The Newcastle Jets showed they can be the team to challenge Sydney FC this season, while Adelaide punished Perth and a Scotsman sunk Wellington. Here’s the week that was in Round 14 of the A-League.
Top two battle out draw
At the end of 90 minutes there was no splitting the A-League’s leading sides, as Sydney FC and Newcastle finished an entertaining clash 2-2 in front of 18,000.
— Fox Sports Lab (@FoxSportsLab) January 3, 2018
The Jets took an early lead thanks to a well-placed header from the prolific Andrew Nabbout, who took full advantage of an accurate Daniel Georgievski cross. But just six minutes later Milos Ninkovic weaved his way through multiple defenders, featuring some classy touches off both feet, to equalise for FC. A good save from Newcastle keeper Glen Moss prevented a Bobo bullet from taking the lead, leaving scores locked at the break. Second-half strikes to Joseph Champness on the hour and Bobo three minutes from time cancelled each other out, with FC surely the happier of the two sides after twice coming from a goal down to maintain an eight point lead at the top. Newcastle had Lachlan Jackson to thank for earning them a point late, with his desperate sliding tackle preventing a Bobo tap in.
Resurgent Wanderers push past Roar
Two goals in the first half lifted Western Sydney to back-to-back victories and resigned Brisbane to their fifth home defeat of the 2017/18 campaign.
The Roar enjoyed some good early chances, and were unlucky to have a Corey Gameiro break called back for offside, but a short time later Spanish Wanderer Oriol Riera rubbed salt in those wounds by banging home a deflected save by keeper Jamie Young for the initial lead. Up top Gameiro’s pace was causing issues for Western Sydney, and they needed a fine save from Vedran Janjetovic on the half hour to keep the lead, before they doubled it via Mark Bridge, who finished a patient build up with a stinging effort right on half-time. Through the second Brisbane had plenty of chances to get back into the match, with Gameiro again denied by a great save, but on the whole Western Sydney had the better shape and continued to build pressure, in the end well deserving of the 2-0 win.
— Pete Sanderson (@Sando076) January 7, 2018
Adelaide crush flimsy Glory
Adelaide started and finished the match well to earn a convincing 3-0 road victory against Perth, who were their own worst enemies despite showing plenty of attacking promise.
In a worrying sign of what was to come for the Perth defence, Daniel Adlung was able to breeze through the middle of the field unmarked to finish the opening goal on 10 minutes, showing a ridiculous lack of awareness from several Glory defenders. At the other end the home side were doing some good things, going close on a couple of occasions through Chris Harold and Diego Castro, and the score would remain at 1-0 deep into the second half. At that point an again unmarked Nathan Konstandopoulos curled an effort around Glory keeper Liam Reddy, before substitute Johan Absalonsen made the most of a muffed take from Reddy to finish into an open net. The win leaves Adelaide in good shape in fourth position, while for Perth it marked a horror two-game spell where they have conceded nine goals.
— Neil Sherwin (@neilsherwin) January 5, 2018
Bench impact gets Mariners a draw with Victory
A late surge from the Central Coast saw them finally find the back of the net and earn a point against a Melbourne Victory side who bossed much of the encounter.
Melbourne had the early running and should have opened the scoring on 17 minutes, but for a clever Antony Golec reactionary block to stop Besart Berisha’s shot off the line, and minutes later New Zealand international Kosta Barbarouses added to the frustration for Victory fans when he smashed his effort off the crossbar. The result eventually came three minutes into the second period, with Berisha biding his time on the ball before finishing to the corner of the goal. With Melbourne looking comfortable on the ball, and continuing to threaten on goal, it appeared for a long time like Berisha’s strike would be enough to get them home, before some inspired substitutions from Mariners coach Paul Okon finished with bench men Lachlan Wales and Blake Powell combining for the equaliser, with Powell’s close-range finish ending a seven-hour goal drought for the Central Coast which stretched back to the start of December.
Late McCormack brace sinks Phoenix
Melbourne City avoided a banana skin defeat to the cellar-dwelling Wellington Phoenix with a late come-from-behind 2-1 victory at AAMI Park.
Good saves early on from the respective keepers kept scores even right up until the closing minutes of the half, when Roy Krishna gave a determined chase on a long ball and cheekily chipped it over the head of an approaching Dean Bouzanis to give Wellington the lead. The Phoenix were burning City on the counter, and came close to doubling their advantage when Andrija Kaluderovic headed off the bar early in the second, while the backline continued to do their job with some crucial late interventions to close down Melbourne scoring chances. But for all their good work, this is a Wellington team who right now don’t know how to win, and with 20 minutes to go loanee Scotsman Ross McCormack evened things up for City before nodding home the winner 10 minutes later, benefitting from a pinpoint cross from Daniel Arzani who capped a great game off the bench with his second assist.
— Hyundai A-League (@ALeague) January 6, 2018