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The Sky Blues moved level on points with Melbourne Victory on the top of the ladder after they recorded a remarkable 4-3 win over a gallant Jets outfit. Victory could place one hand on the trophy when they tackle the Roar in Brisbane tomorrow night, a task Arnold insists would not be easy. “All we’ve probably done tonight is keep the pressure on Melbourne Victory tomorrow night. It keeps the pressure on them a little bit and it (the win) will probably take it to the last round," Arnold said. “At the end of the day they’ve got a very tough game against Brisbane. I think Brisbane showed in the second half the other night what’ve got. “Pressure does funny things. When teams don’t have anything to play for they go out and play relaxed and free and Newcastle did that tonight." The Sky Blues fell behind in the opening stanza before a quick-fire brace from Alex Brosque and a Bernie Ibini strike had them on course for a comfortable victory. The Jets pegged the game back to 3-3 with goals to Edson Montano and Andrew Hoole before substitute Robert Stambolziev popped up with the winner with less than 10 minutes remaining. Arnold admitted he was disappointed with his side’s sluggish opening but praised their ability to change the momentum. "I wasn’t happy with the first 20 minutes. I truly believe these boys have got the confidence in themselves that they’ve got an extra gear and when they need to go up an extra gear, they go up an extra gear,” he said. “At the same time when you get to the bigger games and you take the foot off the petal, the concentration side of it is important. The most important thing is the three points and we’re closer and closer to achieving our goals this year."
The Jets pushed Graham Arnold’s men in an absorbing contest and looked to have earned a point when Andrew Hoole netted from the spot with less than 15 minutes remaining. But Sydney FC rallied and found a winner in the final 10 minutes, with substitute Robert Stambolziev netting from close range to secure the three points for the visitors. “In terms of fighting, it was a great effort from the boys. There’s certainly a lot to be proud of there, we lost the game in a way if you do lose, you want to lose it that way,” Stubbins said. “We played a magnificent team I have to say. To get it back to 3-3 and to make it anyone’s game against a class outfit, it’s a credit to all of the players in there." The Jets conceded three times in eight minutes at the start of the second half, with Sky Blues skipper Alex Brosque netting a brace either side of a Bernie Ibini strike. Stubbins admitted his troops failed to switch-on following the restart but hailed his side’s ability to fight their way back into the contest. “They turned it up and we didn’t turn up. That was the problem for us. That period of 10 minutes is something we’d like to forget and put to one side but it’s something we can learn from,” he said. “For us to fight back like we did and play some fantastic football, is a great sign and there is real hope there. It’s a great experience for my players. I won’t be going in there and having a go at anyone. Perhaps on another night we could have got the three points." Stubbins also singled out the performance of two-goal hero Brosque, who has now scored four-goals in his last two matches for the Sky Blues. “Alex Brosque I think at the moment is probably the best footballer in Australia. Without putting pressure on the kid but I thought he was outstanding tonight,” Stubbins said.
MATCH DETAILS Saturday, 18 April 2015 Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane Kick-Off:7.30pm (Local) 7.30pm AEDT) SQUADS Brisbane Roar–2.Jerome POLENZ, 5.Corey BROWN, 8.Steven LUSTICA, 9.ANDRIJA Kaluderovic, 13.Jade NORTH, 14.Daniel BOWLES, 15.James DONACHIE, 16.Devante CLUT, 17.Matt McKAY (c), 18.Luke BRATTAN, 19.Jack HINGERT, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 26.Lachlan JACKSON, 28.Brandon BORRELLO, 34.Shannon BRADY, 36.Fraser CHALMERS (gk) ***two to be omitted*** Ins2.Jerome POLENZ (return from injury), 13.Jade NORTH (return from injury), 14.Daniel BOWLES (return from suspension), 28.Brandon BORRELLO (return from injury) Outs12.Jean Carlos SOLORZANO (unavailable), 33.Luke DeVERE (injured) Unavailable1.Michael THEO (quad – 1 week), 3.Shane STEFANUTTO (calf – 4 weeks), 10.HENRIQUE (knee – indefinite), 33.Luke DeVERE (quad – scan later today) Melbourne Victory–2.Jason GERIA, 4.Nick ANSELL, 5.Mark MILLIGAN (c), 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Gui FINKLER, 8.Besart BERISHA, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 11.Connor PAIN, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 17.Matthieu DELPIERRE, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 21.Carl VALERI, 22.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 24.Scott GALLOWAY, 42.Lucas SPINELLA (GK) ***two to be omitted*** Ins7.Gui FINKLER (returns from injury), 24.Scott GALLOWAY (promoted) OutsNil Unavailable1.Nathan COE (gk) (injured), 26.Jordan BROWN (injured) Hashtag:#BRIvMVC TV broadcast –Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.30pm (AEST) and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand) Radio broadcast –Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app Referee– Ben Williams Assistant Referee 1:Matthew Cream Assistant Referee 2:Ashley Beecham Fourth Official:Alan Milliner BLUFFER’S GUIDE These two go head-to-head for the second time in four days following their rescheduled round 18 clash played on Wednesday night. Victory did enough to get the points in that one and it will be interesting to see what psychological advantage it gives them. And Kevin Muscat’s side certainly has plenty to play for. Top of the league on goal difference, victory for Victory would go a long way towards securing the Premier's Plate. Roar are battling a fewinjuries – especially in defence – and with a crucial ACL clash next week, may have their focus elsewhere. Against a side as well-drilled and prolific as Victory, it could spell trouble. There is some relief in the defensive area with Jerome Polenz, Jade North and Daniel Bowles all named to return and they could all come straight into the starting side. Handy given Socceroo Luke DeVere is out. Victory could be boosted by the return of playmaker Gui Finkler, which will only add to their already powerful attacking thrust. OPTA DATA STATS -Brisbane Roar have lost successive A-League matches against Melbourne Victory for the first time since September 2010 (three games). -Melbourne Victory have not claimed a clean sheet away at Brisbane Roar in eight A-League visits. -No side has drawn fewer games this campaign than Brisbane Roar (4). -Melbourne Victory are one of just two teams (Adelaide United) yet to be awarded a red card this A-League season. ROUTE TO GOAL Even without the influential Finkler on Wednesday night, Victory didn’t lose too much of their thrust going forward. It just led to the likes of Mark Milligan and Carl Valeri giving more in an attacking sense. And how about Fahid Ben Khalfallah? His pass to set up Besart Berisha’s goal was top drawer. Roar suffered without the pace and energy of Brandon Borrello on Wednesday and will need someone else to deliver that for them and give a threat in behind. Dimi Petratos has the ability to be that man but needs to get back to the form we saw in last year’s title-winning success. If