War and Peace (and A-League) – Round 4

 

SYDNEY FC 2 (BOBO 45 MIERZEJEWSKI 94) PERTH GLORY 0

The champions continued their unbeaten start to the season along with their hold over Perth Glory with a routine 2-0 victory. The game lurched from average to deplorable for so many reasons.

The crowd was again average, the 7.50pm Friday night slot a little too hard for fans of a team that lose very rarely. Glory also put out a team with tactics from the Victorian era almost that Sydney lapped up.

The lack of numbers and pressure in the midfield meant Ninkovic had free reign and set up a host of chances in the first half. When Sydney didn’t have the ball their work rate to shut down any Glory player with the ball was to be admired. Two shots were denied by Glory keeper Liam Reddy while Bobo managed to smash a penalty in to the crossbar and out.

At the other end, Glory had a rare chance and should have had a penalty when Andy Keogh was shoved in the back. Was there a VAR check? Nah. Then right on half time Sydney broke through but in the most diabolical circumstances. A penalty was awarded when the Glory leftback Joe Mills was deemed to have handballed. The VAR got involved and checked the incident for a number of minutes killing the game’s momentum dead and becoming farcical.

Eventually the call was made for the ref on the field to now have a look further delaying the game. Both Managers making their points of view known to the fourth official. Eventually, after an age, the penalty was confirmed anyway and the resulting penalty kick was put away by Bobo.

In the second half Sydney FC continued to push for a second goal to kill the game off but Glory made some changes trying to get more from the midfield which worked with Mitch Nicholls making his first appearance after a drug suspension. Deep in to injury time the normally much maligned Andrew Redmayne made a wonderful save to deny Adam Taggart who almost stole a point from the game for Glory.

There was still time for more average refereeing and farce though with another penalty given. This time Ninkovic was perhaps tripped by the underwhelming Spaniard Xavi Torres. Again VAR was called upon and again there was confusion before the penalty was given and converted to make it 2-0.

Glory should considering themselves lucky it wasn’t a bigger loss. In the past 6 games the total score now is 20-4 Sydney’s way. Perhaps the farce of the video assistant referee system that is being lambasted from pillar to post at the moment hides the fact that Glory are well off the pace of someone like Sydney FC with tactics and a system that clearly do not work more often than not. The most forgettable game (for good reasons) so far this season.

 

Andy Keogh is quite obviously a big fan of the V.A.R. system.

 

WELLINGTON PHOENIX 3 (Kaluderovic 1, 20 Krishna 17) BRISBANE ROAR 3 (Maccarone 45, 82 Papadopolous 66)

Brisbane Roar showed some rare heart to come back from 3-0 down to draw in a stunning comeback in Wellington.

With the club pointless from the first three games it seemed that further pressure would be heaped on John Aloisi with a scintillating first 20 minutes from Phoenix. New signing Andrija Kaluderovic finished an excellent more after only 90 seconds. On 17 minutes Roy Krishna lashed in the goal of the season so far, the flying Fijian winger given too much space at the edge of the box to smash a thunderbastard of a shot past Michael Theo. On 19 minutes it was 3-0 when Kaluderovic had a third, a goal again created by Krishna. Unbelievably bad from Roar, a rare moment of domination and brilliance for the Kiwis.

After being forced to make changes due to injury the Roar did get one back before half time through Maccarone as former Socceroo Brett Holman started to inspire his teammates in the middle.

In the second half only really got going when a melee occurred thanks to a rash Phoenix tackle and Roar suddenly remembered this game was savable. On 65 minutes a free kick was saved by the young Phoenix keeper but the loose ball was tapped in by Papadopoulos. 3-2! Phoenix tried to ice the game but Kaluderovic shot wide. Then, with 8 minutes left, Roar was awarded a contentious penalty when Papadopoulos was fouled using his momentum to flop on the ground blindsiding the Phoenix defender. The resulting penalty was converted by Maccarone to complete the comeback, the wily old Italian striker making sure the young Phoenix keeper knew about it after being goaded earlier in the game.

Five in a row unbeaten at home for Phoenix now but still struggling for their in of the season. Roar will take heart from a comeback, especially with the fade outs in every other game with their ageing squad.

Handbags: Kiwi style.

ADELAIDE UNITED 0 MELBOURNE CITY 2 (McCormack 11, 16)

There is one less undefeated team in the league after two well-taken opportunities by City saw them win 2-0 in Adelaide.

Back at Hindmarsh for another season and with the opposition featuring four ex-Reds (Galekovic, La Rocca, Mauk, Kamau) United were looking forward to the first big challenge of the season with their new boss. Unfortunately for them it was the Scottish international Ross McCormack who was again the difference for City. After 11 minutes he converted a penalty. Then on 16 minutes his free kick was a rocket beating Paul Izzo in goal and making it 2-0.

