone nine games unbeaten, and came from behind to lead 3-1 at half-time.

Having found themselves trailing to Toivonen’s well-taken strike in the fifth minute, Wellington wasted no time in turning things round, with David Williams taking just two minutes to level the scores before Roy Krishna became the first player in A-League history to score two goals in three consecutive matches when following up his twentieth minute penalty with another goal eight minutes later.

There were further chances for goals at both ends of the park before half-time, but eleven minutes into the second spell, James Troisi halved the deficit for Melbourne, for whom Terry Antonis hit the post nine minutes later.

A rip-roaring finale was looming, with Melbourne piling on the pressure, all the time mindful that Wellington’s potent counter-attacking threat could end their hopes of at least a share of the spoils at any time.

The home team got their reward with two minutes remaining, however, Barbarouses volleying home the equaliser to ensure these well-matched sides were both rewarded for their respective contributions to a cracking contest.

Sydney FC also pruned Perth’s lead by a couple of points after a Nigel Boogaard own goal on the stroke of half-time gave the home team a 1-0 win over Newcastle Jets in front of 12,681 fans at Jubilee Stadium.

Glen Moss and Andrew Redmayne both produced spectacular tip-over saves to prevent Adam Le Fondre and Jair from breaking the deadlock inside the first half-hour of play, before Boogaard had the misfortune to turn the ball into his own net when attempting to cut out a Brandon O’Neill cross intended for Alex Brosque.

O’Neill went close with a grasscutter halfway through the second spell before Jason Hoffman’s dismissal for retaliation killed off any hopes Newcastle held of restoring parity.

Instead, they should have lost by at least two goals, but Le Fondre somehow contrived to shoot straight at Moss from six yards with the goal at his mercy late in the contest, a most uncharacteristic finish from this season’s foremost marksman.

Adelaide United remain well ensconced in the play-off placings after overcoming Western Sydney Wanderers 2-1 at ANZ Stadium, where 7,104 fans saw Vince Lia open the scoring for the visitors with an eighth minute thunderbolt.

Jaushua Sotirio was prevented by Paul Izzo from levelling the scores before half-time, but Roly Bonevacia achieved the feat four minutes after the interval via an inch-perfect free-kick from the edge of the penalty area.

Craig Goodwin restored Adelaide’s lead half-way through the second spell, although neither the match officials nor the Video Assistant Referee picked up on the fact Nikola Mileusnic was offside when he was released down the right to deliver the cross from which the game’s decisive goal resulted.

Goodwin was denied in fine style late on by Nick Suman as he looked to put the result beyond doubt, but Adelaide had already done enough to subject the home team to a fifth successive defeat, which equals Western Sydney’s club record.

The final match of the round saw the bottom two teams playing in front of 4,873 fans at Central Coast Stadium, where the resurgent Mariners were held to a 1-1 draw by Brisbane Roar, for whom Luke De Vere’s first half stoppage time equaliser pegged back Matt Millar’s third minute opener for the home side, who fancied their chances of scoring a second successive win and leapfrogging their opponents on the table.

They would have done, too, but for a couple of stunning Jamie Young saves in the second half which thwarted the efforts of Mario Shabow and Jacob Melling. That said, Brisbane could have pinched it at the death, had Ben Kennedy not produced a sharp stop to deny substitute Dylan Wenzel-Halls.

Fifteenth round action concludes in midweek with four matches scheduled. City and Wests square up at AAMI Park on Tuesday, twenty-four hours before a triple-header Wednesday kicks off with Wellington welcoming Sydney to Westpac Stadium.

Newcastle and Central Coast clash at McDonald Jones Stadium prior to the final game of the round at HBF Park, where Perth and Adelaide will do battle and bring the midweek action to an end.

On Friday night, Brisbane and Wests meet at Suncorp Stadium to commence the Australian Anniversary Weekend round of action, the highlight of which sees Melbourne Victory and Sydney locking horns at AAMI Park on Saturday evening.

Earlier that night, Wellington and Melbourne City meet at Westpac Stadium, while on Sunday night, Adelaide and Central Coast clash at Coopers Stadium prior to Perth’s duel with Newcastle at HBF Park.

Match Details:

Brisbane Roar FC 0 – Melbourne Victory FC 5 (O. Toivonen (14), C. Barbarouses (48 pen, 72, 87), S. Roux (65)); HT 0-1

Central Coast Mariners FC 2 (C. Pain (32), M. Simon (89)) – Melbourne City 1 (L. Wales (77)); HT 1-0

Melbourne City FC 0 – Perth Glory FC 0

Melbourne Victory FC 3 (O. Toivonen (5), J. Troisi (56), C. Barbarouses (88)) – Wellington Phoenix FC 3 (D. Williams (7), R. Krishna (20 pen, 28)); HT 1-3

Sydney FC 1 (“oggie” (44)) – Newcastle Jets FC 0; HT 1-0

Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 (R. Bonevacia (49)) – Adelaide United FC 2 (V. Lia (8), C. Goodwin (66)); HT 0-1

Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (M., Millar (3)) – Brisbane Roar FC 1 (L. De Vere (45)); HT 1-1

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