A large number of good results this round, including an interesting match in Brisbane, with two disappointing defensive errors gifting a win to a deserving Perth Glory. Central Coast won the first ever Battle of the Coasts, in magnificent fashion. Sydney FC won by a narrow margin, but that seems to be a trend for the Sky Blues. Melbourne defeated Adelaide away, but still look disappointing, and will probably not defend their title this season. Despite their valiant efforts, North Queensland were unable to lift themselves off the bottom of the table.
Adelaide United 0-2 Melbourne Victory
Hindmarsh Stadium, 15,028
In a grand final rematch, Melbourne Victory won their 6th straight win over Adelaide in fron of 15,000 spectators. With the AFL finals series being held at the same time, it was a worry that Melbourne supporters wouldn’t make the southern trip, however that was not the case, when close to 2,000 Victory men went through the gates. The game started horribly for the home side, when Eugene Galekovic looked unlike himself, and conceded a goal from an acute angle when he failed to cover his post. Ward was ecstatic, as it seemed he didn’t actually mean the shot. Melbourne didn’t stop there, they continued to press on the the stretched Reds defence. Pondeljak came close of 9 minutes when his back heel shot went just wide, and on 30 minutes, when Archie Thompson’s chip beat Galekovic, but also the crossbar. Kevin Muscat and Broxham made their prescence felt, after both picking up cards. Adelaide upped the pressure just before half time, with a few small chances, including some corners and Jamieson’s free-kicks.
The second half was almost the same, with Lloyd Owusu squandering some easy chances, but it was still all Melbourne, dominating, play however they just couldn’t find the net. Archie Thompson had his shot tapped over on 77 by Galekovic. Thompson however set up Melbourne’s second, after taking the ball into the box from the side, with his shot was blocked, before Adelaide failed to clear the ball and Brebner pounced on the chance. Full-time, 2-0.
In other Melbourne Victory news, Kevin Muscat, captain has stated that following the departure of Danny Allsopp to the Middle East, and a lack of performances, former Socceroos striker Mark Viduka would “solve all our problems.” With the former Newcastle man now living back in Melbourne after being released from Newcastle and not being able to find a club, it seems quite logical to sign the V-bomber, who was once considered one of the best strikers in the Premier League.
Central Coast Mariners 3 – 0 Gold Coast United
Bluetoungue Stadium 7,394
The Central Coast Mariners have turned over the performance of their lives, after downing the league leaders Gold Coast United by three goals in the match dubbed the battle of the coasts. In an even match up, Central Coast scored from their only three attempts on target. Early on Bojic having the first chance smashed over the bar. On the 26th minute however the deadlock was broken by Nicky Travis, who recieved the ball from Simon, before slotting it past Vanstratten, who was returning. Gold Coast added some pressure, with Anderson’s spectacular free-kick tipped over the bar by a ready Vukovic.
Just after the half, Vukovic was on standby to collect a few dangerous headers, however it was Central Coast’s attack which stole the headlines on the 54th minute, when Simon’s shot dipped and went under Vanstratten’s arms. Shane Smeltz didn’t come to his team’s aid however, he was sent off for decent. It then got worse for the United side, who were punished on the 69th minute. A string of passes found Hutchinson on the edge of the area, who shot and scored against a stunned Vanstratten. In the end, Lawrie McKinna handed out a 3-0 whitewash to a previously unbeaten side, in his 100th game at the helm.
Wellington Phoenix 1-1 North Queensland Fury
Westpac Stadium 9,713
It was a great start for the Phoenix, who looked sharp, when they took the lead on the 6th minute. Ifill took the ball past two defenders, before lobbing the ball to Bertos, who shot and scored past Henderson who couldn’t do anything. They should have had more, but Paul Henderson was there to deny them. He denied Brown, and then Daniel’s shots within the first 16. Fury had a few chances, including James Robinson who was set up by Fowler, only to hit the netting. Mark Paston made a good save from a Robinson cross which was headed by McBreen. Later on in the second, Robbie Fowler’s free-kick was pushed out by Paston.
A slightly quite second half start was brought to life by Tambouras’ cross which found Fowler, who scored, however it had to be brought back for offside, despite the replays proving otherwise. Fury continued to attack, and they got the goal in the 94th minute. Fowler’s free-kick was deflected and fell to the feet of Grossman, who scored with the very last kick of the game.
Sydney FC 2-1 Newcastle Jets
Sydney Football Stadium 10,357
Sydney FC have regained winning form, with a 2-1 win over the Jets. This leaves the Jets having 12 winless games. Newcastle had the first real chance, on the 22nd minute, with a penalty, however Thompson’s shot was saved by Bolton. Bridge’s single effort gave Sydney the lead, when he took the ball and drew in the defenders, before unleashing a stunning shot past an awestruck Ben Kennedy. 11 minutes later, the Jets replied, with a goal from Thompson thanks to a great lead yp from Patafta. “Nutty’ing” Byun, before working into the box, he shot which Bolton parried, with Thompson cleaning up and scoring.
After the half, from the first real chance, Brosque was brought down by Ben Kennedy for a spot kick, and with Aloisi out, Corica stepped up to take it, a perfect kick, giving Sydney the lead, and eventually the win. Both sides continued to attack. Hyung-Song’s shot took everyone by surprise, including Clint Bolton, who just stood watching the shot hit the crossbar. The Jets continued to press, looking to get a win, however they just couldn’t hit the back of the net. In the final minutes, Durante was sent off for a studs-up tackle on Byun, which gave Sydney FC a win.
Post match, Branko Culina (Jets Coach) didn’t hold anything back when he made a comment at Vitezslav Lavicka, saying “if that’s what foreigner’s bring to the game, lets have more local coaches.” His comment was followed up by a comment about only one team was deserving to win, implying Newcastle.
Brisbane Roar 2-4 Perth Glory
Suncorp Stadium 7,549
*Correction* Last Week I incorrectly used the term verteran in reference to Tando Velaphi (who is 22). I think the correct term I had intended to use was custodian.
Seven and a half thousand fans packed into Suncorp stadium to watch a great match, heralding 6 goals. The first came in 45 seconds, when a defensive blunder caused McCloughan to head the ball past his own keeper. On 4 minutes, Glory had lost Pellegrino to a head injury, after the ball came down onto his head. Glory should have found a second, after they beat the offside trap and it was only denied by Dave Dodd. On the 41 minutes, Wayne Shroj found the net after Reddy ran out of his box, only to be chipped from long range.
Into the second, Henrique gave Brisbane a lifeline, after beating two players, before slotting the ball into the bottom corner. Jelic however made it 3-1 to the visitors, after a cross from an acute angle, he shot under pressure and scored. Van Dijk then scored from an acute angle 3 minutes later, after taking the ball past two, then scoring. The Roar were then denied a penalty, however it just got worse, when Liam Reddy spilled a simple cross from Pellegrino, to concede an own goal, to make it 4-2.
North Queensland are still sitting bottom, despite their valiant efforts. Despite Gold Coast losing and Sydney winning, Gold Coast are still topping on goal difference. Brisbane’s loss pushes them down to 5th, while Perth’s great win heaps them up to 4th. Adelaide and Melbourne are both disappointing their fans this season. Sydney and Gold Coast are the only consistant teams this year, and look to be the two teams into the finals.