Borrello can shrug off injury to play, it would be a huge boost. WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK? Carl Valeri. The Socceroo midfielder doesn’t score many goals but when he does they are generally spectacular. It was his howitzer that sent Victory on their way to victory on Wednesday night and Valeri will be crucial again in this one. Not for his goalscoring but keeping Roar playmaker Thomas Broich quiet at the other end. FORM LINES (five last games) Roar: LWWLL Roar was made to pay for a slow start on Wednesday night, conceding twice in the first half before eventually going down 2-1. The result keeps them four points behind Melbourne City FC heading into the final two rounds. Victory: WLWWD Victory moved three points clear at the top with their third win from their last four matches, but Sydney's win in Newcastle saw that cut. With their superior goal difference, one win out of their last two matches would secure the Premier's Plate. It would be their first piece of silverware since 2010 for the Big V. DID YOU KNOW? Brisbane Roar have only won one of their last eight A-League games played on a Saturday (D4 L3). PREDICTION Brisbane Roar 1-3 Melbourne Victory Roar would have learned a lot from Wednesday’s defeat but four days is unlikely to be enough time for them to turn things around. With the Premier's Plate now within touching distance for Kevin Muscat’s troops, they should get the job done.
Western Sydney Wanderers will be desperate for maximum points to get off the bottom of the A-League. Adelaide United, on the other hand, will still be in the race for the Premier’s Plate. MATCH DETAILS Saturday, 18 April 2015 Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta Kick-Off:5pm (Local), (5pm AEST) SQUADS Western Sydney Wanderers FC1.Ante COVIC (gk), 3.Yusuke TANAKA, 6.Antony GOLEC, 8.Mateo POLJAK, 9.Tomi JURIC, 10.Yojiro TAKAHAGI, 13.Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 14.Kerem BULUT, 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 17.Romeo CASTELEN, 18.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 19.Mark BRIDGE, 20.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 23.Jason TRIFIRO, 25.Sam GALLAWAY, 33.Nick KALMAR, 37.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 42.Adrian MADASCHI ***two to be omitted*** Ins3.Yusuke TANAKA (promoted), 10.Yojiro TAKAHAGI (promoted), 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO (returns from injury), 19.Mark BRIDGE (promoted), 42.Adrian MADASCHI (promoted) Outs31.Alusine FOFANAH (not selected), 38.Steve KUZMANOVSKI (not selected), 39.Shayne D’CUNHA (not selected) Unavailable2.Shannon COLE (collarbone), 5.Brendan HAMILL (thigh), 11.Brendon SANTALAB (shoulder), 12.Nikita RUKAVYTSYA (hamstring), 22.Nick WARD (knee – indefinite), 34.Golgol MEBRAHTU (knee – indefinite) Adelaide United1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (GK) (c), 2.Michael MARRONE, 3.Nigel BOOGAARD, 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 5.Osama MALIK, 7.PABLO SÁNCHEZ, 8.ISAÍAS, 9.Sergio CIRIO, 11.Bruce DJITE, 14.Cameron WATSON, 15.Ben WARLAND, 16.Craig GOODWIN, 18.Jimmy JEGGO, 19.Miguel PALANCA, 21.Tarek ELRICH, 24.Bruce KAMAU, 32.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS, 30.John HALL (GK) ***two to be omitted*** Ins15.Ben WARLAND (promoted), 32.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS (promoted) OutsNil Unavailable10.Marcelo CARRUSCA (quadricep – 1 week), 17.Awer MABIL (quadricep – 1 week), 23.Jordan ELSEY (knee – indefinite) Hashtag:#WSWvADL TV broadcast–Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 5.00pm (AEST) and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand) Radio broadcast -Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app RefereeJarred Gillett Assistant Referee 1Ryan Gallagher Assistant Referee 2Owen Goldrick Fourth OfficialLuke Withell BLUFFER’S GUIDE There’s been a red card in both previous encounters this campaign and the Wanderers haven’t forgotten being beaten 2-1 by Sergio Cirio’s injury-time strike in the most recent clash. It should all make for a ripping contest which is important for both sides, for very different reasons. The Wanderers slipped back to the bottom of the ladder after Newcastle’s shock win - coupled with their loss to Central Coast - last weekend. They have just two games to ensure they don’t end the season with the wooden spoon. Adelaide missed the chance to take top spot by going down to Brisbane Roar last Saturday and need all three points if they want a coveted top-two position. Tony Popovic is taking this one seriously, leaving out youngsters Alusine Fofanah, Steve Kuzmanovski and Shayne D’Cunha. The likes of milestone man Mark Bridge and Japanese duo Yusuke Tanaka and Yojiro Takahagi return. The interesting feature of the Reds XI will come in the front third, with the likes of Craig Goodwin, Sergio Cirio, Miguel Palanca, Pablo Sanchez and Bruce Kamau vying for the three spots behind striker Bruce Djite. OPTA DATA STATS -Western Sydney Wanderers have failed to beat Adelaide United in their last four attempts (D1 L3), and have gone 11 A-League games without recording a clean sheet. -If Adelaide United win this game, it’ll be the second time this campaign they have managed three successive away wins. -Western Sydney Wanderers FC have been fouled 304 times; an A-League-low. -Reds attacker Pablo Sánchez has the best shooting accuracy in the A-League this season, hitting the target with 77.3 percent of his shots (minimum six shots). ROUTE TO GOAL Adelaide’s attacking game has lacked some real penetration in recent weeks, coinciding with the injury to playmaker Marcelo Carrusca. Terrible timing for the Reds. It’s seen Sergio Cirio have to play a more central role – rather than his preferred left wing – and as a result Adelaide haven’t been as fluent going forward. With Carrusca still sidelined, they’ll need to find something extra to get something out of this one. Encouragingly, the Wanderers created a number of chances in the loss to Central Coast last week only to fail to take any of them. Kerem Bulut, who is top scorer with five, was guilty of most of those misses. But his work-rate and ability to get in between defenders makes him a real threat to the Reds back four. Romeo Castelen is also providing plenty of pace and power down the right but will he get much space and time on the ball up against Adelaide’s Socceroos defender Tarek Elrich? WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK? Mark Bridge. The Wanderers attacker will become just the ninth player in A-League history to chalk up 200 appearances if he gets on the pitch against the Reds. Despite an injury-plagued campaign, the two-time championship winner is one of the Wanderers’ most important player. Can his team-mates lift to ensure he celebrates his milestone with a win? FORM LINES (last five games) Wanderers: LDLWL Adelaide: LWWDW DID YOU KNOW? Adelaide’s Tarek Elrich has registered more interceptions than any other defender this A-League season (75). PREDICTION Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1-2 Adelaide United We’re backing the Reds to just edge this one. While Gombau’s men have been below their best in recent weeks, they will want to start building some momentum heading into the finals series. The Wanderers may have one eye on Tuesday’s crucial ACL clash against Kashima as well which could leave the home side vulnerable.
