Almanac Soccer – War and Peace (and A-League): Round 27

 

 

SYDNEY FC 1 (Bobo 8) MELBOURNE VICTORY 0

Sydney FC ensured they had a 100% record for ‘The Big Blue’ for the regular season with a tight 1-0 win over Melbourne Victory at the SFS.

On a night when more fans should have been in attendance to see the dish get lifted the Sky Blues prevailed thanks to an early Bobo goal and wasted chances by the visitors including one straight from kick off that Berisha fluffed. Bobo’s goal was a slight touch on a powerful Zullo shot from the left, the creator who else but star man Milos Ninkovic.

From here Sydney FC toyed with Victory with a host of chances as the party where not many of the invitees showed up was just getting started. Leroy George had a chance cleared off the line with some 22 minutes to go but Sydney were again too strong for a Victory side who would now have to win the grand final to get back in to the Asian Champions League next season finishing in fourth and some 23 points behind their arch rivals on the table.

 

WELLINGTON PHOENIX 2 (Singh 33, 58) MELBOURNE CITY 1 (Fornaroli 20)

With third spot and the ACL secured City perhaps had their eye off the ball going down to a resilient Wellington Phoenix in Auckland. At Mt Smart Stadium (the scene of many Socceroos disasters) City did in fact hit the lead after 20 minutes and it was a cracker from outside the area by captain and resident hot head Bruno Fornaroli: the star striker back to his irrepressible best.

The Phoenix were up for this one though and didn’t have to wait long before it was 1-1. Lead up work down the left saw Sarpeet Singh receive the ball and dance around his markers before getting a shot away that somehow slid in to the goal. Phoenix were all over City and had another near the hour mark and again it was Singh. The 19-year-old ran at the City defence and launched a visit shot that deflected off a defender and in to the back of the net. If not for City keeper Dean Bouzanis and Roy Krishna’s inability to finish it would have been more but Phoenix still got the win to lift them off the bottom of the table for the first time since Round 7 all the way back in November.

A positive finish to another poor season. City wouldn’t be too fazed.

 

CENTRAL COAST MARINERS 2 (Pain 39 Buhagiar 80) NEWCASTLE JETS 8 (Champness 10 O’Donovan 20, 68 McGree 24, 53, 75 Jackson 61 Petratos 81) 

The team that replaced Phoenix at the bottom would have to win against their arch rivals in the F3 Derby to not collect another wooden spoon. With the Jets seemingly out of form and waiting for the finals it was doable but this Mariners side has been in free fall for quite some time.

Still, no one expected this result in front of their own fans no less. It was 1-0 to the Jets after only 9 minutes when Joe Champness waltzed in to the area and slotted home. With 20 minutes gone it was 2-0 with Urgakovic’s pass splitting an awful Mariners defence and letting Roy O’Donovan in to break his goal scoring drought and score against his old club. Riley McGree shot from the edge of the area to make it 3-0 minutes later and then Connor Pain gave the Mariners some hope tapping in to an empty net near half time.

That hope was killed off on 53 minutes when McGree had another easily outpacing the Mariners defence to score. Riley Jackson then headed in from a corner and O’Donovan scored the sixth from the spot. McGree wasn’t done on this kicking being given to the Mariners and had his hattrick on 73 minutes. Trent Buhagiar got one back for the Mariners to polite applause before the rout was done when Dimi Petratos made it eight with 10 minutes left.

A record amount of goals scored by the Jets in one game, the most collectively in an A-League game and a loss that condemned a pathetic Central Coast to another wooden spoon. This was not lost on O’Donovan with the Irishman parading a spoon to the what home fans were left at the end of the game. The Jets make a big statement just when many had though they were done this season.

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Roy O’Donovan not feeling the remorse of leaving the Mariners (Photo: Newcastle Herald)

PERTH GLORY 2 (Taggart 24 Pepper OG 86) BRISBANE ROAR 3 (Henrique 30, 52 Kristensen 40)

Brisbane Roar gatecrashed the sixth and final finals spot while also condemning Perth Glory to a deserved early end to the season winning 3-2. Glory had in fact hit the lead when Socceroo Adam Taggart on 23 minutes chipped an out in no mans land Jamie Young to score for the Glory.

From here though Roar were just a better side. On the half hour they had it at 1-1 when club legend Henrique lashed in a loose ball that had deflected out to him at the edge of the area following a free kick. The Slippery Fish striking again against Glory. Five minutes before half time Roar had the lead when poor defending left saw the Dane Thomas Kirstensen left along at the far post and his finish was easy.

