Almanac Soccer: War and Peace (and A-League) – Round 19

The gap between the top 4 and the rest grows, Phoenix continue to show why people like John Kosmina want them out of the league and poor new Socceroos boss Bert Van Marwijk had to sit through three A-league games. Another big round of A-League.

SYDNEY FC 4 (Brosque 8 Mierzejewski 14 Ninkovic 74 Carney 85) WELLINGTON PHOENIX 0

The round kicked off with the inevitable belting of Phoenix by the champs on a Friday night in Sydney.

From the very start the Sky Blues monstered the Phoenix and were ahead on eight minutes when a horrible bit of decision making by the Phoenix keeper saw Alex Brosque swoop in and trundle the ball in to the back of the empty net. Phoenix captain Andrew Durante was right to give his younger teammates a bollocking for the mistake. Then minutes later Adrian Mierzejewski scored yet another goal after another calamitous mistake by the Phoenix defence.

From here Sydney went for the kill of their maimed opponent but desperate defending and some great saves from Italiano kept the score respectable. The flood gates finally creaked open towards the end of the game though when a mistake by Muller let Ninkovic in to lob Italiano in goal and make it 3-0.

The rout was completed in the 84th minute when a special 1-2 with young defender Aaron Calver saw Carney make it 4-0. The usual obliteration of a team by Sydney FC at the SFS. The Phoenix are pants although they were missing two of their most dangerous players. Not a great way for Durante to celebrate being the new record holder for games played in the A-League.

 

NEWCASTLE JETS 2 (Boogard 31 McGee 71) MELBOURNE VICTORY 0

The Jets consolidated their spot in the top two and condemned Victory to yet another disappointing result winning 2-0 up in the Hunter.

The game was initially close with both teams trading blows. On 18 minutes Duncan made a fantastic save to deny Kosta Barabarouses. Rhys Williams then missed a massive chance to put the Victory up which was not good timing considering the new Socceroos boss Bert Van Marwijk was in the crowd. It especially didn’t help that on 31 minutes Williams lost his man when the Jets had a dangerous free kick and another potential Socceroos Nigel Boogard headed home to give the Jets the lead.

From here on in the Jets were the better side although Duncan had to save well to deny Besart Berisha who is probably having his most disappointing season since coming to Australia. With 20 minutes to go the Jets got their second when some wonderful lead up play saw Nabboutt received the ball on the right wing. The former Victory winger’s cross was perfect to young star Riley McGee who finished at the far post.

The Jets march on. The Victory’s season continue to unravel with even a home final looking questionable now.

 

ADELAIDE UNITED 2 (Djulbic OG 12 Mileusnic 38) PERTH GLORY 1 (Keogh 4)

The Reds ensured they took advantage of the slip by the Victory by winning an end to end contest at Hindmarsh against the Glory.

With the pitch looking a little worse for wear because of a dad rock concert with the Foo Fighters there a couple of days before hand it didn’t bring down the skill level. Glory hit the lead early when Harold set up Neville to send in a pinpoint cross from the right that was headed home by Andy Keogh. The Glory picking up where they left off last week.

It didn’t take long for United to be back on level terms when a cross from the dangerous Mileusnic was put in to the back of the United net by Dino Djulbic with a spectacular header. Unfortunately for the big Glory veteran it was at the wrong end. United now had their confidence back and were fantastic to watch with short one touch passing and using pace to create a host of chances on the break when Glory lost to the ball attacking. Mileusnic was constantly providing from the right giving much maligned Glory left back Marc Warren a bath.

Near half time the Reds took the lead when a pass over a non existent Glory midfield let Mileusnic through using his pace to outrun Djulbic and put the ball past the Glory keeper. Awful static defending from the Perth side.

From here United toyed with Glory and ran out the game in the second half as Glory tried subs and other means to get an equaliser. Good strong win to the Reds. Typical meek away performance from Glory in the end after a bright opening.

 

CENTRAL COAST MARINERS 1 (Skapetis 76) WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS 2 (Sotorio 14 Riera 30)

The Mariners continued to slip down the table with another home loss, this time to the equally out of form Wanderers.

The writing was on the wall early when Bridge should have scored for the team from Parramatta after only 10 minutes. On 13 minutes Wanderers had their opener with a spectacular volley from the edge of the area. Olyroos winger Jaushua Sotirio gave the ball a fair whack after meeting a corner with full power with the Mariners keeper getting a hand to the shot but being unable to stop it hitting the back of the net.