An injury-time goal from substitute Kenny Cunningham denied the Mariners a share of the points in a game they led 2-0 going into the final 25 minutes. “You feel for the players because they’re obviously devastated," Walmsley said. “It’s too soon to reflect on what went wrong but obviously with and without the ball in the second half, we had problems. At no time did we want to be sitting as deep as we were. We’re trying to play a proactive, higher line and press earlier and we knew from the first half, they work very well in midfield to get numerical superiority around the ball so it’s important that the extra man goes in to make up the numbers. “If you don’t get it right they can come tearing at you. They’ve got some good players and they did that very well.” But Walmsley praised the character of his squad who are playing for little more than pride in the final few games of the season. “I don’t think there’s ever nothing to play for. They’re professional sportsmen. They’ve got a real appetite to be challenged. They’re in a development phase and under a new manager so there’s plenty for them to go out and try to work on," he said. “Getting them up for games is really not an issue. The biggest challenge will be developing a level of sophistication in how we keep the ball. In that situation, there was never an intention to shut up shop and defend the lead but what we needed to be was bold in possession and try to run them out of steam, but it wasn’t to be.” Walmsley singled out teenager Anthony Kalik for special praise. “He played without fear. He’s 17 years old, but he’s got pace, he’s got an intent to drive at defenders and put himself into goalscoring opportunities. At training he’s been fantastic as well," he said. "Without a recognised and fully fit number nine we’ve tried a couple of people there and he’s done really well.” The Mariners wrap their season away to Melbourne Victory next Sunday.
The visitors led 2-0 at the break, causing the usually cool Scotsman to unleash a blunt assessment in the changing sheds. “At half-time, I said 'we can’t play like this going into the finals. We might as well give it away now if we’re not going to get into goalscoring positions'. We didn’t really compete as well as we could in the first half. [We let in] soft goals again. But in the second half, they showed what they can do," said Merrick. For the fourth time in five matches, the Phoenix conceded a goal inside the first quarter-hour and skipper Andrew Durante said it was a habit his side needed to fix ahead of the finals. “We were doing our best to test Ernie’s stress levels. You can’t be conceding these goals so early in games," Durante said. “In finals football, you’re not going to come back like that. We’re shooting ourselves in the foot early on. We speak about it every week and it’s crept into our game over the past month. There’s lots to work on.” But Durante was proud of how his side responded in the second half. “It was exactly what Ernie told us to do at half-time – to go at them, and if we got one, we knew they’d panic a little bit," he said. "We left it late but that whole second half I thought we completely battered them possession-wise and chances-wise. We were good and that was an extremely exciting finish.” And Durante paid tribute to super-sub Kenny Cunningham who changed the game when he came on, scoring the equaliser, followed by the winner. “Kenny was brilliant – every time he’s come on, he’s made an impact. Credit to him – he was fantastic," he said. Merrick echoed his captain’s thoughts on the Costa Rican striker. “He brings an energy to the forward line when he comes on. When he starts a game it’s not the same intensity and it’s good to know I’ve got him there. Every game he’s come on, he’s threatened," he said. The Phoenix have now scored more goals (44), achieved more wins (14) and accumulated more points (46) than in any other A-League season.
Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix enhanced their chances of claiming the A-League premier's plate in thrilling circumstances on Friday, securing late high-scoring wins over Newcastle Jets and Central Coast Mariners. Wellington fell 2-0 down to the Mariners to goals from Nick Fitzgerald and Eddy Bosnar. However, a stirring second-half comeback was sparked by Roly Bonevacia and completed by Kenny Cunningham's double - including a 95th-minute winner. Kicking off after Wellington's thriller, Sydney knew they would drop out of the top two if they failed to claim three points. Enver Alivodic put the Jets into an early lead, but Sydney roared back to go 3-1 up by the 56th minute. However, Sydney-bound winger Andrew Hoole set up Edson Montano before netting a goal of his own from the penalty spot to level the scores once again as Sydney fans watched on aghast. There was still time for one last twist as Jets keeper Ben Kennedy failed to collect a cross and Sky Blues striker Shane Smeltz headed the ball across the face of goal. Substitute winger Robert Stambolziev reacted first and slotted the ball home from close range. Sydney are level on points with table-toppers Melbourne Victory, who face Brisbane Roar on Saturday, with Wellington a point back in third.
