Almanac Soccer – War and Peace (and A-League): Round 20

A split round, some spectacular goals, capitulations and referees copping the wrath of both player and coach alike, it’s Round 20 of the A-League.


MELBOURNE VICTORY 1 (Triosi 83) BRISBANE ROAR 2 (Maccarone 7 Holman 28)

Victory’s season continues to go down the toilet while the Roar’s season just won’t flush after the latter scored a huge win at AAMI Park.

I didn’t seem to go right for Muscat’s men at any time during the game and were behind after only 7 minutes when poor defending on the right and an inability to clear a loose ball saw Massimo Maccarone spin and score to make it 1-0 to Brisbane. Victory could have had an equaliser on 12 minutes when a well worked free kick saw Williams sneak in with a close range shot but fluffed his lines.

Victory were made to pay when on 27 minutes they lost possession in the midfield and Maccarone collected the ball and ran towards goal setting up former Socceroo Brett Holman who danced around his marker and finished strongly. 2-0.

Victory chased Roar in the second half but when in dangerous positions they were sloppy or thought about it too much. With less than 10 minutes left they did have a lifeline though when Socceroo James Troisi collected the ball from a cleared corner and rocketed home a spectacular goal to bring it back to 2-1. An amazing finish from someone who has had the accuracy of a blind machine gunner this season.

Roar held on for an opportunistic but deserved win to remain in the hunt for the finals. Victory’s hopes of getting a home final diminish even more and playing Champions League midweek will not help things.


MELBOURNE CITY 0 SYDNEY FC 4 (Bobo 32, 65 Ninkovic 43 Mierzejewski 79)

Sydney FC underlined why they are such short priced favourites for back to back titles with a 4-0 hammering of third placed Melbourne City at AAMI Park.

City were the brighter starters with young star Arzani running at the Sydney defence and coming close with a shot from the edge of the area. City were playing a dangerous game attacking though and when they would lose to ball in the midfield Sydney could counter to full effect. Bouzanis managed to parry away two shots on target but on the half hour he committed a needless foul that resulted in a penalty which was put away by Bobo. 1-0.

Right on half time it was 2-0 when after again losing the ball City saw Zullo sprint down the left to set up Ninkovic at the edge of the area who controlled and then finished with some exquisite skill. A top notch finish.

It was officially a rout on 64 minutes when again after City coughed up the ball Zullo put in an excellent cross from the left to the head of Bobo who finished from close range. With 12 minutes to go Mierzejewski made it 4-0 with a finish at the far post that managed to sneak past Bouzanis. A scary result for the rest of the competition considering City were one of the more in form teams. Sydney are almost certainties to finish top of the league for the second season in a row. The only thing that can really stop them is now playing two games a week at times because of the Asian Champions League which may stretch the squad.


WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS 2 (Riera 7, 67) NEWCASTLE JETS 2 (Petratos 48 Nabbout 68)

The Jets hopes of finishing top appear to be almost over after being held to a draw by Western Sydney Wanderers in one of the games of the season.

The Wanderers were back playing at the very much unloved Spotless Stadium that had large areas of empty seats giving everyone a reminder that similar sized crowds will there for the upcoming GWS Giants season. They kind of hit the lead early though and it was a calm finish by new signing Chris Ikonomidis who slid the ball past the Jets keeper after being put through by a top notch through ball by Carrusca. VAR stepped in though and the young star Socceroo was judged to have been offside, a crap decision.

It didn’t take long for Wanderers to get their deserved goal though when they earned a penalty after Carrusca flopped down on the ground. Riera scored from the spot to make it 1-0.

Early in the second half the Jets had the first of their spectacular equalisers when Petratos finish with the outside of his left boot, the vicious shot curling past the Wanderers keeper from a standing start and another highlight for one of the players of the season. Wanderers had the lead back again when on 66 minutes they were given another penalty which was dispatched by Riera for his brace.

Their lead last for all of 20 seconds and it was one of the great A-League goals that had it back to 2-2. From the restart the Jets took the ball down the right and then passed off to Nabbout finishing a 1-2. The former Victory man ran at goal and from outside the box sent in an extraordinary curling shot past the keeper, a goal worthy of any league in the world. Minutes later the Jets had another goal when Hoffman headed home knocking over Janjetovic in the Wanderers penalty area in the process. VAR was called and the goal was again struck off when (much like the Wanderers goal) it perhaps should have stood.

A game of high drama, handbags and some amazing goals but VAR would again be the talking point with Ernie Merrick ropeable in the post game interview on ABC Radio. A bill from the FFA might be in the post.


The Nabbout goal. A thing of beauty.

WELLINGTON PHOENIX 2 (Singh 3 Lowry OG 90) PERTH GLORY 1 (Castro 36)

Phoenix got the bragging rights in the distance derby knocking off fellow strugglers Perth Glory thanks to a late own goal.

Phoenix got off to a good start when 19-year-old Sarpreet Singh scored from outside the area to make it 1-0 after only a couple of minutes, the goal another spectacular one for the Round 20 highlights reel.

The game was (as to be an expected) a scrappy affair with both sides unable to really hold on to possession. On 35 minutes Glory were back on level terms. Former Glory keeper Tando Velpahi was in goal for Phoenix and while not playing in the league he still hasn’t learned to organise a wall to defend a free kick with Castro’s tame shot squeezing past both him and the defenders and in to the back of the net.

