The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Round Nine of the A-League

THE GOOD

– While the sending off of the rock Nikolai Topor-Stanley for Wanderers may have helped the Reds, no team has, in recent times, dominated as much as Adelaide United did on Saturday afternoon. To show how dominant they were:

  • Possession – 81% to 19%
  • Shots On Target – 23 to 1
  • Entries Into Opposition Penalty Area – 48 to 3

United were relentless in the 90 minutes, having the ball to themselves as Wanderers chased shadows and blew chunks all over Hindmarsh Stadium. The finish from Fabio Ferreira for the second goal was sublime with Marcelo Carrusca, again, the master of ceremonies in another example of why he is the best and most creative player so far this season.

United were shamed last week by again not standing up when it mattered against the Victory. Perhaps they took it out on the Wanderers to show that they only had a bad start last Friday and tales of their pea-heart had been greatly exaggerated.

It may have only been 2-0 but should have been so much more. Never has a scoreline belied the achievement of one team over 90 minutes.

– So far this season Perth Glory has won in Wellington for only the second time in its history along with their first win in Gosford in a regular season game. Yet, there are still those who are mainly in the Sydney media that have refused to give them anything more than scant regard. Many believed that the Glory hadn’t played anyone decent with the exception of United (their only loss of the season so far) and were there to make up the numbers against the big 3.

Maybe now that the sacred cow that is Sydney FC has been vanquished by Glory in a comeback of pure grit, those in the East might actually start to show some respect.

Glory have it harder than probably every other side in the competition this side of Wellington. There’s the obvious travel burden and the FFA’s complete loathing of the side that has had many in the West showing their displeasure towards the powers that be at games through banners suggesting the FFA goes forth and multiplies. It also doesn’t help that at times the owner of the club, Tony Sage, has presided over a club going from crisis to crisis shedding fans and what dignity it had left.

This season they have suddenly clicked though, from the admin down and especially under Lowe who even had time ‘use the facilities’ (if you get my drift) in the second half when 1-0 down. There was, again, method in his madness with his subs with rather physical midfielder Ruben Zadkovic on instead of the in-form striker MacLaren at 1-0 allowing Glory to hold on to the ball and then attack rather than try and get the ball up to MacLaren with no real enforcer like Zadko on the pitch to get the ball in the first place. Again, it was rare heart shown from the Glory to come back from a goal down and win with a celebration after the final whistle showing how much it meant to them.

The Glory now have as many wins as they did the entire season in 2013/14 and it’s only a third of the way through this campaign. They also have 10 points from 15 away from home when they got 6 from 42 all of last season away from home.

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THE BAD

– Speaking of Wanderers: Apart from the fact their A-League title chances are in tatters, the news of discontent involving the players and payments for the upcoming Club World Cup isn’t helping either. Taking away the lack of facilities, money and time to create the club in their inception, this is the first time Wanderers fans are facing a true test of faith as a team in crisis just around a month after their Asian Champions League triumph.

What also might make it a bit trickier for the FFA with this alleged dispute between the players and a club (that’s always shown pride for its bond) is the fact the PFA has also now backed the players in the dispute. May this golden goose of popularity and community spirit generated by Wanderers not be killed or even maimed through self interest by either side of the debate.

– Two penalties given on the weekend were nothing short of ridiculous. First there was the handball which lead to a penalty in Thursday night’s clash between Sydney FC and Perth Glory. With a shot rocketed at him at 100 miles an hour it was hard for Dino Djlubic to get his arms out the way. It’s also especially harsh when the ball has hit his shoulder and with arms going behind his back in an obvious move to try and get out of the way with split second warning. Still, the penalty was given and duly buried by Shane Smeltz who celebrated against his old side with no false modesty.

The penalty given to Mate Duganzdzic was also nothing short of baffling. The much derided City striker was hardly impeded as he launched in to the box and then went down like he’d been shot. Like most, I was expecting a card for a dive but the penalty was given in what was something that wouldn’t really inspire middle Australia to watch the league.

THE UGLY

– The North Sydney Oval game on Friday night was always going to be a little combative between the fans and club management, let alone the team having to face the red-hot Melbourne Victory. It also didn’t help that some other bad luck besieged the event on Friday night.

First there was the inclement Sydney weather which left many deciding to stay home rather than brave the thunderstorm (hence the 7,000 crowd perhaps). There were also Mariners fans picketing entry points to get their point across they don’t want to share the club with the Northern Suburbs of Sydney who has inhabitants that apparently (in the eyes of the Mariners board) have money to burn, kids in private schools and All-Terrain Vehicles that will never be tested on the term ‘All-Terrain’. Then there was the cricket pitch in a time of drop in pitches that brought the skill level down but not enough for Victory to romp to a 3-0 win. It harked back to dark days for the domestic league. Days when games were played at venues not catered for any sport in any national domestic league.

Let’s also not forget the weather knocking out the coverage during the first half too, that had studio guests at SBS and Fox flustering to kill time until the pictures came back.

Mariners owner Mike Charlsworth is trying to generate more income for his struggling side and that’s fair enough, but if the game at Brookvale later in the season doesn’t show a vast improvement, then the FFA may have to get involved regarding the licence and the way the Mariners go forward to stop Gosford fans being alienated. The North Sydney experiment is a failure so far and the FFA cannot afford to have another team hit the wall.

– Not really A-League but the Matildas have been handed a very ugly group for the 2015 World Cup in Canada next June. As a side that’s always been on the cusp of being a chance to win what is the pinnacle of their sport drawing the two time champs USA and former runner up Sweden (who eliminated them in 2011) isn’t good. Then there’s the African champs Nigeria who are also in their group so that doesn’t help either.

Australia have a very good team that come from the same confederation as the World Champs Japan and are now coming out the other side of a tumultuous period which involved their former coach being turfed in a player revolt. It’s possible to do some major damage in this tournament with star strikers Kate Gill and Lisa De Vanna having their last crack at the big one with able support from maturing stars, it’s just it’s now that little bit more harder.

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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