A League - Week 16 Review

Wed, Feb 11 2015


Newcastle Jets continue to reform their squad as the turmoil continues at the club with more players coming and going. So a new look Jets hosted Brisbane Roar at Hunter Stadium hoping for a fresh beginning. Sadly for them it ended in another defeat this time 2-1 but they will have at least rescued a little bit of pride in the shirt with a hard working performance that just about deserved a point.


Jets missed a gilt edged chance to open their account  in the second minute when Ecuadorian striker Edson Montano hit the bar from six yards with a free header from an Andrew Hoole left wing cross. Roar did open the scoring in the thirty fifth minute when a left wing corner from Thomas Broich eluded a poor effort from Jets keeper Ben Kennedy to land on the foot of Jean Carlos Solarzano to flick home from four yards out.


It was the Costa Rican striker’s fourth league goal this season which have all come in the last five Roar games.  Either side of half time Roar keeper  Michael Theo denied Jets midfielder Mitch Cooper with two good saves but the Jets weren’t to be denied and equalised when young substitute striker Radovan Pavicevic scored in the seventy second minute.


Ben Kantarovski sprayed an attempted fifty yard pass in the direction of Pavicevic, it deflected up through an attempted interception by Matt McKay which only helped the young striker take it past the Roar left back Corey Brown and Theo before slotting home from twelve yards. Ninety third minute heartbreak was to come for the Jets though when Solarzano was pulled down in the outside left channel just outside the box by Scott Neville.


While waiting for the free kick to come in, in defiance of the age old maxim about substitutions and defending the Jets coach took off Neville and threw Allan Welsh on to defend the set piece. Broich swung in the set piece low and a stretching Welsh just got a toe to it to deflect the ball into the corner, one touch one goal the man is deadly, shame it was in his own net. Roar are now breathing down the neck of Melbourne City and will harbour ambitions to be finishing in the top six come the end of the season to qualify for finals football.


Central Coast Mariners taking on Adelaide United were next up, nice easy one on the fixed odds coupon, Mariners got stuffed last week and United scored seven, just goes to show how little I know as the Mariners ran out 2-1 winners at Central Coast Stadium.


A dominant Adelaide scored first through Awer Mabil in the twenty ninth minute, Sergio Cirio worked space nicely on the right to cross low to the outer reaches of the box, Mabil controlled the cross which was behind him and turned in one fluid movement before slamming home left footed. Further chances came and went for the Reds through Osama Malik and Pablo Sanchez before Mariners shocked everyone and got back on level terms in the seventy ninth minute.


Nick Fitzgerald scuffed a shot towards the Adelaide goal, the ball bounced up and struck the trailing arm of Michael Marrone for the award of a spot kick. Fitzgerald accepted the responsibility himself and although Eugene Galekovic saved the initial effort Fitzgerald reacted quickest to squeeze the rebound between the keeper’s legs and into the net.


The trip to Gosford got even worse for Adelaide just four minutes later when Mitchell Duke held the ball up well on the edge of the box, his beautifully weighted cross to the far post was taken on the run by Josh Rose to ram home from eight yards and steal the points for the home team. This will be the last that Mariners fans see of young striker Duke as he has headed off to sign for J League side Shimizu S Pulse.


The Melbourne derby provided the next instalment of excitement were forty thousand fans packed into the Etihad stadium to watch. Victory came out on top with a 3-0 win to close the gap at the top of the league to just one point.


Victory began the game well and were a whisker away from opening the scoring early on when a low cross from Fahid Ben Khalfallah just eluded the finishing touch of Besart Berisha. They went one step further in the tenth minute when Leigh Broxham intercepted in midfield his ball to Kosta Barbarouses sent the attacker free through the inside right channel, who squared to Berisha to finish from six yards.


Victory were intent on making their advantage count and were denied a ball to hand penalty claim when a Carl Valeri effort came off the arm of Jack Clisby just four minutes after the opener. Damien Duff had City’s best chance in the last minute of the half when he turned onto his left but saw his shot deflected over and wide by Adrian Leijer.