The Jets opened the scoring midway through the first half thanks to Enver Alivodic before the Sky Blues stunned the hosts with three goals in nine minutes at the start of the second. Alex Brosque netted either side of a Bernie Ibini strike to give the visitors breathing space before goals to Edson Montano and Andrew Hoole appeared to rescue a point for the hosts. But with less than 10 minutes remaining substitute Robert Stambolzievpopped up to break the Jets’ hearts and ensure the Premier’s Plate race goes down to the final round. GOALS 1-0 Alivodic (21’) Jets striker Edson Montano received the ball with his back to goal just inside the attacking half before playing a deft ball over the top for Alivodic. The Serbian winger took his chance beautifully, opting for a first-time dink from a tight angle over which left the onrushing Vedran Janjetovic with no chance. 1-1 Brosque (49’) Sydney FC defender Rhyan Grant picked up the ball on the halfway line before splitting the Jets defence with a sublime through ball for Brosque. The Sky Blues skipper showed great composure before calmly slotting the ball past the helpless Ben Kennedy. 1-2 Ibini (51’) The energetic Ibini produced an incisive solorun before unleashing a thumping strike from distance which was well-saved by Kennedy. Ibini was the first to react and pounced on the rebound, clinically slotting the ball home from close range. 1-3 Brosque (56’) Teenage defender Alex Gersbach was given too much space down the flank and the left-footer delivered a whipping ball for Brosque to nod home his brace. The skipper stooped down low in front of Jets defender Allan Welsh to bury the ball into the far corner, leaving Kennedy with no chance. 2-3 Montano (67’) Hoole played a lovely one-two with Enver Alivodic on the edge of area before sliding a ball across the face of goal to Montano. The Ecuadorian controlled the ball before bundling the ball past the despairing Janjetovic. 3-3 Hoole (76’P) The Sydney-bound winger was felled inside the box as he shaped to shoot and the referee pointed to the spot. The 21-year-old stepped up and sent Janjetovic the wrong way, netting his maiden goal in the A-League 3-4 Stambolziev (80’) Jets keeper Ben Kennedy failed to collect a cross with Sky Blues striker Shane Smeltz heading the ball across the face of goal. Substitute winger Stambolziev reacted first and slotted the ball home from close range. WHAT THEY SAID “It’s definitely very important but we made it tough for ourselves. We were 1-0 down, then went 3-1 up and let them back into the game, so we definitely have to fix that going into the finals.”- Sydney FC’s Bernie Ibini “It’s very disappointing. To be 1-0 up, cruising I thought in the first half. Then we come out in the second half positive and in the same mind fame but we can’t concede three sloppy goals like that.”- Newcastle Jets’ Andrew Hoole KEY MOMENT With the Jets pushing hard for a late equaliser, Alivodic looked likely to pounce on a loose ball inside the Sky Blues area but Vedran Janjetovic showed great athleticism to come out and smother the danger. HIGHLIGHTS REEL Serbian midfielder Milos Dimitrijevicdid his Johnny Warren Medal hopes no harm with another assured performance in the middle of the park for the Sky Blues. Just before the interval, the playmaker showed his class with a sublime back-heel through ball which put Brosque in on goal. Unfortunately the skipper wasn’t able to finish past Kennedy, who produced a sharp save. OPTA DATA Heading into the clash Sydney FC had mustered a league-high 280 shots for the season and added to that tally with 15 against the Jets, including eight on target. COACH KILLER Kennedy had a decent game in goal for the hosts but he was culpable for the decisive goal. The Jets custodian was beaten to the ball by Smeltz, with the striker nodding across goal for Stambolziev to prodhome. BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD The Sky Blues headed into the match with it all to play for but they were out enthused by an energetic Jets outfit in the opening stanza. Graham Arnold’s men created plenty of chances to unlock the hosts’ defence but lacked a killer finish in the final third, with marquee man Marc Janko in particular having an off night. THE FINAL WORD The Sky Blues’ Premier’s Plate hope s are still alive and they will eagerly await Melbourne Victory’s resulton Saturday night against the Brisbane Roar. Arnold’s men travel to Wellington next week to take on the Phoenix and at the very least will be fighting for a top-two berth. The Jets will take heart from their improved showing at home and look towards next season with renewed hope. Alivodic was immense for the Jets and he is one Phil Stubbins needs to secure long-term. TEAMS Newcastle Jets:Regan, Alivodic, Hoole, Montano, Pepper (Gallagher 79’), Welsh, Cooper (Burgess 45’), Kennedy (gk, C), Mullen, Lee, Cowburn (T Cooper 69’) Sydney FC:Ryall, Jurman, Dimitrijevic, Ibini, Naumoff (Stambolziev 71’), Brosque (C), Gersbach, Janjetovic (gk), Janko (Smeltz 63’), Grant (Triantis 85’), Faty Scorers:Alivodic 21’, Brosque 49’, 56, Ibini 51’, Montano 67’, Hoole’ 76’, Stambolziev 80’ Red cards:None Yellow cards:Hoole 25’, Alivodic 27’, Faty 78’ Conditions:Fine, 20 degrees Crowd:8125@Hunter Stadium
Cole broke his collarbone in the 3-1 win over Kashima Antlers on February 25. The Wanderers have two Group H matches left, against the Antlers at Pirtek Stadium on April 21 and in China against Guangzhou Evergrande on May 5. The A-League side can still qualify for the next round as they sit on five points, the same amount as FC Seoul with Evergrande on top with nine points. “I’m back now, feeling good and working hard,” Cole told FourFourTwo. “With only two games to go in the A-League and we can’t make the finals, the Asian Champions League is want I want to be involved with. “My recovery comes down to the professionalism of our medical staff. They never rest, always making sure we are looked after every minute of the day.” Cole said the Wanderers are looking forward to two important, “pressure” ACL games in the next two-and-a-half weeks. “The way the Champions League is set up is great for us as players,” the 30-year old said. “Throughout your career you want pressure games that matter and you want to play them against big opponents. That is when you can show your quality and your character, and that’s the opportunity we have before us.”