On 30 minutes it was 2-0 when a deep cross from the left was met by the big Spaniard Riera who powered a header home. Mariners keeper Kennedy could have saved the ball but the powerful shot managed to slip underneath and over the line enough to be classed as a goal. All Wanderers in the first half.

In the second half Wanderers went a touch defensive and the Mariners had their half arsed shots on goal as the half wore on, Melling having a powerful shot saved well by Janjetovic in the Wanderers goal. On 75 minutes Melling turned provider though putting a cross from deep on the right to Peter Skapetis who headed home for his first ever Mariners goal.

Wanderers held out though for a much needed win. The Mariners limp towards the end of the season after a promising start.

 

BRISBANE ROAR 1 (Maccarone 14) MELBOURNE CITY 2 (Budzinski 19 Mauk 66)

City kept up their chase of the Jets in second with a win at Lang Park against the Roar.

It didn’t look like this would be the case early with veteran Italian striker Massimo Maccarone headed home a free kick early in the game breaking a 4 game goal drought. It was typical Roar though to concede a soft goal minutes later. Young star Daniel Arzani’s defence splitting pass got to the Polish marquee player Marcin Budzinski who slotted home. Arzani then had his chance to score but somehow missed.

The game then went down a couple of levels with not many opportunities unless Arzani had the ball bamboozling and wrong-footing his markers on the right wing showing why the FFA are desperate to get him in a green and gold shirt before he could declare his allegiances to Iran (the country of his birth).

With 25 minutes to go a complete clusterf*ck by the Roar defence with the keeper coming off his line and not clearing saw Budzinski get the ball out near the corner flag. His cross was then pinpoint for Stefan Mauk who steamed in and headed home from close range. Quite excellent patient play from City and Cahill-esque finish by Mauk.

There was hope for Roar though when on 77 minutes they were awarded a penalty. Unfortunately Maccarone went back to his poor form with a meek penalty saved easily by Dean Bouzanis in the City goal. Another win for City who now have a bit of momentum looking to finish higher than their fourth places of the past two seasons. Roar are just….Roar.

 

TABLE

 

Sydney FC                                                   +32       46 pts

Newcastle Jets                                            +19      37 pts

Melbourne City                                          +10         33 pts

Adelaide United                                          -1          28 pts

Melbourne Victory                                     +1           23 pts

Western Sydney Wanderers                   -9           22 pts

Brisbane Roar                                            -8           19 pts

Perth Glory                                                 -13         19 pts

Central Coast Mariners                            -7          16 pts

Wellington Phoenix                                 -14           14 pts

 

SACRED COW OF THE ROUND – Andrew Durante

 

Some may call him ‘Judas’ for renouncing Australia to play for New Zealand but Durante as been one of the mainstays of the league since its inception and broke the all time playing record on the weekend.

The defender started off with Sydney Olympic and broke in to their strong side in the bitter end of the NSL. After sustaining and overcoming a horrible injury with Parramatta Power he joined the Newcastle Jets becoming a key defender and winning the Joe Marston Medal in the 2008 Grand Final win over local rivals the Mariners.

From here he moved to Phoenix where he stays to this day as captain and one of the only constants at the Phoenix has apart from losing matches, locals taking their shirts off in the crowd and bitterly cold winds coming off the harbour. His time with the All Whites after gaining Kiwi citizenship saw him play in Confederation Cups but he never made it to a World Cup.

A fine effort after his injury plagued early years to break the record.

 

CLOWN OF THE ROUND – Andrew Durante’s Wellington Phoenix.

Durante was publically appalled by the Phoenix’s efforts in his record breaking game where they went down 4-0 to Sydney. While better teams than Phoenix have also been thrashed at the SFS by Arnold’s Sky Blues this leaves them anchored to the bottom with just 14 points from 18 games.

Merrick’s fantastic efforts with the Jets after failing at the Phoenix may show how hard it is to keep this team relevant and from not being kicked out of the league. Many feel that the club shouldn’t be in an Australian league but who replaces them. They also have some of the best fans in the league who always make away fans feel welcome in what is a wonderful city in New Zealand. It is a worry though, what does the FFA do with the Phoenix.

 

TOTAL GOALS FOR THE ROUND – 15 (Season Total 248. Av 2.63 goals per game)

 

WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO NEXT WEEK – It’s a split round for Round 20 to give the clubs a bit of a rest before the Asian Champions League and finals start. By far the biggest game of the round is Sydney FC’s visit to City. Both teams in great form. Wanderers will play their catch up game against Phoenix and then host the Jets in what may well be a decent game.

 

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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