In a league of their own

by Neil Sherwin

There is daylight between the top two and the rest in the Hyundai A-League with weekend wins for both Adelaide United and Brisbane Roar. Leaders Adelaide cruised to a comfortable 3-0 win at home to the Wellington Phoenix thanks to goals from Sergio Van Dijk, Marcos Flores and Travis Dodd in the space of  seven second half minutes. The win means the South Australians are now a league record 13 games unbeaten and celebrated the feat in front of a healthy crowd of 11,206 at Hindmarsh Stadium. Wellington more than held their own in the first half, but the introduction of Dodd in the second period swung the game in Adelaide’s favour. Van Dijk struck in the 71st minute when he converted Lucas Pantelis’ ball across goal, before Flores doubled the lead with a delicate chip over Mark Paston. Dodd rounded off a frantic few minutes by finished a long ball over the top to seal the win.

Brisbane Roar remain in second spot following their hard fought 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory on Saturday. Mitch Nichols set them on their way when he tapped home Erik Paartalu’s header across goal after 26 minutes, but it wasn’t easy against a dogged Victory side. Indeed, Robbie Kruse drew his side level three minutes after half time when he created space to fire home against his former club.  The winning goal arrived on 77 minutes when great work by defender Luke DeVere gave Costa Rican striker Jean Carlos Solorzano an opportunity inside the area and he made no mistake, finishing past Jason Petkovic. Again Victory rallied however and can count themselves unlucky not to have left Suncorp Stadium with a point following two stunning last minute saves from Roar keeper Michael Theoklitos. The win was even more sweeter for Brisbane as Victory are the only side to have beaten them so far this season following the 3-0 hammering back in September.

It was another miserable day in the west as Perth Glory slumped to their sixth successive defeat,  in the process handing Sydney FC their first win of the season. Marquee Glory striker Mile Sterjovski was dropped to the bench by Ian Ferguson but his replacement Branko Jelic failed to fire up front with the returning Robbie Fowler. The visitors took the lead when Bruno Cazarine nodded Sung-Hwan Byun’s free kick past Alex Vrteski. Sydney could have been further ahead before half time when Alex Brosque beat the offside trap but a superb saving tackle from Scott Neville denied him. Brosque however did find the net eight minutes into the second half. Shannon Cole’s cross was only partially cleared and the Socceroo fired home left footed from twelve yards. The hosts failed to muster any real chances to get back into the contest. Their misery was compounded on 82 minutes when Brazilian striker Bruno Cazarine picked up the ball on half way and easily beat Jamie Coyne before rolling the ball past Vrteski for an all too easy goal. A chorus of boos rang out at nib Stadium from those who bothered to stay until the end as Perth continued the worst run of defeats in the club’s history.

The weekend’s final game was a rather dour affair as Melbourne Heart and Gold Coast United played out a goalless draw at AAMI Park. The visitors will certainly be the happier of the two sides having weathered a storm from the Heart, and in the process extended their unbeaten run to seven matches. Melbourne will feel they should have gotten more a game against opponents who had one shot on target and managed a grand total of zero corners over the course of the 90 minutes. Coach John van ‘t Schip caused a massive shock before kick off, leaving out captain Simon Colosimo for tactical reasons while strikers John Aloisi, Alex Terra and Gerald Sibon were all unavailable. However, Rutger Worm, Eli Babalj and Nick Kalmar all wasted good opportunites to claim the three points. Gold Coast are now in third place on goal difference ahead of Central Coast, though the Mariners do have a game in hand after another weekend off.

The midweek game between the Newcastle Jets and the North Queensland Fury has been postponed due to an unplayable pitch.

Round 12

Friday, 29 October 2010

Melbourne Victory v Adelaide United

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Sydney FC v Brisbane Roar

Central Coast Mariners v Perth Glory

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Heart

North Queensland Fury v Gold Coast United

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Perth Glory v Melbourne Heart

Wellington Phoenix v Brisbane Roar

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