Mullen joined the Jets in January after a spell with the Western Sydney Wanderers. In a statement announcing his re-signing, the 25-year-old spoke of his confidence in the under-fire Phil Stubbins. "If I wasn’t happy with the current coaching personnel and structure then I wouldn’t have signed, so that speaks for itself," Mullen said. "I am confident with the team that they are putting together, and feel we can be a real threat next season." It means Mullen will be reunited with former Adelaide United team-mate Nigel Boogaard, who will join the Jets next season. Mullen is excited by the prospect of teaming up with Boogaard once more. "I played with Nigel for a couple of years at Adelaide and he is part of the reason why I was eager to stay," he said. "His [Boogaard's] signing shows the positive mindset of the club and coaching staff. Nigel is a leader, and a born winner."
Goals from Nick Fitzgerald and Eddy Bosnar gave the visitors a 2-0 half-time lead, but the introduction of Kenny Cunningham was the catalyst for a Phoenix comeback as the Costa Rican striker scored twice, including an astonishing late winner. As well as emphatically breaking a three-game goal drought, the win – and the nature in which it was achieved – will give the Phoenix huge confidence ahead of a possible shoot-out with Sydney FC next week for a spot in the top two, and even an unlikely piece of silverware, depending on Melbourne Victory’s results. GOALS 0-1– Nick Fitzgerald (11') Isaka Cernak’s slide rule pass beat the offside trap as Louis Fenton was slow to push up.Fitzgerald collected the ball on the run and finished coolly past Glen Moss at his near post. 0-2 - Eddy Bosnar (35') The centre-back fired a fierce left-footed free-kick through a flimsy Phoenix wall and while Moss got a hand to the ball he couldn’t keep it out. 1-2 – Roly Bonevacia (65') The Dutchman broke a six-hour Phoenix goal drought when he received a pass from Nathan Burns in the penalty arc and angled a perfectly placed shot past Liam Reddy into the bottom corner. 2-2 – Kenny Cunningham (79') As the ball bounced around in the Mariners’ penalty area, it rebounded off a falling Nick Montgomery and onto the chest of Cunningham, who controlled and finished with aplomb. 3-2 – Kenny Cunningham (90+5') In additional seconds in stoppage time, Bonevacia turned the ball into the path of Cunningham who showed composure to side-foot past the advancing Reddy and cue scenes of utter euphoria among his team-mates and in the stands. KEY MOMENT After mounting a comeback from 2-0 down to level at 2-2, it appeared the Phoenix would have to settle for a point when substitute Jason Hicks blazed over from six yards in injury time. But Cunningham’s late, late show supplied the most dramatic finish seen at Westpac Stadium for several seasons. OPTA DATA KEY STATS The Phoenix had 24 shots to the Mariners’ eight, but appeared destined for only a draw until Cunningham put away the final chance of the game. Central Coast contributed fully to a gripping contest and shaded possession, as well as playing nearly 90 more passes than their hosts. The Phoenix won nine corners, taking their total for the season to 149, from which they are yet to score. COACH KILLER At 2-0 up and more than an hour gone, Fitzgerald broke into the penalty area, but fired his shot inches wide from a narrow angle. At 3-0, Central Coast would have been out of the sight, but a minute later Bonevacia scored to start the Phoenix comeback. BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD The Mariners looked for all the world as though a first away win of the season was coming their way in newly appointed coach Tony Walmsley’s first game in full-time charge, until a manic final 25 minutes saw them leave Wellington empty-handed. THE FINAL WORD Football has the habit of delivering moments that Hollywood scriptwriters would reject for being too fanciful. Cunningham was the unlikeliest of heroes for the Phoenix as he came off the bench to make the most memorable contribution of his two seasons in Wellington. He is the quintessential box of chocolates – you never, ever know what you’ll get – but tonight he delivered a pair of after-dinner mints for the Yellow Fever to savour. TEAMS Wellington Phoenix:Moss, Boxall, Sigmund, Durante, Fenton, Riera, Rodriguez (Muscat), Bonevacia, McGlinchey (Hicks), Burns, Krishna (Cunningham). Central Coast Mariners:Reddy, Roux, Bosnar, Anderson, J. Rose, Hutchinson (L.Rose), Montgomery, Cernak, Fitzgerald, Caceres (Trifiro), Kalik (Simon) Scorers:Wellington: Cunningham 2, Bonevacia; Central Coast: Fitzgerald, Bosnar Red cards:n/a Yellow cards:Wellington: Cunningham; Central Coast: Hutchinson, L.Rose Conditions:Breezy, 15 degrees Attendance:6868
City will also be withoutsuspended duo Jacob Melling and Kew Jaliens who have accumulated eight yellow cards throughout the duration of the season. John van't Schip confirmed Stefan Mauk's addition to the squad to media at the City Football Academy, Melbourne, on Friday. “Josh had a little bit of a problem so he’s going to stay here and prepare himself for the Adelaide game,” van’t Schip said. “Josh had general stiffness after the game (against Wellington), a bit more than he had in previous games. "He’s training today and he looked quite good but we didn't want to take the risk now with the long flight and then going to Adelaide and then the finals so we just want to prepare him with a good week of training and make sure he’s prepared for Adelaide.” Singaporean international Safuwan Baharudin is also unavailabledue to a minor back injury. “Safuwan also picked up a problem this week so hopefully he can come back and prepare himself for the Reds,” van’t Schip said. “He’s feeling a bit of tightness in his back and we just have to be careful with that.” Van’t Schip will look to blood youth this week, with the match against Perth coming at an opportune time for the Dutchman to test the depth of his squad. “We’ll have a few boys come in, Stefan Mauk will come in, Marc Marino will come in and we’re going to take Nick Symeoy with us so there will be a few [young] boys who will be travelling with us.” van’t Schip said.
