In A League of Its Own 28

Tom’s weekly outlook on the A-League

Thanks to another exciting round of A-League action, the top six is now decided, and teams that have made the finals can now start planning ahead for a successful campaign. One of the teams that have just made it into the finals, are Wellington Phoenix, who, not as I predicted at the start of this season,  have limped in just in front of Newcastle Jets and Melbourne Heart. The Phoenix this weekend, played away to Adelaide at Hindmarsh Stadium. Adelaide were sitting high and dry in the top 4, whilst Wellington needed a win to all but secure their place in the finals. In a match that was quite even, the only goal of the game came 34 minutes in, when Chris Greenacre latched onto a pinpoint Marcos Rojas cross, and nodded the ball in to the onion bag. This means that, weirdly, Adelaide can now slip to 4th place if they lose to the Victory this weekend, and be replaced by Gold Coast.

Melbourne Heart helped Wellington get into the finals the night before, after they drew 1-1 with top 4 placed Central Coast. Due to horrendous conditions at AAMI Park, the game was postponed for over an hour, and when play finally kicked off, there was only just under 4,000 there to see the game. The first half was lacklustre, but early in the second half, Matt Thompson scored a freak goal. Thompson was awarded a free-kick just inside his own half, and he bombed it very long, just in front of Mariners keeper Matt Ryan. The ball skidded off the turf, over Ryan’s head and into the net. With Melbourne Heart still in a state of shock, the Mariners almost immediately equalised, through Danny McBreen, who managed to tap the ball in for a goal with players all around him.

With Newcastle clinging on to faint finals chances, the Jets hosted a rapidly improving Sydney at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Sydney opened the scoring through Bruno Cazarine 15 minutes from time, but his goal was cancelled out, when good old Sasho Petrovski knocked the ball in from close range, after Nikolai Topor-Stanley used his head to square the ball up. Oddly enough, Topor-Stanley has signed a deal which will have him at Sydney FC for the next 2 years. This comes as Sydney try to strengthen their squad for the upcoming Asian Champions League, which they want to have a real crack at.

Perth Glory hosted Gold Coast for the last game of gameweek 26, and it was also a farewell to one of Perth Glory’s most loyal players – NSL & A-League – Jamie Harnwell. Despite it being his final game in front of his home fans, Harnwell conceded a penalty early on, which Shane Smeltz took and scored. 10 minutes after the teams returned from the rooms, Smeltz added another penalty, to make the scoreline 2-0. Youngster Adam Taggart made it a nail biting last 15 minutes for the travelling fans as he scored on his first ever A-League start. The game ended 2-1 in favour of Gold Coast, and they keep the pressure on Adelaide, who currently occupy 3rd on the table and need to beat Melbourne Victory this weekend at home to make it more difficult for Gold Coast to take 3rd spot.

This weekend’s Melbourne game is again from AAMI Park, and is Melbourne Heart’s home game against Sydney FC. The game is at 7pm on Saturday and it is your last chance to see the Heart in action in their historic first campaign.

About Tom Riordan

Tom Riordan is in his second year of a Bachelor of Journalism at Swinburne University. He loves all sports, and plays for Brunswick Cricket Club. He supports the Western Bulldogs and can be found on weekends among half a dozen others in Q38 on the top level of the MCC.

Comments

  1. Victory’s Adelaide Oval game this week should be exciting…local fans have xenophobic blood after the T20 win!

  2. Martin Reeves says:

    Crio – is it a game we want to win though? My understanding is it would set up another trip back to Adelaide for the first final. I don’t fancy us beating Adelaide in Adelaide two weeks in a row.

    Would be nice to knock Palmer’s team out in the first week.

  3. Martin,
    I have no real allegiance here…that’s Tom’s passion. Gotta say i love the prospects of beating adelaide twice – though i don’t mind their team and style.

  4. Martin Reeves says:

    Agree, they’ve been entertaining to watch this year. I don’t think MV can beat them once, let alone twice in a row away.

    It’s been a good year of A-League for the non-aligned.

  5. Martin #2,
    Though in recent years we have had the absolute upper hand over Adelaide in all matches but especially finals (I’m thinking 6-0), this year they are one of the 2 teams I would hate to face in the finals. The other is Brisbane of course. Adelaide defeated us 4-1 at AAMI Park last time the sides met (sadly I was there), but we beat Gold Coast effortlessly at home a couple of weeks ago 2-0. I agree, Gold Coast are the team I would prefer to play in the finals.

  6. AFL V NSL in Adel Friday. Much speculation on size of respective crowds.

  7. Martin Reeves says:

    Should be a decent turn out at Hindmarsh. Solid fan base, home team in form in a must win game. Should be around 16K.

  8. Martin, I think it is at Adelaide Oval?

  9. Oh for the days of the NSL!

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