The game in the second half continued to be pants but with 10 minutes to go Glory earned a penalty. In a game low on chances and anything really Castro would be the one to take the spot kick but his shot was as weak as a kitten, the star Spaniard trying to shoot down the middle but the keeper collected the ball easily. A woeful effort in a woeful season for a not so woeful player.

Glory, being Glory, would concede a goal though in the final minutes they did. A dangerous cross from prodigal son Roy Krishna from the left was put in back of the net by Shane Lowry who was trying to desperately clear the ball; one of Glory’s best players scoring an own goal to finish off any hope for this season. 2-1 to Phoenix who have hope of not finishing bottom while Glory are done.


ADELAIDE UNITED 2 (Elsey 61 Blackwood 83) CENTRAL COAST MARINERS 2 (Hoole 7 Strain OG 53)

The round finished on a spectacular and controversial note with 10 man Adelaide United battling back from 2-0 down to earn a draw with the struggling Mariners. There was grief even before the game with the pitch at Hindmarsh damaged thanks to the ‘sugar hit’ AFL experiment that had been there on Thursday night.

The Mariners went ahead after only 6 minutes with Hoole’s free kick sneaking through and wrong footing Izzo in the United goal giving the smattering of Mariners fans in the away end some joy. On 18 minutes controversy reigned when the big defensive beast Ersan Gulum was sent off for apparently being the last defender and fouling a Mariners player. While Gulum did touch the player they did go down quite easily. Gulum sarcastically clapped in the face of the fourth official and had to be led away (not an easy feet considering the size of the guy) after the awful call.

In the second half the Mariners had another goal when on 53 minutes Ryan Strain but the ball in the back of his own net from a corner with nothing going right for the Reds. This Adelaide side under Kurz is well-drilled and show great tenacity so mounted a comeback. On the hour a free kick headed in by Jordan Elsey as the crowd found voice.

The Mariners just stopped as United peppered the goals with one shot tipped over the bar and another hitting the upright and bouncing out. Then with minutes to go a cross manage to bounce to the far post for George Blackwood who controlled and got a shot away that hit the underside of the crossbar and went in to send the fans in raptures. The Reds almost took all three points when with 4 minutes to go a header from a corner was kept out by a desperate Mariners keeper.

Shared points as Adelaide rallied and the Mariners wilted even with an extra man showing the difference in how good each coach is. Okon’s stock isn’t rising any time soon and rumours of him taking over from Arnold at Sydney FC have to be way off.




Sydney FC                                                   +36       49 pts

Newcastle Jets                                            +19      38 pts

Melbourne City                                          +6         33 pts

Adelaide United                                          -1          29 pts

Melbourne Victory                                     +1           23 pts

Western Sydney Wanderers                   -9           23 pts

Brisbane Roar                                            -7           22 pts

Perth Glory                                                 -14         19 pts

Central Coast Mariners                            -7          17 pts

Wellington Phoenix                                 -14           17 pts


SACRED COW OF THE ROUND – The FFA and team expansion. 

It seems that maybe, just maybe, the FFA is now starting to listen to fans and clubs and finally looking to admit new teams for the 2020/21 season. The league has been crying out for more sides in the league for some time now with the same 10 teams playing each other making the league stagnant and starving young players of opportunities.

While Sutherland/Wollongong is a dead cert for one of the licences the other could be from Canberra, Geelong, Tasmania or Brisbane with a 14 team league in the pipeline after the initial introduction of two new teams. Something positive from the FFA for once, I think I have a nose bleed.



While the news was not unexpected the loss of former A-League star Liam Miller to pancreatic cancer at the age of 36 was quite distressing for many people across the country.

The Irishman first came to prominence as a young star at Celtic scoring in the Champions League before taking the advice of fellow Cork man Roy Keane and going to Man United where he wasn’t quite the success he was expected to be. After playing at Leeds, Sunderland, QPR and Hibs Liam came to Australia and Perth Glory without much fanfare and was still only aged 30 seemingly having a career that never quite hit the heights expected of him.

The attacking midfielder rekindled his career and was a star for Perth Glory creating many of Glory’s attacks clearly being a level above as the side had their best ever season making the Grand Final. Miller was the one who apparently brought down Besart Berisha for the controversial last minute penalty that secured Roar their Grand Final win and two in a row to finish off that season. After another season at Glory, Miller went on to Brisbane Roar where he won a league and grand final double in 2014 before making a short appearance at Melbourne City and then back to Ireland.

Miller passed away just four days shy of his birthday and leaves behind a wife and young family. A heartbreaking loss to one of the brilliant and humble players that has ever played in this league.


TOTAL GOALS FOR THE ROUND – 18 (Season Total 270). Av 2.7 goals per game)


WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO NEXT WEEK – Victory really have to do something and maybe hosting arch rivals Adelaide United might spark a comeback. The Sydney derby is also on with Sydney FC to host Wanderers on a rare Sunday afternoon.

About Dennis Gedling

RTR FM Presenter. Glory Guerrillas Producer and Co-Host. Contributer to Football Nation Radio and Football West. Worships at the feet of the mighty Cats, Socceroos, Matildas, West Perth, Glory and Glasgow's Green and White most of the time.


  1. Paul Saffigna says:

    Great A league summary Dennis.
    In regards Lowys proposed expansion of the league it’s just a ploy by him to get FIFA off his back.
    Nothing will get the League and attendances and viewers back on track until Lowy and Gallop go and we get new thinking and passion into the FFA leadership.

  2. Dennis Gedling says:

    Completely agree it’s Lowy trying to sidestep but at least it’s a reaction and something positive. Something has to give.

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