Round 12 Review: Perth Six Points clear after stunning comeback

by Jeremy Ruane:
with the compliments of

HAL 14 – Round 12 Review
Perth Glory stormed six points clear in the Hyundai A-League on January 13 after producing one of the all-time-great comebacks to overcome Western Sydney Wanderers 4-3 at HBF Park in the final game of a busy week of league action.

Two goals in three minutes halfway through the first half at Coopers Stadium in front of 12,115 fans on Wednesday evening saw Adelaide United stun Melbourne Victory 2-0, thus ending the visitors’ nine-game unbeaten run.

Craig Goodwin and Ken Ilso did the damage on the scoreboard for United, who were once again greatly served by the exploits of goalkeeper Paul Izzo. He produced a superb one-handed save to keep out an Ola Toivonen free-kick, then thwarted Costa Barbarouses in a one-on-one situation before relying on the crossbar to deny a Terry Antonis effort.

Adelaide had further chances to increase their margin of victory through Ben Halloran and Nikola Mileusnic, but Lawrence Thomas’ efforts kept the title-holders in contention, although time and those two early goals were their enemy in the end.

That result gave Perth Glory the chance to open up a six-point lead at the top of the table, one they duly took in style when putting Sydney FC to the sword 3-1 at HBF Park, where 9,521 fans saw the league leaders storm to a three-goal lead by half-time.

Two Joel Chianese goals in eleven minutes were supplemented by Brendon Santalab’s strike on the stroke of half-time as the former Sydney stars came back to haunt their old club, who only had a top corner special from Adam Le Fondre halfway through the second spell to remember this fixture by.

Wellington Phoenix have enjoyed a terrific week, winning both their matches by a 3-2 scoreline, but in starkly contrasting fashion. On Tuesday, 7,288 fans saw them prevail over Western Sydney Wanderers at ANZ Stadium, where the game was lit up by three goals in the last ten minutes.

Wests saw two of their stars, Alexander Baumjohann and Oriol Riera, succumb to first half injuries, and also had a penalty claim overturned by the Video Assistant Referee on the quarter hour, much to the chagrin of Bruce Kamau.

Wellington responded well to this scare, and after Roy Krishna had hit the post, Louis Fenton opened the scoring broke the deadlock nine minutes before half-time, only for Brendan Hamill to head home the equaliser six minutes later, beating Filip Kurto in the air.

The goalkeeper made amends with a fine save when one-on-one with Kwame Yeboah ten minutes from time, after which all hell broke loose, with Krishna firing into an empty net after rounding Vedran Janjetovic before heading home a superb last-minute winner after Keanu Baccus had once more restored parity for the home side.

The Wellingtonians carried that winning form back to Westpac Stadium, where, in front of a season-high crowd numbering some 10,186 fans, they came from two goals down to beat bottom-placed Central Coast Mariners on the occasion of captain Andrew Durante’s 300th A-League appearance.

It looked like the visitors were intent on spoiling the party early doors, Matt Simon’s penalty and Andrew Hoole’s piledriver putting Central Coast two goals to the good half-way through the first spell.

But the straight red card earned by Mariners defender Kye Rowles inside the first minute of the second spell changed the game, with Krishna potting the first of two penalties in ten minutes before David Williams won the match with a 65th minute piledriver.

The ten men came within an offside call of equalising in the dying minutes, however, Jordan Murray’s strike being chalked off to leave the cellar-dwellers contemplating a tenth straight loss as Wellington celebrated a club record eighth successive game without defeat.

In contrast, Brisbane Roar have now gone a club record eight successive matches without winning after slumping to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Melbourne City, a match watched by 6,348 fans at AAMI Park.

Jamie Young’s resistance – he made a string of fine saves either side of the goal – was finally broken when Ritchie de Laet struck early in the second spell of a contest in which both Lachlan Wales and Brisbane’s Adam Taggart had goals ruled out by the offside flag.