Phoenix and the Mariners had a standoff over McGlinchey after he tried to move to Wellington following a loan spell in Japan despite still being contracted to Central Coast. Both parties thought they had found loopholes to secure his services but eventually the Mariners released McGlinchey despite the FFA stating he was contracted to them until 1 January 2015. Such was the animosity of the fallout, Mariners fans booed McGlinchey, who made more than 120 appearances for the club, on his return to Gosford in October. The New Zealand international has gone on to play a key role in Wellington’s title charge, while the Mariners have endured a poor campaign missing the finals for the first time since 2009-10. McGlinchey will come up against his former club for the third time when they meet on Friday night at Westpac Stadium. “It’s just one of these things where it was time to move on, but I’ve got no bad blood against anybody there,” McGlinchey told FourFourTwo. “I had some fantastic times there. We were very successful. “We finished in the top two three years in a row and won the Grand Final. I’ll always look back there with happy memories.” He added: “There’s still some boys there who I’ve been friends with for a long time. “It’ll be nice to see John Hutchinson play one of his last couple of games. I’ll be looking forward to it and I’m sure the boys will be too.” McGlinchey worked with newly appointed full-time Mariners coach Tony Walmsley four years ago at Central Coast. He said he felt Walmsley was a good appointment for his former club as he is well liked by the group and expected them to be out to impress on Friday. Wellington have their own reasons to impress, and plenty of them, with a top two spot on the line with two rounds to go. Phoenix haven’t scored in their past three games, including two 3-0 home losses, meaning they’ve slipped to fifth, four points behind leaders Melbourne Victory but only one point second-placed Sydney FC who they host in the final round. Wellington haven’t made the top six, nor hosted a final since 2011-12, but are guaranteed a top four finish and a home final this season. However, McGlinchey said that wasn’t enough, stating the playing group believed they could do something special in the finals and said there was a buzz around town about their prospects. “The last three games have obviously been disappointing because we’ve not got any momentum,” he said. “We want to finish the next two games playing well and getting results so the fans can look forward to the finals to support us in the big games.” He added: “I think the boys are confident we can do something this season. “We’ve had two spells in the season where we went five or six games undefeated or have four wins in a row. “When we’re in those spells we felt we could beat anybody.”
The announcement follows a six-hour hearing on Wednesday night before the independent FFA disciplinary committee. Glory was fined $269,000 and disqualified from the 2014/15 A-League finals in response to exceeding the salary cap this season to the tune of $400,000. As part of the resolution, the FFA has dopped a third Show Cause notice to the club concerning fresh allegations during the same period. In a joint statement FFA said it would work with the A-League outfit in reviewing its salary cap process. Today’s announcement was preceded by the resignation of Glory CEO Jason Brewer who “acted alone” – according to today’s statement – and appears to have shouldered the entire ignominy for the scandal engulfing the club. FFA boss David Gallop emerged from the hearing satisfied with the resolution. “Compliance with the salary cap is critical to the integrity of the Hyundai A-League and any breach affects everyone involved, not just people associated with the club in question,” Gallop said. “While we have sympathy for the members, fans, players, coaches and sponsors of Perth Glory, our obligation is to protect the best interests of competition. We can now quickly move on from this matter and enjoy an exciting finale to the regular season and the Finals Series. “We understand that Tony Sage has today accepted the resignation of the former CEO, who has accepted full responsibility, and acted alone, and we will work with Tony to ensure that Perth Glory rebuilds and has processes in place to ensure this does not happen again.” Perth Glory said it accepted Football Federation Australia’s decision and sanction over matters related to the club’s salary cap. “The process provided by this hearing was extremely thorough,” a club spokesperson said. “The club received a real opportunity to be heard by the independent Disciplinary Committee members and put its case. “Following this process the club has reached the view that it was within FFA’s power to make the decision and apply the sanction and that it is in the interests of the club and the game to bring the matter to a resolution.” Perth Glory has provided the following undertakings to FFA: Perth Glory accepts the FFA determination of 10 April including the sanction, which excludes the club from the 2015 Hyundai A-League Final Series and imposes a fine of $269,000 Perth Glory accepts the authority of the FFA to make determinations, including sanctions and fines, in relation to the salary cap No actions will be pursued against FFA in respect of its determination.This includes discontinuing proceedings before FFA’s independent Disciplinary Committee and the West Australian Supreme Court Perth Glory recognises the importance of the Total Player Payments rules and regulations to the integrity of the Hyundai A-League and undertakes to comply strictly with the rules in the future.
