Almanac Soccer – War and Peace (and A-League): Round 24

Normal service resumes at the top, teams in Sky Blue get back in to form as Victory take one step back in another wide open round of the A-League.

 

ADELAIDE UNITED 5 (Adlung 15, 45 Kitto 68 Absalonsen 71 Cavussevic 79) NEWCASTLE JETS 2 (Kantarovski 62, 89)

The undermanned Jets came crashing back to earth as they were soundly thrashed by Adelaide United 5-2. United warmed up their lukewarm season with a fantastic effort and were never really headed after the returning Ronny Vargas clipped the crossbar with a free kick for the Jets early in the game.

A fine series of passes led to the opener on 15 minutes through the German midfield nugget Daniel Adlung. Right on half time came a goal that would really test the Jets resolve when from a free kick Adlung again scored, the Jets defence left wanting.

The Jets persisted though and had a goal back on 62 minutes when from a corner Ben Kantarovski had a header go millimeters over the line. The ball was cleared but the goal given. From here though the Reds steamrolled the championship hopefuls from the Hunter. On 68 minutes Kitto was ran at the Jets defence who let him get to a position to shoot past a stranded keeper and made it 3-1.

Three minutes later it was game over when the Dane Johan Absalonsen scored his second goal in two games with a magnificent volley at the far post, the cross deep from the right perfect. Frustration spilt over for the normally unflappable Jets when Hoffmann was sent off for a second bookable offence which was punished a minute later when Dzengis Kavusevic finished off another fine flowing United move, the Jets unable to cope with the squaring of the ball again.

A later goal to Kantarovski for a rare brace got it back to 5-2 but this was a woeful night for the Jets while the Reds had their first win in five. One silver lining for the Jets though was the fact they now can’t be moved from second with other results going their way.

 

MELBOURNE CITY 3 (Fornaroli 42 Jakobsen 57 Mauk 67) WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS 0

Melbourne City broke with tradition of falling part at the end of the season with a fine 3-0 win over the Wanderers at AAMI Park.

It was pretty much one way traffic from the start with Stefen Mauk having a shot cleared off the line just minutes in. Bruno Fornaroli headed wide half way through the first half but then had his goal just near half time finishing off a counter attacking move down the right started by Daniel Arzani.

In the second half the dominance continued. From a corner some 11 minutes in to the second half Jakobsen headed home to make it 2-0. Then 10 minutes later the rout was completed a nice little lay off by Fornaroli saw Mauk bury the shot. All one way traffic for City who got third place back off their crosstown rivals Melbourne Victory. The Wanderers are dog on and off the pitch.

 

CENTRAL COAST MARINERS 1 (McGing 82) SYDNEY FC 2 (Ninkovic 32 Simon 93)

With the Jets stumbling over in Adelaide Sydney FC took advantage with their 2-1 win over the Mariners. This all but guaranteed they would finish top of the league for a second season in a row. The out of form champs left it very late though against a side that had seen their under fire coach Paul Okon ‘resign’ during the week.

Typical of a match between two teams not really in form is there wasn’t much to write home about until star midfielder Milos Ninkovic headed home a lovely cross from the right to give Sydney FC the lead, a man most definitely needed by the club at the moment.

In the second half Sydney FC searched for a second goal but the Mariners got stuck in with a desperate leg denying a Bobo shot and Mierzejewski shooting over. With minutes left though the Mariners made Sydney pay equalising at the far post through Jake McGing who had a simple tap in after Brama squared the ball in front of a static sky blue defence.

It seemed as though Sydney would be denied more points as the Mariners pressed for a winner buzzing after the equaliser but up stepped Matt Simon. The striker with the sharp elbows, even sharper tongue and questionable goal scoring record dived on a seemingly hopeless deflected cross from the right to head the ball past a poorly positioned Ben Kennedy in goal to steal the win. This was his first goal in two seasons and only his fifth in some 60 appearances for Sydney FC and celebrated against his old club like he’d just scored the winner in a cup final.

Sydney FC snap a rare run of poor form, the Mariners still doing well if they avoid the wooden spoon.

 

WELLINGTON PHOENIX 2 (Kaluderovic 53 Rogerson 64) BRISBANE ROAR 2 (Holman 50 Kristensen 68)

The Wellington Phoenix managed to put a dent in the Roar’s finals hopes with an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Cake Tin.

Andrija Kaluderovic looked to break his 10 game goal drought with a shot saved magnificently by the Roar keeper Jamie Young early in the match as the Phoenix came to play for the first time in weeks. The game only really livened up in the second half with Nathan Burns hitting the sidenetting.

