Almanac Soccer – War and Peace (and A-League): Round 21

Sydney FC continued their ‘march to the sea’, Glory somehow still stay alive and Victory reminded Adelaide who was boss in their bitter rivalry in a bit of a calm before the storm round of the A-League.

CENTRAL COAST MARINERS 1 (Da Silva 45) WELLINGTON PHOENIX 0

It wasn’t exactly a Blockbuster to kick off the round on the Friday with two quite underwhelming teams taking on each other in Gosford.

On a beautiful night on the waterfront amongst the giant sauce bottles a goal right on half time to young star Danny Da Silva was the difference as the Mariners outlasted the Phoenix. The goal was a great team goal with lead up work on the left patient before Andrew Hoole’s cross was met by a stretching Da Silva. The goal was more than deserved after a dominant first half from the home side.

In the second half Roy Krishna was let off the leash and created some chances for the Phoenix with one shot hitting the upright. The Mariners steadied though and had their own chances to make it 2-0 with one header hitting the upright and Da Silva lashing a shot just wide.

A much-needed win for the Mariners after a very long winless run while the Phoenix look more and more likely to put another wooden spoon in the trophy cabinet in Wellington.

 

BRISBANE ROAR 0 NEWCASTLE JETS 1 (Champness 79)

The Jets kept second spot all to themselves for another round after a tight 1-0 win in Brisbane against the Roar. With hundreds of travelling support making the trip up for the game the Jets had two huge chances in the first half through O’Donavon and Nabbout but Jamie Young in the Roar goal was stoic. The first half ended with Roar almost snatching an unlikely lead with injury plagued Socceroo Ivan Franjic heading over from close range and Brett Holman being put in by Massimo Maccarone but Jack Duncan was able to save in the Jets’ goal.

The second half was again a very entertaining game with returning prodigal son Henrique marking his return to the Roar by being put through on goal but the three time A-League champ with the Roar couldn’t square the ball to Maccarone at the far post. Petratos had a wonderful free kick somehow kept out by Young before the breakthrough came with 12 minutes to go for the Jets. Ugarkovic sent through a classy throughball to Joey Champness who scored from a tight angle with a finish worthy of the pass.

A tight 1-0 win to the Jets showing their continuing maturity managing to take their chance and come away with an away win in tough conditions. The Roar would be kicking themselves considering some of the chances they had.

 

MELBOURNE VICTORY 3 (Regan OG 21 George 27 Berisha 59) ADELAIDE UNITED 0

Victory’s Jekyll and Hyde season continued pulling out all the stops to smash a very poor Adelaide United side 3-0.

It was a scrappy goal to open up proceedings on 21 minutes. Leroy George (who else) sent in a cross from the deep the found Berisha who shot home with the ball being kept out but then put in to the back of the net by Taylor Regan who couldn’t clear. George, one of the recruits of the season, then made it 2-0 some seven minutes later with a curling savage free kick beating Izzo in the Adelaide United goal and smashing in to the back of the net. A welcome return to form for the Dutchman.

The Reds were awful and only had their first meaningful chances five minutes in to the second half when the Slovenian international Dzengis Cavusevic came close. Just minutes later it would be Cavusevic at the centre of attention again but for all the wrong reasons. Going up to head a ball with Rhys Williams he managed to tangle with the Victory man with Williams remonstrating. Cavusevic didn’t quite like being lectured to and slapped Williams across the face, something Perth Glory fans would have loved to had done at times last season. A straight red for Cavusevic and the game all but over.

On the hour it was 3-0 with the rout completed through great team work and George (again) setting up Berisha (again) for the tap in. From here Victory pummelled the United goal and could have had two more but settled for a 3-0 win, their first win in over a month and in with a chance of a home final. United were very poor.

 

PERTH GLORY 2 (Kilkenny 84 Taggart 97) MELBOURNE CITY (Arzani 44) 1

Glory kept their faint chances of making the finals alive with late drama against a 10 man Melbourne City in Perth.

The first 45 minutes was as forgettable as you can get in the A-League with City happy to sit back and let Glory make unforced errors when trying to attack giving the ball away and having speculative shots. Right on half time City hit the lead and it was the young star Daniel Arzani who broke the deadlock when he collected the ball on the left wing, danced around veteran Glory defender Dino Djulbic and curled the ball in to the back of the net. Lazy awful defending from Glory and a training ground finish for the youngster some 18 years younger than Djulbic.

In the second half it was much of the same with Glory trying hard but with no shape of confidence, captain Andy Keogh especially out of form. Glory did get a break on 67 minutes though when City were reduced to 10 men. The big Dutch defender Bart Schenkeveld (already on a yellow) slid in on flying left back Joe Mills collecting the ball but also Mills which was a yellow card at best but a second yellow meant a red.

From here Glory made changes and tried to do something, anything, to get a point or three using the bench but losing Castro to an injury. Glory huffed and puffed but finally got an equaliser on 84 minutes. With City defenders complaining to the linesman that it was their throw and not Glory’s the Glory took the throw quickly catching City off guard. Chianese’s cut back was cleared but only to former City man Neil Kilkenny who jinked and then lashed the ball home, his celebration aimed straight at the City coaching staff who deemed him surplus to requirements midseason.