MATCH DETAILS Friday, 17 April Hunter Stadium, Newcastle Kick-Off:7.40pm (Local) 7.40pm AEST) Squads Newcastle Jets3. Taylor REGAN, 7. Enver ALIVODIĆ, 10. Travis COOPER, 11. Andrew HOOLE, 12. Sam GALLAGHER, 13. Edson MONTAÑO, 16. Jacob PEPPER, 18. Allan WELSH, 19. Mitch COOPER, 20. Ben KENNEDY (Gk) (C), 21. Daniel MULLEN, 22. LEE Ki-je, 26. Nicholas COWBURN, 27. Radovan PAVICEVIC, 29. Michael KANTAROVSKI, 30. John SOLARI (Gk), 31. Max BURGESS *one to be omitted* Ins10. Travis COOPER (promoted) OutsNil Unavailable1. Jess VANSTRATTAN (Gk) (knee – indefinite), 2. Scott NEVILLE (groin – 2 weeks), 8. Zenon CARAVELLA (ankle – 1 week), 15. Joshua BARRESI (knee – season), 17. James VIRGILI (ankle – 2 weeks) Sydney FC1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Seb RYALL, 5.Matt JURMAN, 6.Nikola PETKOVIC, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 11.Bernie IBINI,13.Christopher NAUMOFF, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 16.Alex GERSBACH,18.Peter TRIANTIS,20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk),21.Marc JANKO,23.Rhyan GRANT,26.Jacques FATY, 27.Mickael TAVARES, 29.George BLACKWOOD,34.Robert STAMBOLZIEV***two to be omitted*** Ins9.Shane SMELTZ (return from suspension), 27.Mickael TAVARES (return from injury). OutsNone Unavailable3.Sasa OGNENOVSKI (hip – indefinite),7.Corey GAMEIRO (knee – indefinite), 17.Terry ANTONIS (knee - 1 weeks), 19.Nick CARLE (knee – indefinite), 22.Ali ABBAS (knee – indefinite). Hashtag #NEWvSYD Broadcast coverage TV –Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.00pm (AEST) and SBS HD SBS One from 7.30pm (AEST) Radio –Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app Referee:Peter Green Assistant Referee1Nathan MacDonald Assistant Referee 2Anton Shchetinin Fourth OfficialStephen Lucas BLUFFER’S GUIDE Sydney FC are shooting for a seventh straight win on the road and head to a place where they have enjoyed a huge amount of success in recent years. The Sky Blues have lost just once on their last 11 games in Newcastle; an incredible record made even more impressive by seven victories in that stretch. The last of those was a 1-0 triumph in March. That was a tight win for Graham Arnold’s side and you would expect it to be just as tight on Friday night. Newcastle is desperate to end a tough season on a positive note and they have shown strong improvement in recent weeks. No-one would have predicted their shock win over league-leaders Melbourne Victory last week.They would love nothing more than to put the kybosh on Sydney FC’s premiership hopes with another big performance. Given their best result of the season last week, there’s unlikely to be any need for Jets boss Phil Stubbins to make any changes to his 11. Travis Cooper has been added to an extended squad. Mickael Tavares has been named to return for the Sky Blues and, if fit, should take the spot of Rhyan Grant in midfield. Nikola Petkovic should be fine despite limping off late against Perth last week, with Alex Gersbach waiting in the wings if needed. OPTA DATA STATS -Sydney FC has not conceded a single goal in their last 451 minutes of Hyundai A-League action against Newcastle Jets. -Newcastle Jets have claimed victory only once in their last 11 home games against Sydney FC (D3 L7). -Newcastle Jets have lost three consecutive Hyundai A-League home games heading into this fixture and have failed to score there in the last four. -Sydney have registered four goalless draws this term; a Hyundai A-League-low. -Newcastle Jets have managed just 196 shots this term which is the fewest in the Hyundai A-League. Sydney has mustered 280 shots which is a league-high. ROUTE TO GOAL Newcastle’s mid-season recruit Enver Alivodic took some time to get used to the Hyundai A-League but has showed his quality over the last few weeks. He came to the Jets with a reputation of being able to produce some attacking gems and he is starting to deliver. What a handy player he looks. His strength, powerful run and assist for Edson Montano’s goal last week was brilliant and Phil Stubbins will hope is a sign of things to come. The Sky Blues have striker Shane Smeltz back from suspension and he’ll add some firepower off the bench. While Marc Janko has gone three games without a goal – somewhat of a drought for the Austrian skipper – skipper Alex Brosque and Bernie Ibini look to be finding their scoring boots.Perfect timing with the Finals Series around the corner. WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK? Andrew Hoole. The pacy winger has been the Jets most consistent player this season but will turn out in his final home match for the club before joining up with Graham Arnold and the Sky Blues next season. What a shame for Jets fans he’ll be in different colours next year. Can he finish his time in the Hunter on a high and dent his future employer’s Premiers’ Plate hopes in the process? His pace and direct approach is sure to be a threat to the visitors. FORM LINES (last five games) Newcastle Jets:WLLWL Sydney FC:WLWLW The Jets moved off the bottom of the ladder with a stunning 1-0 win over league-leaders Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park. It was just their second win on the road this season and only their third clean sheet. Sydney FC made it 12 games in a row away from home without defeat with a comfortable 3-0 win over the besieged Perth Glory. Sydney won the previous clash in the Hunter this season 1-0, while the other clash was a dour 0-0 draw. DID YOU KNOW? Shane Smeltz has scored the most goals of any opposition player against the Jets. He has scored 10 goals in 14 matches against them, although he has failed to score in his last two and hasn’t scored at Hunter Stadium since 2009. So watch out for Smeltzy!