Just minutes later though the Roar hit the lead when former Socceroo Brett Holman scored probably the best goal of the round with a sidefooted volley thundered home, an exquisite finish of some skill. The Phoenix rallied though and minutes later had it 1-1 through Kaluderovic who received a magnificent through ball and slid the ball past the keeper with goal celebration that of a striker who had not scored in 10 weeks.

Then 11 minutes later the Phoenix had the lead and it was Logan Rogerson who headed in his first ever goal for the club thanks to a world class cross from Burns. It was vindication for coach Chris Greenacre to start the Maui boy from Hamilton, his first for the club. With the Phoenix in the lead and hope growing of course they would let the opposition peg them back. Only some four minutes after Rogerson’s goal a corner was cleared properly and Thomas Kristensen took advantage getting the ball in to the back of the net.

The Phoenix kept coming at the Roar though and had a massive chance with minutes left. Nathan Burns ran at the Roar defence with his powerful shot being somehow saved by Young who deflected the ball up on to crossbar and out. A winner that would have brought the house down which was rare with Westpac Stadium being so cavernous. Best game of the round bar none.

 

PERTH GLORY 1 (Keogh 44) MELBOURNE VICTORY 0

Perth Glory are hanging on to the hope of an undeserved finals spot upsetting Melbourne Victory at Perth Oval.

In greasy conditions Glory played one of their better games of the season being able to soak up the pressure when Victory dominated for large parts of the game, Shane Lowry a welcome return in the Glory defence.

With Victory seeming like the more likely to score with George running amok on the right Glory had a goal and it was simple opportunism. With Kosta Barbarouses attacking down the left Scott Neville disposed the Kiwi international and without a seconds’ thought put in a very nice cross to Glory captain Andy Keogh who headed home.

Perhaps that charity headshave Keogh (and Lowry) had done the previous weekend helped with the power of the header although the Irishman did look like he should hanging out in a housing estate in Edinburgh rather than scoring a goal in the A-League.

In the second half Victory were on the backfoot at times as Glory bullied the title contenders before coach Kenny Lowe made some bizarre changes to his Glory side, the players substituted no exactly impressed with being subbed. With this Victory monstered the Glory looking for a goal but despite a goal being disallowed for being offside Victory couldn’t get a shot on target, the back four of Glory holding firm for their first clean sheet since last year’s elimination final.

A hole in the road for Victory in their march to the finals losing third spot to Melbourne City, Glory happy to be back beating Victory at home which is one of the only positive consistencies of the club in the A-League.

 

TABLE (3 rounds to go)

 

Sydney FC                                                   +37       55 pts

Newcastle Jets                                            +19      47 pts

Melbourne City                                          +5         37 pts

Melbourne Victory                                     +4           35 pts

Adelaide United                                          -2          33 pts

Western Sydney Wanderers                   -9           30 pts

Brisbane Roar                                            -6           29 pts

Perth Glory                                                 -13         29 pts

Central Coast Mariners                            -13          20 pts

Wellington Phoenix                                 -22           18 pts

 

SACRED COW OF THE ROUND – Nathan Burns

It seems the boy from Orange is again hitting the form that saw him earn 24 caps for Australia and play all around the world. It’s a shame that he’s never really gone on with the abundant talent he has through luck, injuries or poor decision making. Back at Phoenix, the attacking midfielder showed on Sunday what he can do and more than deserved a spectacular winner at the end of the Roar game on Sunday. It was just a shame the save by Jamie Young was just as great.

A smoky for Socceroos duties again? Could be after the Norway debacle on Saturday morning.

 

CLOWN OF THE ROUND – Western Sydney Wanderers

Clown might be a bit harsh but the loss of a seven figure sponsorship deal thanks to the deeds of a select few who support the club has to hurt. NRMA have pulled the pin after sponsoring from season one for the club that included their three grand final appearance and historic Asian Champions League win.

While the FFA will (probably) ensure one of their biggest asset gets another deal the fact their fans are the reason the sponsorship deal has fallen over says volumes about the view of these idiots in the RBB. Hopefully it’s a turning point to finally rid the league of the more troublesome supporters.

The Wanderers also really suck on the pitch at the moment as well. Glory and the Roar are circulating.

 

 

TOTAL GOALS FOR THE ROUND – 18 (Season Total 355). Av 2.958 goals per game)

 

WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO NEXT WEEK – Sydney FC can sew up another title next Thursday when they play the Glory in Perth. They have swept aside Glory both home and away in recent times and could do so again killing Glory’s finals hopes and ensuring they take home a second championship in a row. The Jets already have second to themselves but will be wary of third placed Melbourne City who be looking to stay in third ahead of Victory.

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.

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