Glory were expected to have a crack back in the second half…and didn’t. On 53 minutes it was 3-1 and again Henrique did the damage slotting home after a beautiful pass off by Massimo Maccarone. From here Glory tried to find another gear when they seemed to be on a pedal scooter. With 12 minutes to go Glory were awarded a penalty but Diego Castro (in possibly his last game after an amazing 3 year stint) couldn’t convert. A late goal made it interesting but Roar clearly the better side as the final whistle came to a chorus of boos: Glory fans have most definitely had enough.

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If only Glory put in as much effort to the season rather than just Mad Monday. (Instagram)

 

WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS 2 (Riera 16 Carrusca 42) ADELAIDE UNITED 3 (Diawara 21 Adlung 39 Kitto 80)

With the Roar winning in Perth Wanderers had a simple task, win and they would play Melbourne City in the first week of the finals. It seemed simple enough seeing as they would be at home and coming up against a side that would finish fifth no matter what and had nothing to play for.

At the Olympic Stadium it did initially go the Wanderers way. From the penalty spot the impressive all season long Oriol Riera scored from the spot. Just 10 minutes later though World Cup seeking right back Josh Risdon made a horrible mistake which let Baba Diawara in to finish brilliantly and make it 1-1. Some seven minutes before half time United had the lead and the Roar in the finals when the German toe cutter Daniel Adlung launched home a powerful shot.

Roar were only in the finals for a few minutes though when the Spaniard Carusca headed in in the shadows of half time against his old club with a muted celebration to indicate this. Then when perhaps half time should have been blown Wanderers were awarded a penalty after Chris Ikonomidis was taken out after getting rid of the ball. Riera’s attempt was palmed away this time though and it would be 2-2 at half time.

All Wanderers had to do was not concede in the final 45 minutes of the regular season and they were in. After the penalty save Wanderers now seemed to lose a bit of confidence as United sat back with nothing to play for. With 10 minutes left a rare break down the right for the Reds allowed for Mileusnic to square the ball to the far post and Ryan Kitto tapped in to do the Roar a tremendous favour and save their season. From here Wanderers failed to conjure anything and United ran out winners condemning the former Champions of Asia to mothballs and giving Brisbane Roar a lifeline.

 

FINAL TABLE 

 

Sydney FC                                                   +42       64 pts

Newcastle Jets                                            +22      50 pts

Melbourne City                                          +8         43 pts

Melbourne Victory                                     +6         41 pts

Adelaide United                                          -2           39 pts

Brisbane Roar                                               -7           35 pts

——————————————————————-

Western Sydney Wanderers                     -9           33 pts

Perth Glory                                                  -13         32 pts

Wellington Phoenix                                  -24           21 pts

Central Coast Mariners                           -23          20 pts

 

 

SACRED COW OF THE ROUND – Brisbane Roar

There shouldn’t even be finals or a top 6 but that aside Roar’s ability to make the finals is something which should be congratulated. John Aloisi put together the oldest ever average side in the history of the NSL and A-League and at times were a rabble. The tape numbers on the shirts for example.

Still, maybe because Glory, Wanderers etc were awful they will take part in the finals. This won’t be great for the Roar fans wanting change was Aloisi probably has hit his KPIs for this season.

 

 

CLOWN OF THE ROUND – The bottom four. 

A 10 team league with 6 finalists, how hard is it not to make the finals in the A-League. It’s like a bush footy competition. The Mariners finished bottom after going in to free fall in 2018 after a disciplined start to the season but that was it. Mike Mulvey will need to pull something out of his arse to turn them around next season.

Phoenix had another cursed season with their new coach Darije Kalasic not even seeing out the season and spending two of a total 27 weeks in the Top 6. Perth Glory were again blighted by injuries, infighting and some baffling decision-making by the coaching staff. Fans are sick of it and want not only coach Kenny Lowe gone but the Director of Football Jacob Burns and owner Tony Sage. Their worst season since 2010/11 when Robbie Fowler was with the club.

While Phoenix, the Mariners and Glory were expected to be shitness personified Wanderers were a massive disappointment. Seen as a title chance this season the loss of Tony Popovic on the eve of the season didn’t help. Neither did not having a home with Parramatta Stadium currently being rebuilt. Some of the more dickhead element of their support also had ramifications. The A-League needs a successful Wanderers.

 

TOTAL GOALS FOR THE ROUND – 22 (Season Total 407. Av 3.01 goals per game)

 

WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO NEXT WEEK 

The finals start with the rather unnecessary elimination finals. Both Melbourne sides will host with City taking on the golden ticket winners Roar on the Friday while the big one will be Victory hosting their testy neighbours Adelaide United at AAMI Park on Sunday night. Sydney FC and the Jets get the week off.

 

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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