United rallied and forced former Reds captain Eugene Galekovic in to a brilliant save. Eugene was perhaps a little inspired after being let go by the club to return to Melbourne so they could bring back the younger Izzo to the club. The Reds were missing key personnel though with new signings Absalonsen and Gulum both injured along with others, the chances to United being snuffed out by an increasingly surprisingly resilient City side with the much improved back four. The high tempo 90 minutes played during the week by Adelaide in the FFA Cup was also a factor.

A red card to Osama Malik with 30 minutes to go gave United a lifeline but City were just too good, too professional, too… un Melbourne City. Top of the league, 4 wins out of 4 and looking impressive. The champions await for them at home next Friday.

Melbourne City have denied that the goal bonus for Ross McCormack is deep fried mars bars.

 

NEWCASTLE JETS 1 (Petratos 68) WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS 1 (Bridge 16)

Both the Jets and Wanderers are still undefeated after a 1-1 draw.

The team from the Hunter Region lifted in the second half to get a deserved point as Wanderers again lacked that killer instinct. The striker who scored the title-winning goal for the Jets in 2008, Mark Bridge, opened the scoring on 16 minutes with a stunning finish after trickery from the Japanese winger Kusukami on the edge of the area.

The Jets lacked a spark with Vargas out for the foreseeable future following his horror injury the week before. Sprayed passes, second guessing at tackles and a lack of drive going forward even getting the usual hindu cow like Ernie Merrick up off his seat berating his attacking players.

In the second half it was a more polished Jets who got the equaliser when star striker Roy O’Donovan turned provider setting up Dimitri Petratos for the goal. Wanderers had their chances before the equaliser in another example of being too conservative, not killing off teams like what had happened in the Sydney Derby the week before. Perhaps the announcement (or lack thereof) a permanent boss is also harming their current mojo having the side with their bevvy of new talent treading water on how the club will move forward.

 

 

CENTRAL COAST MARINERS 1 (Pain 58) MELBOURNE VICTORY 1 (George 65)

The Victory’s season continues to be stuck in the starting gate following a 1-1 draw up in Gosford. The game played at 7pm on a Sunday night in a not so family friendly time slot.

With the Mariners once again in their hot pink to support the fight against breast cancer there were some chances in the first half but the game only really got going after the break. Former Victory striker Connor Pain put the Mariners ahead and some would say deservedly around the hour mark. The Victory were still looking a level down from their best though had their new Dutchman Leroy George to thank for an equaliser minutes later, his free kick brilliant as it curled in to the back of the net past a desperate Mariners keeper.

The Mariners finished the stronger with the sub Appiah rounding the keeper but unable to squeeze the ball in to the goal while Pain also had another chance. A draw in the end and both teams still winless but the Mariners would take heart from this performance after the awful fade out in Perth the week before. Victory though would now have to consider the fact they are in some trouble being lucky to come away from their last two games with a draw. The lack of Berisha was evident with George playing as the Berisha role with Austin given a chance on the wing but lacking finesse. Kosta Barbarouses has been very lukewarm since his return to the club also.

There’s just something missing with Victory at the moment and the evenness of this league shows that even being a bit off will cost you.

Mariners players once again overjoyed to be wearing hot pink for charity.

 

SACRED COW OF THE WEEK – Eugene Galekovic and Melbourne City.

Four wins on the bounce and a defence that would normally leak two goals a game on average now getting clean sheets. Melbourne City might finally be reaching somewhere near their massive oil money backed potential. The new coach helps, as does McCormack coming in for Fornaroli and scoring goals. Their game against Sydney FC this weekend is massive and a good indication about where they are at.

 

Eugene Galekovic also made the most of his return to Adelaide. Eugene captained United to their maiden Grand Final victory and was a mainstay in the side for many years before returning to Melbourne. His save to deny Ben Warland’s savage free kick showing the old boy still has it.

 

ARSECLOWN OF THE ROUND – V.A.R.

Like the FFA it’s a brace of arseclowns for the Video Assistant Referee system. Much was said last week and above so not that much more to add but anyone how saw Friday night would agree it’s a flawed system but won’t be going anywhere for a while it seems as once again the A-League bosses seem to be above criticism and hate change (for the better anyway).

 

TOTAL GOALS FOR THE ROUND – 14 (Season Total 62. Av 3.1 goals a game)

 

WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO NEXT ROUND – As mentioned above City host Sydney FC in a huge clash this Friday night. The yardstick is a good test for the side formerly known as Heart and forever in the shadow of Victory so far.

Victory will also have their traditional cup eve game hosting Wanderers at Etihad Stadium. Both sides are desperate for a win starting their seasons off with a crawl with a big crowd expected. Those not attending will probably be at home picking their clothes for cup day and thinking of which rose bush they’ll throw up in to after the Prince of Penzance Handicap at Flemington.

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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