Draws, routs and walk-outs...FourFourTwo's Tom Stelzer puts his own spin on a round of high-drama in the A-League and names our team of the week.
SYDNEY FC 0 WELLINGTON PHOENIX 0
After a tumultuous week for A-League fans, the action returned to the field as Sydney FC hosted Wellington Phoenix. Despite a number of rival active support groups declaring their intention to walk out mid-match in protest over the FFA’s handling of List-gate, the Cove opted to stay for the full 90, a decision they no doubt regretted as the hosts played out another insipid goalless draw.
Alex Brosque came closest late on and was denied a penalty by referee Chris Beath, one of numerous decisions to provoke the ire of Sydney coach Graham Arnold, who staged a one-man walkout by refusing to attend the post-match press conference.
The club wrote to the FFA the following day requesting Beath be removed from officiating future Sydney FC matches after his performance on Thursday night. Rumours persist that they also requested no rival marquee players be allowed to play against the Sky Blues and that they would be permitted to field 12 players from next match, but these remain unsubstantiated.
Roly Bonevacia was lively for the visitors, buzzing about Sydney’s defence in black and yellow like an oversized bee, but it was a fruitless affair for both sides as the home support stole the spotlight with a series of topical and barbed refrains.
MELBOURNE CITY 5 PERTH GLORY 1
It was an emphatic answer to a run of disappointing home form for Melbourne City as they dispatched an erratic Perth Glory on Friday night. Both sides enjoyed a number of early chances but it was the hosts who seized the initiative thanks to a masterful display from Aaron Mooy.
Cory Gameiro, Harry Novillo and Bruno Fornaroli all looked dangerous but it was Mooy who stole the show, his presence amongst Perth’s defence about as welcome as a Rebecca Wilson article on the A-League. The new father was at the heart of most of Melbourne’s best play, assisting the first two goals before capping off the win with a late penalty.
Glory’s finishing was almost as inexcusably misplaced as an Alan Jones analogy and they only had themselves to blame for going 3-0 behind. Chris Harold was particularly wasteful but Sidnei pulled one back just before halftime to give the visitors a fighting chance.
A lovely Novillo half-volley put paid to any thought of a comeback and an 82nd minute red card for Aryn Williams simply rubbed salt in the wounds of what was a frustrating night at the office for Perth.
NEWCASTLE JETS 1 BRISBANE ROAR 1
David Carney and Dimitri Petratos traded early long-range strikes but both cannoned off the woodwork before Braedyn Crowley seized the headlines for all the wrong reasons, skying an Enver Alivodic cross as the open goal beckoned. It was an early contender for ‘miss of the season’, which ranks just below ‘least resembles a professional footballer’ in the list of unwanted footballing accolades.
Early in the second half, Jamie Maclaren cut inside Lachlan Jackson and slotted past Mark Birighitti to give Brisbane the lead and it took a scrappy Newcastle corner, finally turned in by Ben Kantarovski, to draw the match level.
MELBOURNE VICTORY 2 ADELAIDE UNITED 1
With all the predictability of an FFA board appointment, reigning champions Melbourne Victory saw off current A-League whipping boys Adelaide United to return to the top of the table. It was a match most noteworthy for the departure of the entire North Terrace 30 minutes after kick-off, in protest over the FFA’s inaction regarding banned fans, by which stage the outcome already looked beyond doubt.
Fullback Jason Geria won a 14th minute penalty, duly converted by Besart Berisha, before Oliver Bozanic curled in a low free kick. Marcelo Carrusca also scored from the spot but it was scant consolation for a Reds side devoid of inspiration and direction.
The result puts the Victory in a commanding position, on top of the table and with a game in hand, but means Adelaide equal the most ignominious of club records, as they made it nine matches without a win.
CENTRAL COAST MARINERS 0 WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS 2
The walkouts continued in Sunday’s match at Gosford Stadium as the Western Sydney Wanderers made it five consecutive victories. The travelling Red and Black Bloc staged their own protest but it was the goal-scoring instincts of Romeo Castelen that was the game’s most noticeable absentee.
The Dutchman’s prowess in front of goal was remarkably non-existent as he squandered a number of chances before Brendon Santalab fired the Wanderers into a deserved lead. The substitute slotted home in clinical fashion from a Mitch Nichols through ball to atone for Castelen’s wayward shooting.
A late surge from the Mariners almost rescued a point but Andrew Redmayne made a sensational stop to prevent Nick Fitzgerald before Nichols put the result beyond doubt in the 92nd minute with a veritable trickle of a shot.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Newcastle Jets, Goalkeeper
The form keeper of the competition.
Newcastle Jets, Defender
Rescued a point for the Jets and made an impressive defensive contribution.
Melbourne City, Defender
A maiden A-League goal capped off a solid defensive display.
Sydney FC, Defender
Heavily involved at both ends of the field.
Western Sydney Wanderers, Midfielder
Dominated the midfield to set the foundation for the Wanderers’ win.
Wellington Phoenix, Midfielder
A constant threat to Sydney’s defence and a rare source of creativity in a dour match.
Western Sydney Wanderers, Midfielder
Impressed again. A lovely weighted pass for Santalab’s goal.
Melbourne City, Midfielder
Integral to all of City’s finest play. A majestic performance.
Melbourne City, Striker
The league’s deserved top scorer, looked likely to score every time he touched the ball.
Melbourne City, Striker
A major part of City’s rampant attack and a spectacular strike.
Brisbane Roar, Striker
A clinical finish and could have had more.