With just six games left in the 2015/16 A-League regular season, which players are stepping up for their teams in the run-in to the top six? Tom Stelzer names his Team of the Week for Round 21.
Goalkeeper, Wellington Phoenix
Capped off a solid game with a vital stop on Bruno Fornaroli.
Defender, Wellington Phoenix
Another captain’s performance.
Defender, Adelaide United
Made valuable contributions at both ends of the pitch.
Defender, Newcastle Jets
A crucial late tackle on Mitch Austin to secure three points.
Midfielder, Adelaide United
Instrumental to Adelaide’s attacking fluidity.
Midfielder, Sydney FC
Looked composed and worked tirelessly in midfield.
Midfielder, Wellington Phoenix
Lively for the home side and created the opener.
Forward, Melbourne Victory
Melbourne’s goal scorer and best attacking outlet.
Forward, Adelaide United
Seized his opportunity with both hands.
Forward, Sydney FC
A moment of brilliance that rescued a point for Sydney.
Striker, Western Sydney Wanderers
His late goals have been vital to the Wanderers’ season.
Wellington Phoenix 2 Melbourne City 1
Wellington edged out Melbourne City at a windy Westpac stadium.
The Phoenix fans were out to celebrate the club’s licence extension and were rewarded when the home side struck early.
Wellington were out of the gates quicker than a rabid greyhound and led 2-0 after 15 minutes. First Louis Fenton got one off the end of Michael McGlinchey’s piercing pass before Matthew Ridenton did the same from a cross by Roly Bonevacia.
Aaron Mooy reduced the deficit minutes later when his deflected free-kick beat Glen Moss. Bruno Fornaroli had a brilliant chance to equalise in the 22nd minute but was denied by the impressive Moss.
From there the goal frenzy was over and Wellington held off the dominant City to secure victory.
Western Sydney Wanderers 2 Perth Glory 1
Western Sydney left it late again to see off the resurgent Perth Glory.
After a goalless first half, Romeo Castelen opened the scoring in the 62nd minute. Mitch Nichols played in the Dutchman, who cut back and whipped his shot into the bottom corner.
But Glory were level mere seconds later when Nikolai Topor-Stanley bundled over Chris Harold, allowing Andy Keogh to score from the spot. Harold had the chance to win it late on, but his close-range header went wide.
He was made to pay when Mark Bridge’s chip found professional super sub Brendon Santalab, whose outstretched dink looped over Ante Covic and into the net. The result is a setback for Perth’s finals aspirations but leaves the Wanderers top of the table.
Adelaide United 3 Brisbane Roar 0
Adelaide outclassed an insipid Brisbane to move two points off top spot.
It may be unlucky for some, but Adelaide made it 13th matches unbeaten, sweeping aside the kings of A-League undefeated runs to dispel any doubts about their unforeseen Premiership aspirations.
Bruce Kamau opened the account late in the first half after intricate buildup play from Stefan Mauk and Sergio Cirio. Bruce Djite added a second the other side of halftime, tapping home after Kamau’s shot was parried by Michael Theo.
Brisbane’s misery was compounded when Djite’s shot rebounded off Theo and fell to Pablo Sanchez to knock in. Adelaide now sit second on the ladder and leave a Brisbane side reeling from successive thrashings.
Melbourne Victory 1 Sydney FC 1
A 10-man Sydney fought back to rescue a point from Melbourne Victory in a heated Big Blue.
It was a first half low on quality but with more dodgy tackles than a second-rate fishing shop. Kosta Barbarouses looked fortunate to stay on the pitch after a poor challenge on Milos Ninkovic and Seb Ryall was left bloodied after a collision with Rashid Mehazi’s arm.
Barbarouses found the breakthrough seconds after the restart, cutting across Rhyan Grant to drill past Vedran Janjetovic. Sydney looked dead and buried after Jacques Faty blundered his way to a red card in the 64th minute. The defender bungled a regulation back pass before pulling back Besart Berisha as he bore down on goal.
But Sydney fought back well and David Carney gave them a lifeline when he ghosted past Thomas Deng and fired home after a lovely solo run. Daniel Georgievski was denied by a last-ditch Matthew Jurman block in injury time and Sydney clung on for a valuable draw.
Central Coast Mariners 0 Newcastle Jets 1
Newcastle held on to beat local rivals Central Coast in the F3 Derby.
It took a maiden A-League goal from Steven Ugarkovic for the Jets to break an eight year winless run away to the Mariners.
Donning a surf lifesaving kit, the Mariners were all at sea when Josh Rose missed Morten Nordstrand’s pass and left Ugarkovic to beat a stranded Paul Izzo. Mitch Austin almost equalised soon after but was denied by a sliding Nick Cowburn to ensure the Jets made it four matches unbeaten.
The win moves them four points off the top six and keeps alive their slim finals hopes, whilst the Mariners sit adrift at the bottom of the table.