Twenty-four hours later at the same venue, Melbourne Victory returned to winning ways in front of 16,694 fans, with Newcastle Jets downed 2-1 by the title-holders, who took until the third minute of the second spell to find a way through.

Terry Antonis led the celebrations, and they would have been short-lived but for Lawrence Thomas’ superb save to foil Daniel Georgievski soon afterwards. Jair then missed a sitter before Kaine Sheppard levelled the scores with his second attempt twelve minutes from time.

Melbourne came again, however, James Troisi finding the top near corner from the most acute of angles six minutes from time to clinch the points for the champions, who remain in a share of second spot with Sydney FC, 2-1 victors over Adelaide United in front of 11,560 fans at Jubilee Stadium.

Siem de Jong’s spanking free-kick gave Sydney the edge inside the opening quarter hour, while Jacob Tratt doubled their advantage soon after the interval. Straight away, Craig Goodwin dragged United back into it from the penalty spot, but a stunning save late on by birthday boy Andrew Redmayne denied Ryan Kitto a certain equaliser and kept the home team’s noses in front till the end.

So to the final game of the round at HBF Park, where 8,945 fans piled in to see Perth restore their six-point advantage atop the table, but not before they had been given an almighty scare by a Western Sydney Wanderers side which ignored the form guide.

After weathering early Perth pressure, the visitors began to test Liam Reddy, and eventually found a way past him six minutes before half-time through Kwame Yeboah.

When Roly Bonevacia doubled Wests’ lead halfway through the second spell, a massive upset was on the cards, but half-time substitute Diego Castro halved the deficit virtually straight away to set up a lively last twenty minutes.

Wests were far from done with, and restored their two-goal cushion thirteen minutes from time through Abraham Majok to leave the league leaders with a mountain to climb.

It took them just nine minutes to scale it, with Ivan Franjic, Andy Keogh and Juande – via a controversial penalty awarded by referee Kurt Ams – scoring the goals which earned Perth a massive come-from-behind victory and restored their six-point advantage atop the standings.

Both Melbourne teams are on the road in the two midweek matches scheduled this week, with Brisbane welcoming the reigning champions to Suncorp Stadium on Tuesday, twenty-fours before Central Coast and City lock horns at Central Coast Stadium.

Fourteenth round action commences on Friday at ANZ Stadium with the clash between Western Sydney and Adelaide, while twenty-four hours later, Sydney and Newcastle meet at Jubilee Stadium prior to the AAMI Park encounter between Melbourne City and Perth.

Sunday’s fare sees Melbourne Victory and Wellington going hammer and tongs at the same venue, while Central Coast Stadium hosts its second match in five days as Brisbane turn up to take on the Mariners in a genuine battle for bottom spot.

Match Details:

Adelaide United FC 2 (C. Goodwin (18), K. Ilso (21)) – Melbourne Victory FC 0; HT 2-0

Perth Glory FC 3 (J. Chianese (13, 24), B. Santalab (45)) – Sydney FC 1 (A. Le Fondre (68)); HT 3-0

Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (B. Hamill (42), K. Baccus (84)) – Wellington Phoenix FC 3 (L. Fenton (36), R. Krishna (82, 89)); HT 1-1

Melbourne City FC 1 (R. de Laet (52)) – Brisbane Roar FC 0; HT 0-0

Melbourne Victory FC 2 (T. Antonis (48), J. Troisi (84)) – Newcastle United Jets FC 1 (K. Sheppard (78)); HT 0-0

Perth Glory FC 4 (D. Castro (70), I. Franjic (79), A. Keogh (82), Juande (86 pen)) – Western Sydney Wanderers FC 3 (K. Yeboah (39), R. Bonevacia (67), A. Majok (77)); HT 0-1

Sydney FC 2 (S. de Jong (13), J. Tratt (48)) – Adelaide United FC 1 (C. Goodwin (50 pen)); HT 1-0

Wellington Phoenix FC 3 (R. Krishna (48 pen, 58 pen), D. Williams (65)) – Central Coast Mariners FC 2 (M. Simon (9 pen), A. Hoole (21)); HT 0-2

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