Victory added their second just eight minutes in to the second period, Barbarouses earned a free kick near the right corner flag Gui Finkler played it in low to the near post and Barbarouses side foot half volleyed the ball home with exquisite skill from the corner of the six yard box. Nine minutes later it was all over bar the shouting as Victory claimed a third.


Eager work in midfield by Valeri & Barbarouses saw Berisha played in behind the City backline wide right, he squared to Khalfallah on the edge of the box who rolled home first time. Josh Kennedy nearly snatched a consolation for City at the death but he was denied by the feet of Victory custodian Nathan Coe.


Sydney FC travelled to Perth to take on league leaders Glory at Nib Stadium, saw two players sent off but still managed to come away with a vital 3-1 win. Sydney opened the scoring on the half hour mark, Alex Brosque found Bernie Ibini wide left he returned the ball to allow Brosque to run on into the box where the hands of Glory defender Dragan Paljic on Brosques shoulder allowed him to go down to win a penalty.


Austrian striker Marc Janko powerfully struck home the spot kick into the roof of the net giving Danny Vukovic in the Glory goal no chance. Five minutes later the disciplinary record of both clubs took a turn for the worse. A forty yard free kick for Glory was swung harmlessly in to the box, as the ball was cleared Dino Djulbic and Jacques Faty had a wrestle on the ground and then offered each other advice as to the veracity of their parentage as well as a little game of push and shove when they recovered their feet.


The ref saw enough in this to send both players off much to the amazement of the protagonists. Sydney earned their second spot kick and goal in the sixty ninth minute a Nikola Petkovic ball down the outside left was crossed to the penalty spot by Brosque to Janko, Perth defender Denis Kramer put his hands on the shoulders of the Austrian skipper and you can guess the rest. Milos Dimitrijevic took on the responsibility and found the top left corner with no problems.


Two minutes later Petkovic collected his second yellow for a handball offence and like the great white sharks circling off of the WA beaches Glory sniffed blood.  It took just two minutes to get a goal back when Scott Jamieson floated a free kick to the far post, Michael Thwaite headed back in to the six yard box, his effort was blocked but fell to Kramer to slide home from close range. All set for the inevitable Glory comeback and last minute equaliser but the Sky Blues hadn’t read the script and sealed the game in the eighty ninth minute. 


Bernie Ibini took possession of the ball just outside his own box beat two Perth men wide right before beating Thwaite to the loose ball. Still forty yards from goal, the young striker’s lazy stride ate up the ground and although Vukovic saved the initial effort the ball popped up nicely for Ibini to head home past a despairing and breathless Thwaite on the line. So the Glory lead at the top of the ladder is down to one point and with Victory having a far superior goal difference they can afford no more slip ups.


Stop the clocks, mark a circle on the calendar, one of those JFK, 9/11 where were you when moments occurred at Sportingbet Stadium, Penrith as at the fourteenth time of asking this season Western Sydney Wanderers finally won a league match.


They defeated Wellington Phoenix 2-0 to finally shed the hoodoo and will hope their league season can kick into gear at last. Nikita Rukavytsya notched a rare goal in the eighteenth minute Labinot Haliti threw over a left wing cross to the edge of the box, Mateo Poljak headed down to Rukavytsya who turned and smashed home left footed from twelve yards. Phoenix saw plenty of ball and had chances to equalise but couldn’t get on the scoresheet no matter what they tried.


The inevitable happened in the ninety first minute when they were caught on the break for the deciding goal. Nick Kalmar was played into space down the wide right, his clever change of direction took him past the attendant Nix defenders to allow him to square to the unmarked Brendon Santalab on the penalty spot to roll to the corner of the net.


What have we learned?

That every dog has his day and this week that dog was clad in the red and black of Western Sydney Wanderers.


Next A League fixtures

Central Coast Mariners v Brisbane Roar

Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne City

Newcastle Jets v Western Sydney Wanderers

Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory

Adelaide United v Perth Glory