Thursday 23 November 2017 / 03:31 AM

A-LEAGUE ROUND 5 WRAP

A new leader on the ladder, O’Donovan continues to fire and a season first in Brisbane. The week that was in the A-League, brought to you by Commentary Box Sports.

FC go top, Cahill hurt

Sydney FC have returned to the top of the A-League ladder after edging past Melbourne City in a top-of-the-table clash on Friday night, while Socceroos fans collectively held the breathe after Tim Cahill broke down in the first half.

City had enjoyed a slight edge through the first 40, despite losing Cahill to an ankle injury a quarter of an hour in. Both Milos Ninkovic and Luke Wilkshire had missed chances early in the second stanza, before the latter broke the deadlock on the hour with a neat volley past Eugene Galekovic. Star City import Ross McCormack was looking likely, but Melbourne couldn’t find a way through the stubborn Sydney defence, who survived an onslaught in the final 10 minutes to pick up a victory which puts them back on top of the pile after five rounds.

O’Donovan punishes woeful Phoenix

The Newcastle Jets are clear third on the ladder after a 3-0 trouncing of Wellington, led by who else but Irish star Roy O’Donovan who just can’t stop scoring in 2017.

After dodging an early scare, the Nix laid Newcastle’s first goal on for them with an awful back pass straight to O’Donovan, who duly smashed it home on his second attempt ten minutes from the half. The Jets then doubled the lead in added time before the break, with Dimitri Petratos taking the ball to the byline before cutting it back to O’Donovan for a tap in. Wellington couldn’t sustain possession and were getting peppered at the other end, with Andrew Nabbout’s 54th-minute strike adding to the visitors’ misery. The 3-0 victory providing a sweet reunion for former Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick to return on.

Glory win late despite Izzo heroics

A penalty save inside the opening five minutes kept Adelaide in the game right up until 10 minutes from time, when the Glory netted to secure their second win of the season.

Adelaide keeper Paul Izzo got off to a great start when he saved Diego Castro’s third-minute attempt from the spot, denying Castro a successful penalty for the first time in his A-League career. Andy Keogh was looking dangerous, with two scoring chances in the first half, one a brilliant save from Izzo and the other a clean miss, but even through the second half the deadlock looked unlikely to be broken. An inspired substitution with half an hour to go saw Mitch Mallia enter the field and set up the winning goal eight minutes into his stint, breezing past his marker and lobbing a cross for Keogh to header home.

Roar and Mariners play stalemate in swelter

The Sunday match saw the first 0-0 draw of the new A-League season, as Brisbane and Central Coast battled through humid conditions at Suncorp Stadium with their keepers as the standout players.

It’s not like there weren’t scoring chances – former Serie A marksman Massimo Maccarone just wide with his attempt on 20 minutes – while the Mariners survived the first half having been on the wrong end of a lopsided possession count. Both keepers made quality saves early in the second, as the game came to life inside the final half hour, with both teams enjoying chances on goal. But it wasn’t to be, with the draw leaving both teams down closer to the bottom of the ladder than the top.

Wanderers frustrated into draw

Despite throwing everything bar the kitchen sink at the Melbourne Victory through the final 40 minutes, Western Sydney had to settle for a 1-1 draw on Monday night at Etihad Stadium.

The Spanish connection colluded to net Western Sydney’s first just half the half hour, with Alvaro Cejudo knocking the ball in behind for Raul Llorente who found Oriol Riera’s head. Ten minutes later Wanderers and Riera should have doubled the advantage after they were given a penalty, but for Victory keeper Lawrence Thomas’ brilliant save, and it quickly got worse for the visitors after Melbourne clawed a goal back. A curling free kick was smashed home off the head by Thomas Deng, brushing the woodwork on the way, and for all their dominance the Wanderers suddenly had nothing to show for it. Aggressive tactics and substitutions in the final 20 minutes showed both coaches looking for the win, but further quality keeping from Thomas earned Victory their third draw of the season.

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About the author

Corey Rosser

One of CBS’s newest contributors, Te Aroha product Corey is the New Zealand correspondent for NRL.com, the editor for the excellent new site Kiwi League Central, and a guru of the local Auckland rugby league scene.

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