R4 Review: Home teams enjoy advantage in fourth round action

A-League Season 2013/2014 – Round 3 Review
by Jeremy Ruane
with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com

The fourth round of Hyundai A-League action was a good one for the home teams on the first weekend in November, with reigning champions Central Coast Mariners the only travelling side to snare as much as a point on the road.

Western Sydney Wanderers kicked off the weekend with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Adelaide United at Pirtek Stadium, where 16,279 fans saw the locals dominate the first half, only to come across Eugene Galekovic in fine form, as usual.

When Marcelo Carrusca broke the deadlock to reward a rare Adelaide raid with a goal nine minutes into the second half, a sense that it wasn’t to be the home team’s night began to materialise.

But it dissipated within six minutes as Tomi Juric turned the game on its head, following up his equaliser with a headed winner ten minutes from time to maintain Western Sydney’s unbeaten start to the campaign.

Controversy dominated Saturday’s action, with Perth Glory’s 1-0 win over Sydney FC arising from a penalty that should never have been awarded at NIB Stadium. Instead, an offside call against Perth’s Ryo Nagai should have been made in the ninth minute.

It wasn’t, however, leading to the striker being felled in the penalty area by Sydney goalkeeper Vedran Janjetevic. Cue a spot-kick, which Steven McGarry slotted home to ultimately settle a contest in which Sydney had plenty of opportunities to draw level in front of 10,613 fans.

Perth ‘keeper Danny Vukovic had other ideas, however, producing a string of saves to keep his team in front, a statement which can’t possibly apply to Central Coast Mariners’ custodian, Justin Pasfield, this week.

He was responsible for conceding the first own goal of the campaign, allowing a back-pass from Trent Sainsbury to roll under his feet and over the line as the reigning champions fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Newcastle Jets in a riveting F3 derby watched by 13,744 fans at Hunter Stadium.

After a tight first forty-five minutes, the floodgates opened six minutes into the second spell as Scott Neville prodded home Newcastle’s first goal in 457 minutes of play. And like buses, the second one wasn’t too far behind it – a mere six minutes elapsed before the aforementioned own goal put the home team on course for three points.

This is Newcastle, however, and like their English namesakes, the unusual is almost inevitable. Cue a superb save by Connor Chapman in the 64th minute – sadly, he’s a defender, and this was a cross from Central Coast’s Joshua Rose. Step forward Marcos Flores – 2-1 from the penalty spot via a twice-taken spot-kick.

That set up a grandstand derby finale, which Mile Sterjovski confirmed ten minutes from time to earn the visitors a share of the spoils, rifling home the rebound after a Flores effort had come back off the crossbar.

The lone Sunday affair saw league leaders Brisbane Roar hand Melbourne Heart a 3-0 hiding at Suncorp Stadium, where 15,011 fans witnessed all the scoring in the second spell after the first half had seen the visitors absolutely batter a beleaguered Brisbane side which was missing a number of key players through injury.

Step forward Henrique, who opened the scoring against the run of play three minutes into the second half, then doubled his team’s advantage seventeen minutes later. When Matthew Smith volleyed home Brisbane’s third goal thirteen minutes from time, Melbourne were left to wonder what might have been, while contemplating a sixteenth successive match since last savouring victory on the road.

A rare Monday night match wrapped up the round, with Melbourne Victory edging Wellington Phoenix 3-2 in front of 23,226 fans at Etihad Stadium, where the home team stormed to a three-goal lead inside 31 minutes.

Archie Thompson and, on two occasions, James Troisi – his second was an exquisite finish – set up the home team’s victory as Wellington’s defence collectively went missing in action. They had the proverbial shocker!

Remarkably, the visitors found a way back into the match before the interval, with Jeremy Brockie pulling a goal back, and Stein Huysegems being denied a second goal by the offside flag.

So, too, was Thompson just before the hour mark as the home team continued to find holes in Wellington’s rearguard, but the travelling team finished with a flourish, Paul Ifill setting up a grandstand finish five minutes from time. But Wellington were destined to remain winless in Melbourne, as their conquerors moved into the top three.

Next weekend’s action kicks off on Friday night with the clash of Melbourne Heart and Western Sydney at AAMI Park. On Saturday, a triple-header starts at AMI Stadium in Christchurch, where Wellington welcomes Perth.

Adelaide entertain Newcastle at Coopers Stadium, while Sydney and Melbourne Victory clash in the game of the round at Allianz Stadium to round out an entertaining evening of A-League action, with the clash of Central Coast and Brisbane on Sunday evening at Bluetongue Stadium wrapping up the fifth round of fixtures.

Match Details:
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (T. Juric (60, 80)) – Adelaide United FC 1 (M. Carrusca (54)); HT 0-0
Newcastle Jets FC 2 (S. Neville (51), “oggie” (57)) – Central Coast Mariners 2 (M. Flores (65 pen), M. Sterjovski (80)); HT 0-0
Perth Glory 1 (S. McGarry (9 pen)) – Sydney FC 0; HT 1-0
Brisbane Roar FC 3 (Henrique (48, 65), M. Smith (77)) – Melbourne Heart FC 0; HT 0-0
Melbourne Victory FC 3 (A. Thompson (9), J. Troisi (21, 31)) – Wellington Phoenix FC 2 (J. Brockie (37), P. Ifill (85)) HT 3-1

P W D L F A GD Pts
Brisbane Roar 4 3 0 1 9 2 +7 9
Western Sydney Wanderers 4 2 2 0 6 3 +3 8
Melbourne Victory 4 2 2 0 6 4 +2 8
Perth Glory 4 2 1 1 3 3 0 7
Central Coast Mariners 4 1 3 0 6 5 +1 6
Adelaide United 4 1 1 2 6 6 0 4
Newcastle Jets 4 0 3 1 2 4 -2 3
Sydney FC 4 1 0 3 2 7 -5 3
Wellington Phoenix 4 0 2 2 4 6 -2 2
Melbourne Heart 4 0 2 2 2 5 -3 2