Business as Usual for A-League Leaders

by Neil Sherwin

Adelaide United secured a priceless 2-1 win over third placed Gold Coast United on Friday night to keep themselves in touch with leaders Brisbane Roar at the top of Hyundai A-League. Paul Reid opened the scoring for Adelaide after ten minuted but Bas van den Brink scored a contender for Goal of the Season to equalise just before half time when he fired past Eugene Galekovic from all of 30 yards. Captain Travis Dodd restored his side’s lead a minute after the restart when he headed home Iain Ramsay’s cross for what proved to be the winner.

Leaders Brisbane Roar continue to be the benchmark team in the league, and they comfortably saw off the Central Coast Mariners 5-1 at Bluetongue Stadium to stretch their unbeaten run to 14 games. Indeed, the game was as good as over after eleven minutes as striker Juan Carlos Solorzano helped himself to a brace. Things went from bad to worse for the Mariners as Mitch Nichols added a third goal in the 24th minute. A controversial strike from substitute Adam Kwasnik five minutes after half time gave Central Coast hope, but they were unable to trouble to scoreline further. Reinaldo added a fourth for the visitors before Mariners skipper Alex Wilkinson turned the ball into his own net and Daniel McBreen saw red to cap off a miserable afternoon for the home team.

The spoils were shared between Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory as Archie Thompson became the first player to hit 50 goals in the A-League. Tim Brown had given Wellington the lead at Westpac Stadium before Thompson netted his milestone goal in the 19th minute to equalise. Robbie Kruse then put the Victory ahead before a moment of magic from Paul Ifill salvaged a 2-2 draw for the hosts. Melbourne have now not won away from home in seven games, a new club record.

Saturday night saw one of the most miserable games of A-League football this season as Melbourne Heart and Sydney FC played out a dour 0-0 draw at AAMI Park. Poor weather conditions and a small crowd did little to help matters, and both sides struggled to create chances throughout. Sydney thought they had taken the lead in the first half when Alex Brosque rounded Heart keeper Clint Bolton and shot towards an empty net. However Simon Colosimo managed to get back and clear spectacularly off the goal line. At the other end, Sebastien Ryall blocked superbly to keep out a goal bound John Aloisi effort. In the end a point was a fair result as neither side deserved anything more.

The bottom two sides met at Dairy Farmers Stadium in the weekend’s final game and it was an eventful 1-1 draw. Gareth Edds will have nightmares after in 17th minute miss that should have given Fury the lead but he somehow struck the post from just six yards out. The miss was made even more crucial as just minutes later Robbie Fowler, who had earlier struck the bar with a free kick, scored a stunning header to give Glory the lead. However, as has been the story all season, Glory imploded with Naum Sekulovski and Brent Griffiths both stupidly seeing red to leave their side with just nine players for the final 25 minutes. The Fury peppered Perth’s goal with shots in the final quarter and they finally found the net in the 81st minute when Mark Hughes looped a header over Velaphi. They probably should have claimed all three points but wasted a number of glorious chances in the closing stages.

Round 16

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Sydney FC v Wellington Phoenix

Gold Coast United v North Queensland Fury

Round 17

Friday, 3 December 2010

Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Central Coast Mariners v Sydney FC

North Queensland Fury v Newcastle Jets

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Gold Coast United v Melbourne Heart

Wellington Phoenix v Adelaide United

Perth Glory BYE

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