Five things we learned this week in the A-League

The less games played at oval stadia the better for spectators

The A-League is at something of a crossroads given its increase in popularity. A record 106,082 people passed through the gates over the weekend as the case strengthens for moving more games to bigger venues.

While it makes perfect sense from a monetary perspective, the problem is Australia’s lack of large rectangular venues in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, and fans suffer when games are held at cricket/AFL grounds.

The latest example was Friday’s 1-1 draw between Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory at Adelaide Oval, a superb newly renovated stadium in its own right but horrible for the round ball game given the distance from supporters in the stands to the playing field.

As the league tries to maximise its potential in terms of the number of match going spectators, we’re likely to see more games shifted in the same fashion.

 

Never play a back pass on target

Young Wellington Phoenix defender Tom Doyle was taught a very harsh lesson on Saturday as he turned the ball into his own net against the Central Coast Mariners on Saturday afternoon.

Doyle attempted to play a pass back to goalkeeper Glen Moss but a lack of communication resulted the Mariners being gifted the game’s opening goal.

Luckily for the Nix, they fought back well and claimed all three points thanks to goals from Michael McGlinchey, a headed rebound after Jeremy Brockie’s penalty had hit the crossbar, and Nathan Burns.

The Sydney Derby is only going to get bigger

The Sydney Derby very much delivered in terms of entertainment, even if the quality of football on display was farcical at times.

Sydney FC recovered from going two goals down, one of which was an own goal from goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic who punched the ball into his own net, to claim a 3-2 win.

There was plenty of passion on display in the stands, and it extended to the pitch as Western Sydney Wanderers’ Vitor Saba saw red for a lunge on Terry Antonis, while fans spilled onto the pitch in celebration following Alex Brosque’s winner on 79 minutes.

The attendance of 41,213, the biggest turn out at Allianz Stadium for a regular season game in any code, has fuelled speculation about a future derby being held at ANZ Stadium, which holds over 80,000.

 

Even David Villa won’t guarantee you wins

There have been plenty of positives to Melbourne City’s start to the season, namely David Villa bagging two goals in a game and a half and the non-Derby record attendance of 15,717 against the Newcastle Jets on Saturday.

However, John van’t Schip’s side have yet to find the winning formula and couldn’t capitalise on having more than twice as many shots as their opponents at AAMI Park.

There is also still a question mark hanging over their defence, which includes winger Iain Ramsay playing at left back, and Jason Hoffman who is a converted midfielder.

Villa may continue to paper over some of the cracks but with only eight games left in his guest stint, City will need to get their house in order very quickly.

Perth Glory fans have found a new hero

After opening his A-League account last week against the Wellington Phoenix, Andy Keogh helped himself to a hat-trick as Perth Glory overcame last year’s champions Brisbane Roar 3-2.

There were question marks over the Irishman’s second goal as his shot looked to be heading wide before taking a wicked deflection off James Donachie. However, Football Federation Australia confirmed that the treble would stand.

Either side of that, Keogh calmly rolled a penalty passed Roar goalkeeper Jamie Young and, in the 92nd minute, headed a Scott Jamieson corner into the net for the match winner.

Keogh is now the first player to score four goals in his first two A-League games and has brought a clinical element to a notoriously goal-shy team who now top the table.

Author Details

Neil Sherwin
Neil Sherwin

Co-editor of BackPageFootball.com. Writes mostly on Premier League and A-League with contributions to other sites including TheFootballSack, InBedWithMaradona and Bloomberg's BSports. Has featured on The Guardian's Football Weekly.

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