Almanac Soccer – War and Peace (and A-League): Round 25

Sydney FC go back to back Minor Premierships, the Melbourne teams continue to battle it out for third and Newcastle’s remarkable record scoring run comes to an end.

 

PERTH GLORY 2 (Taggart 72, 89) SYDNEY FC 3 (Mierzejewski 12 Bobo 29, 39)

The defending champions Sydney FC will finish on top of the league for a second year in a row after a 3-2 victory in Perth that was very one sided.

Despite being a little wobbly the past few weeks the Sky Blues settled and made sure they would finish top with a dominant first half in Perth. Glory (who are battling for an unlikely finals spot) were bright early but Arnold began to make the little changes that put out any fires. On 11 minutes it was 1-0 Sydney when a nice little chip by former Glory player Brandon O’Neill caught out a napping defence. Bobo’s close range shot was saved by Liam Reddy but the loose ball was smashed home by Adrian Mierzejewski.

On 26 minutes it was 2-0 when on the break Glory defender Dino Djulbic was again caught out for pace letting Sydney’s resident toe cutter Matt Simon through on goal. Djulbic managed to put in a goal saving tackle to put the ball out for a corner but VAR was called and a penalty was given to the boos of the sparse and fed up Glory supporters. The penalty was converted by Bobo. On 38 minutes Sydney had another and the minor title in their grasp when Bobo again latched on to a pass over the top of an awful Glory back four. The finish powerful enough to squirm past Reddy.

In the second half Glory rallied by trying to not concede another but it wasn’t until Socceroo Adam Taggart was subbed on that Glory finally asked some questions. On 71 minutes Chris Harold’s lovely little pass put Taggart through on goal, the 25 year old rounding the keeper and scoring to give Glory some hope. While his finish was smart for the first his second was sublime and one if not the goal of the season. With only minutes left Taggart played a nice 1-2 with Andy Keogh before curling in a wonderful goal equal to any you would see around the world. The keeper almost got a fingertip to the shot but it was one of the finishes that will beat anyone anytime.

With this wonder goal Glory had a sniff and asked serious questions of the under siege Sydney defence but Arnold’s men held out to add another trophy to the cabinet. Even Kevin Sheedy (in the crowd for the game) would have been impressed.

 

ADELAIDE UNITED 3 (Absalonsen 42 Garuccio 61 Konstandopolous 63)WELLINGTON PHOENIX 1 (Rogerson 84)

Adelaide United can still snatch a home final after a decent win against the languishing Phoenix on Good Friday.

In front of a huge and fervent Red Army at Hindmarsh United there was action from the start when Roy Krishna’s shot hit the upright for the visitors. It was a cagey first half before United broke the deadlock near half time when a run and then squaring of the ball by Isias was finished off by the great Dane Johan Absalonsen for a third consecutive week.

Wellington were persistent though and it took until the hour mark for United to be 2-0 up and it was a spectacular finish. Darting in from the left former Melbourne City player Ben Garuccio finished with an powerfully evil shot that almost took the net off the goal. A deserved first goal at the club for the 22 year old.

The deed was done minutes later when Nathan Konstandopolous slid a ball in after the Phoenix defence were all at sea trying to clear a ball that had came in at pace from Garuccio. An ugly but one that confirmed all three points for United. A late penalty to Phoenix with seven minutes to go tried to ruin the party but the win means the Reds are all but in the finals.

 

BRISBANE ROAR 1 (Henrique 13) CENTRAL COAST MARINERS 0

Brisbane Roar’s finals hopes are well and truly alive with two rounds to go doing enough to see off the Mariners. An early goal to club legend Henrique who scored after receiving a great cut back from the right. Hoole had his chances to score for the Mariners in the first going just wide and then hitting the crossbar. Then right on half time Connor Pain had his shot saved brilliantly by Young.

Massimo Maccarone had a goal chalked off for offside with 10 minutes to go but there wasn’t much to write home about in the second half as the Roar got another win.

 

MELBOURNE VICTORY 3 (George 31 Berisha 45 + 7 Deng 51) WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS (Cejudo 45 + 1)

Melbourne Victory took back third spot (albeit for 24 hours) and forgot about their costly loss in Perth, defeating Western Sydney Wanderers in a very entertaining game at AAMI Park.

Kosta Barbarouses was lively and on 20 minutes had his shot from the right tipped over the bar. On the half hour Victory had the lead and it was that man Leroy George again. From a free kick the Dutchman’s shot deflected leaving Janjetovic in the Wanderers goal stranded as the ball hit the back of the net. Socceroo Chris Ikonimides was denied a goal after a brilliant run in to the box but there was real drama right at the end of the first half.

