Almanac Soccer – War and Peace (and A-League): Round 22 and 23 Part I

With both Rounds 22 and 23 over the next few weeks the matches from both rounds will be all mixed together. So much like many things the A-League organise, it will be a bit of a mess but we’ll try to keep up. A cracking set of games over this weekend though.

MELBOURNE CITY 1 (Fornaroli 53)  MELBOURNE VICTORY 2 (Barbarouses 15 George 61)

The weekend got off a to a white-hot start with the 22nd Melbourne Derby on Friday night. The game was very easy on the eye with end to end action and a little bit of controversy when Kosta Barbarouses’ early goal was chalked off by the VAR because Besart Berisha was offside in the lead up to the goal. Barbaourses’ second goal wasn’t struck off though and made it 1-0 after 12 minutes when he was put through by Berisha. Victory kept City at bay until half time with Scott Jamieson’s free kick rattling the crossbar the closest City came to scoring.

Seven minutes in to the second half City were back on level terms and it was the penalty spot after Leigh Broxham had handled a cross. Bruno Fornaroli smashes in the penalty to announce his return. Unfortunately for City they are heading in to the time of the season where resilience isn’t one of their strong points and were only level for 8 minutes. Leigh Broxham’s curling cross from the edge of the area was pinpoint and straight on to the head of Leroy George who headed home in front of the ‘travelling’ Victory fans.

Troisi missed a sitter and City huffed and puffed but 2-1 it finished with Victory now somehow breathing down the necks of their crosstown rivals on the table. Some more questionable sub decisions made by Warren Joyce for City who seems to be stuck in the tactics of 1980s English lower leagues.

 

NEWCASTLE JETS 2 (Petratos 43 Nabbout 56) SYDNEY FC 1 (Bobo 51)

Undoubtedly the game of the weekend was in the Hunter with the Jets taking on the defending champs in a 1 v 2 clash. In front of the biggest crowd seen in Newcastle for a domestic game in some time and with a fly over by the RAAF the Jets were up and about early harassing Sydney FC any time the sky blues had the ball. Then on 10 minutes there was a huge blow for the home side when Roy O’Donavon was sent off for a stray elbow on big Sydney defender Jordy Buijs. Buijs hit the ground rolling around like he’d been shot in what was a pathetic display considering he spends most games kicking the shit out of opposition strikers and straying near a red card himself more often than not. Angry Roy does have a history of using his elbows and was sent off.

The Jets managed to keep their shape despite losing a man for a majority of the game and got their reward. With 5 minutes left before half time a pass in to the box was meant for Topor-Stanley but he went down when supposedly pushed by a Sydney FC defender and a very soft penalty was given. Perhaps a square up for the red card but we never know what goes on in the minds of an A-League ref apart from a cool breeze. Petratos nailed the spot kick and the Jets lead at half time.

This is Sydney FC though and they always somehow find a way. Some six minutes in to the second half Bobo had yet another goal when he headed in a free kick with some ferocity running to the large throng of Sydney FC fans in the corner of the stadium. A goal from a needless free kick, too. Would the Jets lay down for the FFA’s plaything? Would it be the usual script? Not this time. Just minutes after the Sydney goal Nabbout collected the ball on the left in his own area and ran at the Sydney FC defence before lashing home a shot that beat the keeper and hit the back of the net much to the joy of the large collection of locals. Another tremendous goal from the Victory reject in what would be his final game for the Jets after accepting an offer to go one of the major Japanese clubs.

From here Sydney tried everything to try to get a foothold in the game again but the Jets were too disciplined, too focused, too good. Sydney FC captain Alex Brosque was finally booked for dissent after however many games of abuse aimed at the ref. To the roar of the ‘New-cas-tle!’ from the fans the Jets held out and scored a massive victory to give them a psychological edge on the normally unflappable Sydney FC heading in to the finals. The crowd, the drama and the good v bad story are an example of how good the A-League can be when it wants to. Shame about the refereeing.

Stories of the demise of the A-League have been greatly exaggerated (photo courtesy Heath Wild) [click to enlarge]

BRISBANE ROAR 1 (Bauthaec 40) ADELAIDE UNITED 0

Adelaide United’s season continues to run out of gas going down to Brisbane 1-0 at a very empty Lang Park.

The Roar were up early with Ben Khaffalah’s free kick going just wide. O’Doherty made a good run for the Reds before his weak shot was easily stopped by the keeper. Near half time Roar had the only goal of the game and it was through the maligned French signing Eric Bauthaec with a cracking free kick and only his second goal for the season.

In the second half United did have their chances with Milusenic who was put through on goal by O’Doherty but with only the keeper to beat his shot was awful and gobbled up by the glovesman. After this the sides wilted in the humidity and Roar ran out winners keeping alive their hopes of a finals spot. United are just hanging on.

 

WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS 1 (Bridge 9) PERTH GLORY 1 (Torres 13)

Glory escaped with a point against a poor Wanderers side at a half empty Spotless Stadium. With the RBB banned for the game after some individuals started acting like f*ckwits again it was a subdued atmosphere but Wanderers hit the lead with Mark Bridge coming from an offside position to strike after only 9 minutes. It didn’t take long for Glory to make it 1-1 when Chianese was brought down by a baffled Janjetovic in the Wanderers goal and a penalty was given. The Spanish veteran Xavi Torres scored from the spot.

The game from there really didn’t reach any great heights with both sides again putting on a poor display. The fact that these two teams can still play finals is a black mark on the league because both teams should be dragged out to the street and shot such has been their poor displays since October. There was some drama late on. With a Wanderers player Sotorio put through on goal Glory keeper Liam Reddy came off his line taking down the Wanderers player. A yellow card for Sotorio for diving but VAR was called. Replays still showed Reddy not touching the Wanderers player but the decision was reversed and Reddy was given a red card getting in to pushing contest with Wanderers veteran Michael Thwaite as he left the ground.

With all three subs used the big Bosnian Dino Djulbic had to go in goal and did a fine job looking like he’d spent years between the sticks. Glory even with 10 men almost scored but 1-1 it finished in a largely forgettable game.

 

TABLE

Sydney FC                                                   +37       52 pts

Newcastle Jets                                            +21      44 pts

Melbourne City                                          +2         33 pts

Melbourne Victory                                     +2           32 pts

Adelaide United                                          -5         29 pts

Western Sydney Wanderers                   -9           27 pts

Brisbane Roar                                            -7           25 pts

Perth Glory                                                 -16         23 pts

Central Coast Mariners*                            -7          20 pts

Wellington Phoenix*                                 -18           17 pts

* Have played one game less.

 

WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO NEXT WEEK – The two remaining games of Round 22 are on next weekend in the only A-League action going on and both are really nothing to write home about. First you have Wanderers hosting the Phoenix in what will probably by a turgid mess. The Glory also host the Mariners with the Perth side looking to try to hang on to try to get a finals berth. Might be good to go watch some local football or tend to the roses or something.

 

 

 

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.

Leave a Comment

*