This got the crowd back onside and with Adam Taggart on the pitch Glory looked like the more likely to snatch a win with the Socceroo having two chances either saved or going just over. With some 7 minutes of injury time played due to injuries and other incidents Glory had one last attack down the right. Chianese used his last ounce of pace to beat his marker to send a perfect floating ball over to the far post where Taggart headed in at close range to win the game for Glory.

For City it was a massive blow and probably will cost them a chance to snatch second place off the Jets. Interviews after the game saw frustrated players blaming themselves and the fact they don’t pull together when it matters, the bedrock of any Heart or City side in the A-League so far. For Glory another home win against 10 men that gives some relief to the underfire Kenny Lowe but they are still a woeful side.

 

 

SYDNEY FC 3 (Mierzejewski 44, 55 Bobo 73) WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS 1 (Riera 10)

Sydney FC went behind early but made short work of the Wanderers after that in another one-sided Sydney derby played in horrendous conditions at the SFS.

The Sky Blues are continuing their A-League equivalent of the ‘March to the sea’ tearing up infrastructure and burning crops as they go led by Graham ‘General Sherman’ Arnold showing not remorse to any that cross their path. There was hope for the displaced Wanderers though when they went ahead after only 10 minutes. An awful mistake by Andrew Redmayne saw the ball slip underneath him to an unmarked Riera who tapped in, the goal was also down to classy lead up work by fellow Spaniard Raul Llorente who looks like he should be on the front of a Captain Morgan rum bottle rather than in the red and black of Wanderers.

Sydney FC knuckled down though and pushed for an equaliser which finally come through in the shadows of half time after Sydney FC wore down their opponents through trickery from guys like Ninkovic and sheer brutality through guys like Matt Simon. After a needless foul by Thwaite just outside the area the following free kick was curled in to the back of the net by Adrian Mierzejewski in what was a world-class finish.

With the late equaliser Wanderers heads dropped and were washed down the drain with all the surface water on the typically awful SFS surface. Just a minute in to the second half it was 2-1 with Mierzejewski again who shot home after a deep cross from the left was headed out to the star Pole by Simon who was again all elbows. From here Wanderers were bit part players as the champions ran a clinic. On 72 minutes Ninkovic ran rings around the Wanderers defence before slipping a lovely ball through to Bobo who finished for his 20th goal of the season in 20 games.

Wanderers scored early but that just made Sydney FC angry (to use the old Brazil line) with the team from Parramatta still in a dog fight for a finals spot. Sydney FC gonna Sydney FC even in those biblical conditions that remarkably still saw 25,000 attend.

 

TABLE

 

Sydney FC                                                   +38       52 pts

Newcastle Jets                                            +20      41 pts

Melbourne City                                          +3         33 pts

Melbourne Victory                                     +1           29 pts

Adelaide United                                          -4         29 pts

Western Sydney Wanderers                   -9           26 pts

Brisbane Roar                                            -8           22 pts

Perth Glory                                                 -16         22 pts

Central Coast Mariners                            -7          20 pts

Wellington Phoenix                                 -18           17 pts

 

SACRED COW OF THE ROUND – Sam Kerr’s sense of humour. 

With no real standouts this week unless I repeat myself worshiping at the feet or Mierzejewski or George may I point you towards Sam Kerr’s tweet during the week after the usual lazy and disrespectful ‘Why doesn’t Sam Kerr play AFLW’ article was trotted out again.

 

CLOWN OF THE ROUND – Gosip Gombau. 

While Josip has the pedigree (ex Barcelona youth coach), the charisma and a very good squad pressure must now come on the Spaniard. After taking over Wanderers in Round 5 the Wanderers have been patchy at best with 5 wins, 5 draw and 7 losses with a side tipped to challenge cross town rivals Sydney FC this season. It’s not his squad but the bust ups with players and awful tactics should see him be questioned on the direction he’s taking the jewel in the crown of the league.

 

TOTAL GOALS FOR THE ROUND – 12 (Season Total 282). Av 2.68 goals per game)

 

WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO NEXT WEEK – Next week is a big one with some real 6 pointers that will go a long way to decide who finishes where. On the Friday night is the Melbourne Derby with Victory still a chance to catch City in third place with City having to show they won’t again melt at the business end of the season.

The Jets will see what they can do against the runaway league leaders Sydney FC in the Hunter on Saturday afternoon in a clash between 1 and 2 while Glory travel to Western Sydney needing 3 points to somehow try and keep their finals hopes alive. Roar v Adelaide will also be a big one for both sides.

 

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.

Comments

  1. Peter Fuller says

    Dennis,
    Thank you for your detailed explanation of City’s collapse in Perth. I was away from home so didn’t have access to Foxtel, so I was following progress on the SBS website – a highly unsatisfactory way to barely keep track of what is happening. When Arzani scored, I thought that would probably settle matters, given how Perth have been travelling. When I was also called away from the computer for the duration of the 2nd half, I was flabbergasted to see the final score. You’ve at least provided me with the essentials. I can’t begrudge Kilkenny, he was a goer for City, so he deserves his schadenfreude.
    Some fingers will need to be pulled out on Friday!

  2. Dennis Gedling says

    I must confess I left before Taggart scored the winner. Underground Lovers were playing their first gig in Perth in some 20 years down the road and I left to get to the gig on time once Kilkenny got his equaliser thinking we’d never score another. Halfway down the road I hear an almighty roar. City really shat the bed with this one and it’s symbolic of what they seem to do this time every year. Friday is massive and a good litmus test to see where their ticker is.

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