MELBOURNE VICTORY 2 PERTH GLORY 0
WELLINGTON PHOENIX 1 BRISBANE ROAR 2
ADELAIDE UNITED 4 CENTRAL COAST MARINERS 0
NEWCASTLE JETS 0 WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS 1
SYDNEY FC 2 MELBOURNE HEART 1
Alastair Edwards’ sons are great footballers insists Alastair Edwards
Round Ten of the A-League saw one of the bottom three clubs – Adelaide United – finally make good on their potential and string together a 4-0 demolition job of Central Coast Mariners. It was welcome relief for coach Josep Gombau who was copping some heat earlier in the week for abusing an Adelaide reporter by criticizing his son’s football talent (“I heard yo’ son sucks s*** at goalkeeping!”).
The Western Sydney Wanderers kept the pressure on Brisbane Roar with a clinical 1-0 victory away to the Newcastle Jets.
Meanwhile, Sydney FC continued to pile on the misery for John Aloisi and his Melbourne Heart who are still winless after ten rounds. Is it possible to go a whole season without winning? You’d think statistically, a game would eventually have to go their way. This time around, the Heart missed out on a draw thanks to marquee striker Harry Kewell kicking what might possibly be the worst penalty taken in the history of the competition. He sprayed his shot wide about three meters to the right of the post which neatly summed up the Heart’s horrendous season to date.
Perth Glory are a club in crisis after senior players directly challenged manager Alastair Edwards in the aftermath of their 2-0 loss to Melbourne Victory. Edwards raised eyebrows this season by signing his two sons and immediately introducing them into the starting eleven. In Friday’s game he took things one step further by benching captain Jacob Burns to keep room for son Ryan Edwards.
Burns lead the post-match challenge against Alastair Edwards. Its understood that Edwards has the backing of the coaching staff and Burns has the support of the senior players. It seems inevitable that one group will have to move on to restore order at the Glory. It could be the distraction that the bottom three clubs need to make up some ground on the rest of the pack.
It’s not the first time nepotism has crept into the A-League. You’d think it’d take a pair of brass balls to manage a club and sign your kid but both Steve McMahon and Branko Culina have done just that. It didn’t work out too great for either of them.
The Brisbane Roar returned to Westpac Stadium, the site of their away victory over Wellington Phoenix in their season opener. Since that last minute winner scored by Ivan Franjic in Round One, the Roar have had it all their own way. In fact, with 17 points between the sides, it seemed that complacency was one of the biggest threats to the Roar on Saturday.
If everything is going right for the Roar right, it seems that equally, nothing is coming together for the Phoenix. They have put in plenty of strong performances this season but inexplicably, have yet to register a win. It’s easy to see why Melbourne Heart haven’t won all season. They’re completely useless. The Nix on the other hand seem to find a crueler way to squander points. Conceding last minute goals, hitting the post and that sort of thing.
Not much changed in Round Ten for either team’s fortunes. In fact, it was the same scoreline and the same player who scored the winner – Ivan Franjic securing a 2-1 win for the Roar in the eightieth.
Wellington will be ruing two spurned chances from the first half that they should have put away. Stein Huysegems only needed to pass to Jeremy Brockie who was unmarked and six yards out and available for a tap-in. Instead, Stein blasted the ball straight at Michael Theo who saved comfortably for the Roar. Not long after, another Huysegems shot was parried to Brockie who spooned the follow up shot in what can only be described as the miss of the season.
Matt Smith gave the Roar the lead in the first half after absorbing the pressure from the Phoenix’s wasteful attacking opportunities. The game came to life in the second half when Kenny Cunningham dived to win a penalty for the Nix which Carlos Hernandez duly converted. The Roar missed a penalty of their own after Jack Hingert was brought down in the area. In a rather bizarre and blatant instance of one-eyed commentary, Fred De Jong determined that Cunningham had got ‘the rub of the green’ for his penalty whilst Albert Riera’s clumsy challenge was fair game. Ultimately, Besart Berisha’s missed penalty didn’t matter as Ivan Franjic secured the game for the Roar, curling in a peach of a goal from outside the penalty area with ten minutes to go.
The Roar continue to sit five points clear at the top of the table, playing below their best and still coming away with the maximum points. Everything appears to be rosy for the moment but I suspect a single loss will have Western Sydney Wanderers right back on their heels.