Free scoring and bang in form Sydney FC opened the weekend’s fixtures when they hosted Melbourne City at the Allianz Stadium in front of just shy of twelve thousand spectators.
City haven’t been travelling well of late so of course sods law dictated that they should win 1-0 with a goal from midfielder James Brown. Sydney will be wondering how the hell they didn’t get a win from this match they struck the woodwork twice first through Marc Janko in the tenth minute and Bernie Ibini in the sixty fourth.
They also had a very presentable shout for a penalty on forty minutes when Janko advanced to the edge of the box and knocked the ball out of his feet and probably out of play just before Patrick Kisnorbo hauled him down.
The ref gave a corner so obviously thought that the centre half cleared the ball before he hauled down Janko but you’d see those decisions given to the striker nine times out of ten. City nearly sneaked an opener at the end of the first half when Robert Koren poked an effort at goal but Vedran Janjetovic tipped the ball on to the bar.
Brown’s goal was made by a lovely ball from the left by Aaron Mooy to the feet of his fellow midfielder as he burst behind the Sky Blues backline, he kept his nerve to round Janjetovic and rolled home. Massimo Murdocca curled just wide in the ninetieth minute but a second City goal would have been unfair on Sydney.
Sydney remain in third while City have opened up a five point gap over Brisbane in their mini league for sixth spot in the league.
Newcastle Jets raised a few eyebrows in their basement battle with Western Sydney Wanderers when they claimed a 2-1 away win at Pirtek Stadium.
Wanderers coach Tony Popovic could perhaps be charged with aiding and abetting as he named an inexperienced team to take on Newcastle. His argument would be that due to the heavy workload that Wanderers have faced he had to rotate his squad but ultimately his decision cost him. Andrew Hoole got in behind the Wanderers backline after just fourteen seconds but pulled his shot wide of the far post.
On twelve minutes Yianni Pekartis sent Josh Sotirio free through the inside left channel with his effort from eighteen yards finishing just the wrong side of the post. The visitors edged ahead in the twenty second minute, Ecuadorian striker Edson Montano played Serbian strike partner Enver Alivodic in behind the Wanderers backline, keeper Ante Covic came out to try to intercept but wasn’t quick enough allowing Alivodic to round him and score despite there being three Wanderers defenders between him and the goalline.
A truly ludicrous decision cost Jets a second just after the half hour Andrew Hoole escaped into space on the left to pull a low ball back across the six yard box to Montano who duly tapped home only to find that the assistant ref had inexplicably flagged for offside.
Jets did add their second on the stroke of half time, Mitch Cooper switched play to the left to find Hoole, he played in the overlapping Lee Ki Je who rifled the ball into the roof of the net at the near post from an acute angle.
Six minutes in to the second half Nick Kalmar gave Wanderers hope when he curled home an exquisite right footed free kick from around twenty five yards out. He nearly repeated the trick in the seventy third minute but just curled the wrong side of the post to hit the side netting, both times Jets keeper Ben Kennedy was a flat footed observer. Newcastle played out time and left Wanderers back on the foot of the league ladder.
Adelaide Utd hosted Melbourne Victory in the most attractive fixture of the weekend at Coopers Stadium before sixteen thousand spectators, spoils were shared with a 2-2 draw. Victory sneaked ahead in the ninth minute with their first attack, Brazillian Gui Finkler found Tunisian Fahid Ben Khalfallah wide left thirty yards out, Ben Khalfallah cut inside before unleashing a tremendous low strike past Eugene Galekovic from outside the box.
Three minutes later Jimmy Jeggo tested Nathan Coe from twenty five yards but the keeper clawed the effort away for a corner. The Reds equalised in the forty third minute when they caught Victory napping with a quick throw on the left, Sergio Cirio lofted a cross to the far post where fellow Spanish countryman Pablo Sanchez climbed highest to nod home.
The home team went ahead in the seventy fourth minute Coe produced a wonder save from a close range Dylan McGowan effort the ball was only partially cleared and the resulting cross again fell to McGowan who found the net this time with the aid of a deflection.
Three minutes later veteran striker Archie Thompson levelled for the visitors, Finkler played Thompson in beautifully to the edge of the box, his touch took him around Galenkovic to roll home at the near post from a tight angle. The draw leaves the teams in fifth and second respectively both still with high hopes of finishing top of the pile.
Western Coast Mariners took on Perth Glory at Central Coast Stadium in front of just over five thousand fans, the points shared as a result of a 1-1 draw. Mariners will consider themselves unlucky not to have claimed all three points as Nick Fitzgerald hit the post in the nineteenth minute and went close two other occasions. Nebojsa Marinkovic very nearly opened the scoring for the visitors in the seventh minute, he unleashed a venomous effort from twenty two yards which Liam Reddy got the slightest of touches to deflect the ball onto the bar, the rebound fell to Andy Keogh eight yards out but he blazed over.
We had to wait until the seventy ninth minute for the opener, Marinkovic swung over a corner and sub Jamie McLaren leapt highest six yards out to glance his header home at the near post. Ex Sheffield Utd stalwart Nick Montgomery has never been much of a man for goal scoring exploits, however he rescued a point for the home team in the ninety second minute.
A poor clearance from Michael Thwaite landed at the feet of Montgomery twenty five yards out who rifled home to the far top corner. Glory hang on to fourth place while it looks like eighth placed Mariners are only playing for pride at this point and look highly unlikely to climb into the top six to qualify for the end of season finals.
League leaders Wellington Phoenix came a calling to Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane to play the Roar in the last game of the weekend and somewhat controversially came away with a 2-1 win. The controversy didn’t surround the Nix performance as they were worthy winners but was with regard to the second half abandonment of the game due to waterlogging.
The home team took the lead in just the fifth minute when Dimitri Petratos sent Corey Brown scampering down the left he pulled back to the near post where Andrija Kaluderovic swept home from six yards. Nathan Burns came within a whisker of equalising just a minute later but Jamie Young denied him from point blank range.
Burns was central to the Nix equaliser on twenty minutes, his mazy dribble from the right hand corner flag saw him beat five Roar players before squaring to Michael McGlinchey to slot home. Burns got his just rewards in the last minute of the half when Roy Krishna drove a shot against the foot of the post from sixteen yards, as all good strikers do Burns had followed in and tapped home the rebound from six yards.
The weather got progressively worse and led to the calling off of the game in the seventy third minute, we still had time for McGlinchey to miss a sitter from a Roly Bonevacia free kick but the Kiwis won’t mind too much as they retain their first place. Roar are in seventh and need to win their two games in hand to leapfrog Melbourne City to get back in to the shake up for finals football.
What have we learned?
That results from abandoned games in the A league stand as long as the second half has started, who knew?
Next A League fixtures
Brisbane Roar v Western Sydney Wanderers
Melbourne Victory v Central Coast Mariners
Melbourne City v Brisbane Roar
Perth Glory v Western Sydney Wanderers
Wellington Phoenix v Sydney FC
Newcastle Jets v Adelaide United