Heart’s 2-0 defeat away to Central Coast Mariners has prompted audacious speculation about the Heart seeking relocation to rural Victoria. Their sluggish start to the season has appeared to have a noticeable effect on their attendances and general support; however a win in the derby this Saturday night could see them reach the top 6 for the first time since the opening rounds. 2 uncharacteristic errors from keeper Clint Bolton gifted Pedj Bojic a brace in a game full of chances for the home side. Daniel McBreen couldn’t find his 10th goal of the season despite having numerous opportunities in front of goal while at the other end of the pitch they were impressive in keeping another clean sheet. It makes the Melbourne derby this weekend that little bit more important because if Heart manages to win then they will sit just 2 points behind the Victory, despite all of their supposed issues.
Western Sydney has heaped more misery onto Sydney FC’s disastrous season by winning the second Sydney derby 2-0 at Allianz Stadium in front of a 26,000-strong crowd. The Wanderers fans turned up in their thousands at their designated end and eclipsed the home fans in the vocal war, creating a brilliant atmosphere for the game. Opportunist goals from Youssef Hersi and Michael Beauchamp separated the teams on the night and kept Western Sydney in the top 4, with a safe distance between them and 6th. Sydney sits in last place and although they are just 3 points off 6th place, they have a lot of work to do if they are to be taken seriously. Alessandro Del Piero has committed to a second year with the 2-time champions which add some positivity to an otherwise miserable week.
After that 5-0 drubbing in round 2, Melbourne Victory showed the improvements that they have made since that horrific night by enduring a 1-1 draw with Brisbane at AAMI Park on Sunday. The Victory will be disappointed not to maximum points because of the wealth of chances they created throughout; however it was Roar keeper Michael Theo who stood strong between the pegs to keep his team in the game. Ben Halloran opened the scoring against the run of play after the Victory, namely Diogo Ferreira, failed to deal with an awkward set-piece which resulted in Halloran firing the ball into the roof of the net. The Victory kept coming and after what seemed like an eternity, found the equaliser through Mark Milligan who blasted one past Theo from the edge of the box. Besart Berisha and Mitch Nichols were casualties of a heated second half which involved much questioning of the referee by both players and especially fans (myself included). In the aftermath of the game, the Roar have decided to shift manager Rado Vidosic to the position of Technical Director with former Gold Coast and Victory W-League manager Mike Mulvey taking the reins.
Adelaide United has kept pace with league leaders Central Coast by defeating the troubled Wellington Phoenix at home 3-1. Fabio Ferreira and Marcelo Carrusca continued their spectacular form by both scoring and assisting in quantity. Carrusca unleashed his deadly left foot twice within 5 minutes to have the Reds 2 up 24 minutes in before Ferreira put them 3 ahead at the break with a goal in injury time. Dani Sanchez pulled one back for Wellington with 10 minutes to play before an incredible double save by Eugene Galekovic kept out both a penalty and a simple follow-up to provide a dramatic end to the game.
Travis Dodd has contributed 2 goals to Perth’s 3-0 win over Newcastle at nib Stadium on Friday night. Shane Smeltz added the other in a win which is sure to add salt to a growing wound belonging to the Jets after owner Nathan Tinkler hit financial strife with his many sporting investments around the country. The situation makes for a nervous environment in and around a club which is still recovering from nearly being disintegrated during the pre-season.