The Final Whistle: Tom's Team of the Week (Rd 25)

Another round of A-League action filled with goals, cards and drama and our man Tom Stelzer has picked the best of the bunch.

Lawrence Thomas
Goalkeeper, Melbourne Victory

A sensational double-stop to preserve Victory’s lead.

Nick Cowburn
Defender, Newcastle Jets

Continues to impress.

Leigh Broxham
Defender, Melbourne Victory

Deputised well in defence.

Marc Warren
Defender, Perth Glory

A solid defensive performance.

Stefan Mauk
Midfielder, Adelaide United

A revelation since joining the club.

Dimitri Petratos
Midfielder, Brisbane Roar

Inspirational in attack.

Oliver Bozanic
Midfielder, Melbourne Victory

Two decisive and well-taken goals.

Mitch Nichols
Midfielder, Western Sydney Wanderers

The Wanderers’ brightest player.

Filip Holosko
Forward, Sydney FC

Gave Sydney a glimmer of hope.

Roy O’Donovan
Striker, Central Coast Mariners

Saved his best for last.

Bruno Fornaroli
Striker, Melbourne City

Unplayable yet again.

Melbourne Victory 2 Western Sydney Wanderers 0

Melbourne upset Western Sydney in a pulsating match at AAMI Park.

It took the hosts only three minutes to assert themselves when Oliver Bozanic opened the scoring with a rifled shot from outside the box. Daniel Georgievski contributed with a certifiable shocker of a challenge, catching Mitch Nichols high on the knee and miraculously escaping punishment like a footballing OJ Simpson. 

The Wanderers pushed for an equaliser but Lawrence Thomas pulled off a sensational double save to give Melbourne a halftime lead. In the second half, Bozanic carved a yard of space in the box before toe-poking the ball past Liam Reddy and give Victory breathing room.

It was a return to form for Victory and a return to the kind of intensity they’ve sorely missed in recent weeks. For the Wanderers, it was an opportunity missed and a significant blow to their premiership ambitions.

Newcastle Jets 1 Perth Glory 2

Perth edged Newcastle to continue their late march up the table.

It proved a stern test for Perth against a Newcastle side with nothing left to play for and they left it late to take the lead. In the 72nd minute, Nebojsa Marinkovic’s corner eventually fell to Kristin Vadocz to bundle in. Leonardo and Morten Nordstrand wasted a golden opportunity to equalise with a pair of comical mis-kicks before Perth soon made it two.

Andy Keogh was gifted a chance to equal the A-League consecutive goal-scoring record when Nigel Boogaard was adjudged to have fouled the striker in the box. Keogh sent off despite replays showing he took the ball.

Newcastle had a controversial penalty of their very own in injury time when Ryan Kitto went down under slight contact from Dino Djulbic. The Perth defender was also dismissed and Mateo Poljak made sure from the spot to give the Jets a consolation goal.

It’s now nine wins from 10 for the Glory, who reach the lofty heights of four points of the top, and the end of the line for Newcastle’s unlikely finals hopes.

Brisbane Roar 3 Sydney FC 2

Brisbane snatched a win against Sydney in a thrilling finale.

It was a match with all to play for, Brisbane with the chance to go back to the top of the table and Sydney with the chance to not embarrass themselves by missing out on the finals. 

It looked good for the visitors in the 24th minute when Filip Holosko played a nice one-two with Matt Simon before bursting into the box and finding the bottom corner. But Brisbane fought back and equalised eight minutes later after Dimi Petratos lashed home. Brandon Borello looked to have handled the ball before weaving his way through the Sydney box and laying it off for Petratos.

The hosts were ahead soon after a clever lofted cross from Petratos found Jamie Maclaren at the back post to volley in. Sydney huffed and puffed throughout the second half and had a lifeline late on thanks to another Holosko strike. Jade North’s header fell to Holosko who took a clever touch and lashed the ball past Jamie Young.

But it wasn’t to be, as Brisbane carved open the Sydney defence from the kickoff and Henrique was on hand to tap in Tommy Oar’s square pass. It marks a dramatic return to the top of the table for Brisbane and a sorry end for Sydney, who’ve gone from finalists to finishing outside the Top 6 in less than a year, the kind of sporting fall from grace that would make Lance Armstrong proud.

Adelaide United 4 Central Coast Mariners 2

Adelaide saw off Central Coast in a high-scoring affair.

Roy O’Donovan gave the Mariners an unlikely lead early on when he cut inside and finished low inside Eugene Galekovic’s near post. Isaias equalised after his long-range effort snuck past the clumsy Paul Izzo. 

From there, the Reds took the initiative and went ahead after Stefan Mauk slinked his way through the Mariners defence and slid his finish past Izzo. In the 38th minute, Craig Goodwin’s smart square pass allowed Bruce Djite to slide in and give Adelaide their third.

In the 81st minute Pablo Sanchez was hacked down in the box and converted from the spot to put the Reds well out of sight. Minutes later, O’Donovan popped up with a late goal of the season contender, chesting down Josh Rose’s ball and volleying into the top corner.

Melbourne City 3 Wellington Phoenix 0

Melbourne cruised past Wellington to move to the top of the table.

After a tame opening, Bruno Fornaroli and Harry Novillo exchanged passes in the 42nd minute before the former lifted the ball over the defence for Novillo to bury past Glen Moss. 

Fornaroli had his own midway through the second half when Michael Zullo was fouled by Albert Riera. The Uruguayan took the resultant penalty, only to score the rebound after Moss saved his original shot.

He wasn’t done yet and made it three in sensational style when he collected the ball at the top of the box and bended a sensational effort into the top corner. It was another formidable performance and sees City move top for the first time in their history.