A League round-up - Emerton strikes but Sydney slump
Total Football's Nick Ford brings you the first in a new series of round-ups from Australia's A League.
The A League was founded in 2004 and features nine clubs from Australia and one - Wellington - from New Zealand.
The 2010-11 season champions were Brisbane Roar, who went through the entire 28-game season unbeaten and qualified to take part in the 2012 AFC Champions League.
Some names will be familiar to fans of English clubs, including the likes of Brett Emerton (pictured), Harry Kewell and Paul Ifill.
In fact, Emerton and Ifill feature in the first round-up, with both players on target in the Wellington v Sydney clash.
Wellington 4-2 Sydney
Ex-Blackburn midfielder Brett Emerton’s penalty gave the visitors the lead but Wellington soon hit back with two goals before half-time. Brazilian striker Bruno Cazarine drew the game level in the 64th minute before a Ben Sigmund header restored the lead for the Phoenix. Victory was ensured deep in stoppage time when ex-Crystal Palace winger Paul Ifill fired home to make it 4-2.
Melbourne Heart 1-3 Adelaide United
Melbourne Heart’s five game winning streak came to an abrupt end as they lost to second bottom Adelaide United at the AAMI Park. The visitors took the lead thanks to a first-half penalty from Dutch striker Sergio Van Dijk. Midfielder Dario Vidosic doubled the lead just after kick off before Van Dijk got his second of the game in the 78th minute. Youngster Eli Babalj’s well-placed shot in the 92nd minute was only a consolation for the hosts as Adelaide ran out comfortable winners.
Newcastle Jets 3-2 Gold Coast United
A Newcastle Jets side that included ex-Leeds striker Michael Bridges won their first A League encounter in five games with a hard fought victory over bottom side Gold Coast United. A Jeremy Brockie brace either side of half-time gave the hosts the lead but the game was far from finished. Gold Coast’s Ben Halloran and Adama Traore scored six minutes apart to draw the game level and surprise the crowd at the Ausgrid Stadium. Any chances of a comeback from the visitors were ended less than a minute later though, when Jets’ midfielder Labinot Haliti’s 79th minute goal was enough to earn the three points.
Central Coast Mariners 2-0 Melbourne Victory
The league leaders continued their run of fine form by extending their unbeaten run to 11 games after a two-nil victory over an underperforming Melbourne Victory in Gosford. The homeside recorded their eight win of the A League campaign thanks to a brace from Matt Simon. The Australian forward put the hosts in front inside the first minute before doubling the lead in the 84th minute.
Perth Glory 3-3 Brisbane Roar
Perth Glory stretched their winless run to five games as they played out a thrilling encounter with last year’s champions Brisbane Roar at the NIB Stadium in Perth. The hosts were two-nil up after 24 minutes thanks to goals from Travis Dodd and Mile Sterjovski. It looked as though Perth would take the lead into half-time but a Mitch Nichols goal in the 40th minute was followed by a stoppage time equaliser from Erik Paartalu. The visitors started the second half the stronger side and soon took the lead thanks to Nichols’ second of the game in the 69th minute. The home side didn’t give up on salvaging a point and won a penalty in the 79th minute which was slotted home by Sterjovski.
The midweek results saw Central Coast Mariners extend their lead at the top of table to six points, with Brisbane Roar leapfrogging Melbourne Heart into second. Wellington Phoenix’s victory over Sydney saw them move into fourth spot with Sydney moving down a place to fifth. Newcastle Jets and Adelaide United’s wins saw them move up to sixth and seventh respectively, while Melbourne Victory and Perth Glory sit above bottom side Gold Coast United in eight and ninth position.