Top two clash, Heart win as Newcastle fall, Week 18 Wrap-up

A-League

We wrap up an intriguing week of the A-League where were saw 1 v 2, 3 v 4 and 5 v 6 all play each other but it was events in the stands that stole the headlines.

Western Sydney Wanderers 1-1 Brisbane Roar

L Haliti 85’                                                      B Berisha 13’

Crowd 16,401

This blockbuster game kicked things off on Friday night with runaway leaders Brisbane travelling down to ‘Wanderland’ to meet their closest rivals.  All the talk was of Brisbane effectively being able to wrap up the Premiership by moving 10 points clear had they won this one.  Western Sydney started like a team hell bent on reducing the lead at the top and came out firing with some very early chances falling their way.  Brisbane tinkered with their line up and as a result never reached their best in this game but stole a lead in the 13th minute when star man Besart Berisha found space in the box and finished with aplomb.  Western Sydney then battered Brisbane to no avail and Brisbane went in at the break 1-0 up.  The second half started the same way but Brisbane were able to catch Western Sydney on the break a few times and should have wrapped the game up late in the 2nd half but substitute Henrique wasted Luke Brattan’s exquistive chip over the defence.  Brisbane were made to pay with 5 minutes remaining with Labinot Haliti springing up at the far post to equalise and send the passionate home crowd hysterical.  It finished 1 all and Brisbane’s lead at the top is maintained.

Central Coast Mariners 1-3 Melbourne Victory

B Ibini 11’                                          J Troisi 45’, 62’

                                                            A Thompson 50’

Crowd 9,138

Another heavyweight clash with the in form Mariners playing the out of form Victory.  Central Coast’s former Socceroo regular Mile Sterjovski announced his retirement for the end of the season and his side used this has motivation early on with Bernie Ibini finishing off a good move down the left in the 13th minute.  Victory started clawing their way back into the game lead again by Tom Rogic (who was playing against his former side)but they had to survive a blistering free kick from new Mariners signing Eddie Bosnar before Jame Troisi put them ahead on the stroke of half time with a rebound following Gui Finkler’s freekick.  Melbourne then went ahead not long into the second half with Archie Thompson finishing off Adama Traore’s cross. Rogic then set up Troisi in the 62nd minute who finished expertly for his ninth goal of the season and gave a much needed victory to under fire Melbourne coach Kevin Muscat.

Sydney FC 0-3 Adelaide United

                                                  B Djite 16’

                                                F Ferriera 27’     

                                         J Neumann 80′

Crowd 13,335

Inconsistent Sydney’s season went from bad to hellish after this nightmare performance in front of their own fans who finally had enough.  This game will be remembered not for what happened on the field which saw in-form Adelaide easily defeat the home side with 3 well worked goals but by what happened in the stands.  The Sydney faithful are very frustrated at their team’s short-comings at present and despite having hte most expensive playing in the league in their squad (Del Piero) they are languishing outside the play-off spots and their style of play has been dire.  This lead to a group of Sydney supporters holding up banners demanding that coach Farina and the Chairman Scott Barlow resign.  What happened next is a source of conjecture but soon after this banner was displayed a number of Sydney fans were asked to leave the ground and this then resulted in the home ultra’s marching out en-masse in a show of solidarity and protest.  This lead to a toxic atmosphere in the ground which saw Farina showered by a cup of beer thrown by a spectator and it all got very ugly.  The club and the ultra’s are having crisis talks this week to solve current issues but it’s clear that the fans have lost faith in the coaching and management team and there is much soul-searching at the club needed to resolve this crisis.  Adelaide march on to 5th spot after their poor start and are looking good.

Melbourne Heart 2-1 Perth Glory

P Kisnorbo 51’                    S McGarry 71’

D Williams 81’                                                

Crowd 7,218

In what William Gallas described a ‘Furnace like conditions’ Melbourne Heart took this game to Albury where temperatures at kick-off were almost 40 degree.  The game was delayed for 2 hours due to the heat and when it did kick-off this heat clearly affected the players with the first half being very tepid.  Things cooled down after half time and the game heated up when ex Leeds man Paddy Kisnorbo powered a header from a corner to give the Heart the lead.  They looked comfortable in possession after this goal and were seemingly cruising to a 2nd win on the bounce until Steve McGarry pulled one back for Perth after a goal mouth scramble.  David Williams proved to be the Heart’s saviour for the second week week in a row when he headed home at the 2nd attempt after being put through late in the game.  The Heart after being cut adrift at the bottom for so long have bit a run of form and might make a late play at the playoffs.

Newcastle Jets 2-3 Wellington Phoenix

C Goodwin 26’,46’            C Hernandez 21’

                                               S Huysegems 33’

                                                                                            J Hicks 71’                                        

Crowd 10,406

The Wellington Phoenix continued their impressive run of form by edging out a thriller in Newcastle.  Carlos Hernandez started the scoring on 21 minutes with some fancy footwork on the edge of the box before powering a shot home.  Hernandez has really found his mojo in recent weeks and he has been the catalyst for Wellingtons great form.  Newcastle weren’t behind for long as Zenon Carravella burst through the middle of the park before offloading to Craig Goodwin who fired a thunderbolt from the edge of the box to restore parity.  Goodwin was highly sought after in recent seasons by the likes of Reading FC has been off the boil this season but seems to have found some form again.  A topsy turvy half continued though when Hernandez put the Belgian Huysegems through and the league’s top scorer did the rest to restore Wellington’s lead going into halftime.  It was that man Goodwin again though just after the break who scored a pearler after running through several defeners and curling one around the Wellington keeper to tie the game up once more.  In a game of stunning goals the last one may have been the best with young Kiwi Jason Hicks jinking around defenders on the edge of the box before unleashing his own thunderbolt to win the game for the Phoenix and move them into the top six.

The ladder see’s Brisbane maintaining their seven point advantage at the top but its now very tight in the bottom of the Top six with four points separating 5th from 9th for the last two play off spots.

STANDINGS

140210 - A-League

League table courtesy of FIFA.com

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