On the break Wanderers equalised through Alvaro Cejudo after a break down the other end of the pitch. That was expected to be it before half time but from a Victory corner Michael Thwaite managed to foul a Victory player and a penalty was given and Thwaite was off with a second yellow. That wasn’t all though. On VAR it was also noticed that when the penalty was to be taken Barbarouses managed to stamp on an opponent so a red card for the Kiwi International too. Berisha held his nerve among all the controversy (which went on for some six minutes) to score from the spot to make it 2-1.

The second half was only five minutes old when the third wondergoal of the weekend was scored. From the left George and Terry Antonis worked the ball well before the latter crossed to Thomas Deng who lashed home the ball with a tremendous volley to bring the house down. From here Wanderers melted and Victory could have had a fourth if not for the upright denying George a second goal. Huge win for the Victory in their chase for third while Wanderers continue to sink.

 

NEWCASTLE JETS 0 MELBOURNE CITY 3 (Fornaroli 42 Vidosic 53, 77)

A Dario Vidosic brace helped Melbourne City along to a comfortable win in Newcastle against the Jets.

Apart from the three goals the more remarkable feat by City was this time was season when they normally fall apart and it was the first time this season a team had stopped the Jets scoring. With second placed wrapped up perhaps the Jets were complacent but Roy O’Donovan had an early chance. From here though Daniel Azani began to give the Jets kittens on the right wing, the young up and coming star unstoppable setting up Bruno Fornaroli twice but the shot inches wide both times.

Then just near half time (following an acrobatic chance from Fornaroli hitting the crossbar) it was the Uruguayan striker who scored to give City a deserved lead at the far post from a corner. City had a second seven minutes in the second half when Vidosic headed in a corner that the Jets again couldn’t deal with. With 14 minutes to go City had the points and a third when Vidosic’s rocket of a free kick easily beat the keeper to hit the back of the net.

The Jets surrendered meekly to a City side starting to find some real form, definitely the eye opener of the round.

 

 

TABLE (2 rounds to go)

 

Sydney FC*                                                   +38       58 pts

Newcastle Jets+                                            +16      47 pts

Melbourne City#                                          +8         40 pts

Melbourne Victory#                                     +6           38 pts

Adelaide United                                          –           36 pts

Brisbane Roar                                               -5           32 pts

——————————————————————-

Western Sydney Wanderers                     -11           30 pts

Perth Glory                                                  -14         29 pts

Central Coast Mariners^                           -14          20 pts

Wellington Phoenix^                                  -24           18 pts

*-Champions

+-Qualified for finals. Will finish second

#-Qualified for finals.

^-Cannot make the Top 6

 

 

SACRED COW OF THE ROUND – Sydney FC

Love them or (mainly) hate them they’ve done it again wrapping up top spot with change to spare. The first half of the game on Thursday against Glory was them at their bullying best dominating what is admittedly a poor side. While the Champions League campaign and Graham Arnold getting the Socceroos gig making them a little wobbly they are still the team to beat by some margin.

 

CLOWN OF THE ROUND – The Jets goalscoring record

Don’t be sad that it’s over be glad that it happened.

Following their meek effort against a very good City side on Sunday the Jets remarkable 25 game run of scoring in every game is over. They never really looked like scoring on Sunday and while the record is gone what is more worrying was the all-round performance with a full strength side.

They do have second sewn up so perhaps they weren’t playing with their usual intensity that has made them a joy to watch this season but getting wiped like that on your own deck will have Ernie Merrick no doubt getting stuck in to the team at training. They have Glory at home this weekend and if the same happens against admittedly weaker opposition then they have a problem.

 

 

TOTAL GOALS FOR THE ROUND – 17 (Season Total 372. Av 2.96 goals per game)

 

WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO NEXT WEEK – The big six pointer is on Saturday afternoon when Western Sydney Wanderers host Brisbane Roar. If the Wanderers drop points then you can say that may well be it for them this season, if they lose then the Top 6 (which should be a top 4) is settled and the Roar will be making yet another finals appearance.

The Jets host Glory with the visitors hoping they can scrape in to the six by some miracle. Sydney FC will lift the second trophy of what will hopefully be three this season on Sunday afternoon but it’ll be a tough one against Adelaide. Both Melbourne teams should win hosting the cellar dwellers Central Coast and Wellington.

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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