MATCH DETAILS Westpac Stadium, Wellington Friday, 17 April 2015 Kick-Off: 7:30 PM (Local) (5:30 PM AEDT) Wellington Phoenix squad:1.Glen MOSS (GK), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 4.Roly BONEVACIA, 5.Michael BOXALL, 7.Kenny CUNNINGHAM, 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ, 9.Nathan BURNS, 10.Michael MCGLINCHEY, 11.Kwabena APPIAH, 13.Albert RIERA, 15.Jason HICKS, 16.Louis FENTON, 17.Vince LIA, 18.Ben SIGMUND, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (GK), 21.Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c) ***two to be omitted*** Ins:18.Ben SIGMUND (returns from injury) Outs:Nil Unavailable:3.Joel GRIFFITHS (knee – indefinite) Central Coast Mariners squad:1.Matthew NASH (GK), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Josh ROSE, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5.Zac ANDERSON, 7.John HUTCHINSON (c), 8.Nick MONTGOMERY, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Nick FITZGERALD, 12.Liam REDDY (GK), 16.Liam ROSE, 18.Glen TRIFIRO, 19.Matthew SIMON, 20.Anthony KALIK, 22.Tom SLATER, 23.Isaka CERNAK, 25.Eddy BOSNAR, 26.Fabio FERREIRA ***two to be omitted*** Ins:4.Jacob POSCOLIERO (return from injury), 18.Glen TRIFIRO (promoted), 22.Tom SLATER (promoted) Outs:24.Hayden MORTON (not selected) Unavailable:17.Richard VERNES (shoulder – indefinite), 21.Michael NEILL (foot – indefinite) Hashtag #WELvCCM Broadcast coverage TV Broadcast:Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 5.00pm (AEST) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand) Radio Broadcast:Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app and via Radio Sport Extra (NZ) online and the i-Heart Radio app Referee Peter O’Leary Bluffer’s guide The top two is still within reach for the Phoenix, but they’ll need to shake off a goal-scoring fug which has descended upon them since the monsoon storm in Brisbane a month ago. For a team that has scored goals for fun for much of the season, a three-game drought is as puzzling as it is worrying for Wellington fans. This game would appear to present the perfect opportunity to consign the last five goal-less hours of football to the memory banks. Newly appointed Mariners boss Tony Walmsley has already been open about implementing an attacking style of football, so it’s unlikely the visitors will drive a bus into Westpac Stadium and park it in front of their goal. The major revitalisation of this side may have to wait until next season, but the intent was evident in the win over Western Sydney last weekend and there’s nothing to suggest it won’t be on display again here. Opta Data stats - The Mariners are the only side in the A-League to fail to win on the road this season. They’ve drawn six and lost six of their twelve away matches. - The Phoenix are unbeaten in the last four matches between these two sides (two wins and two draws), but the Mariners won eight of the nine meetings before that, conceding just three goals in those nine games. - The Mariners have scored a league-low 18 goals from inside the penalty area this season. Route to goal The previously free-scoring Phoenix have hit a dry spell. Not since August 2008 have they gone three matches without a goal, and should they fail to score in this one, it’ll be an unwanted club record of four straight blank sheets. Nathan Burns, Roy Krishna, Roly Bonevacia and Roy Krishna were all goal-scorers during March and coach Merrick desperately needs one – and preferably more – of that quartet to rediscover their mojo. The Mariners have netted in their last six matches, but haven’t scored more than one goal in a game since their 2-4 loss to Sydney FC eight weeks ago. Fabio Ferreira got both that day and is joint top-scorer with Matt Simon and the now-departed Mitch Duke on three for the season. No other side has a leading scorer with as few goals. Who’s been in the spotlight this week? Interim Mariners coach Tony Walmsley was handed the job full-time for the 2015/16 season after convincing the club’s board and owners he is the man to return the Mariners to former glories. Form lines (past five games) Wellington Phoenix: DLLWW The Phoenix are winless and goal-less in their last three matches, off the back of a four-game winning streak which saw them climb to the top of the Hyundai A-League ladder. Central Coast Mariners: WLLDL The Mariners claimed just their fifth win of the season in their final home game of the 2014/15 campaign last weekend. Did you know? Mariners fullback Josh Rose played the first A-League season (2005/06) with the now defunct New Zealand Knights, making 12 appearances and scoring the Knights’ first ever Hyundai A-League goal. Phoenix goalkeeper Glen Moss (who played nine games for the Knights in their first season) and Newcastle Jets midfielder Zenon Caravella (21 games) are the only others still playing in the A-League who also appeared for the Knights. Prediction Wellington Phoenix 3 Central Coast Mariners 1 The Phoenix know a win may well set up a blockbuster battle with Sydney FC next weekend for a spot in the top two. Expect the dam to burst and the goals to flow again as the Phoenix look to get their season back on track in time for the Finals Series.
Jason Brewer has resigned as Perth Glory's chief executive following the club's disqualification from the A-League finals for breaching the salary cap. An extensive audit into the Glory's finances by Football Federation Australia (FFA) last week resulted in the governing body deeming the club to have systematically breached the cap throughout the last three seasons and by more than AU$400,000 this term alone. Perth have subsequently been fined $269,000 and barred from the 2014-15 play-offs. Glory, who led the league for much of the campaign and had been firmly in contention to win the Premiers' Plate, will be deemed to have finished seventh at the end of the regular season. "I would like to personally apologise for a series of events which have resulted in the club facing sanctions by the Football Federation of Australia," Brewer said in a statement released on Thursday. "As CEO, I ultimately take full responsibility for these actions which have resulted in the club being eliminated from this year's A-League finals campaign." Despite quitting over his role in the scandal, Brewer continued to the protest the veracity of FFA's findings. Perth have appealed to the governing body's disciplinary committee and have also considered seeking a Supreme Court injunction against their exclusion from the finals. "There have been no so called 'secret' or 'third-party' payments made on behalf of the club," Brewer added.
Brewer apologised for the scandal that has engulfed the A-League outfit while maintaining there were no “secret” or third party payments made on behalf of the club. Glory were fined $269,000 and dumped from the finals this season for the alleged deliberate breaching of the cap to the tune of $400,000. Football Federation Australia said it planned to slap the club with a third show cause notice following fresh allegations amounting to $100,000. Club owner, Tony Sage had earlier indicated Brewer would not survive the fall out if breaches were proved. Brewer said it was in the best interests of the club to resign immediately and before the independent disciplinary committee handed down its findings on Glory’s appeal, sometime today. The WA outfit will be steered by senior management until a new CEO can be appointed. In further developments a large number of fans plan to boycott Perth’s Sunday match against Melbourne City – after calling for the heads of Brewer and club owner Tony Sage. See Brewer's statement below: I would like to personally apologise for a series of events which have resulted in the club facing sanctions by the Football Federation of Australia. As CEO I ultimately take full responsibility for these actions which have resulted in the club being eliminated from this year’s Hyundai A-League finals campaign. The decision by the FFA to eliminate the club from the finals, in no way reflects the massive effort undertaken this year by everyone, involved with the club. I would like to stress that I genuinely love Perth Glory FC and all those involved with the club. Two years ago I stepped into the role with the belief that I could make a difference. As a father of three, I have always wanted the best for my family and I applied the same principal to my “football” family and have at all times wanted the best for the club, its staff, sponsors, players, members and supporters. There has been much media speculation regarding the club’s salary cap position. Like every A-League club, we manage it throughout the season and it must be made very clear that this club has made each and every payment through its own records. There have been no so called “secret” or “third party” payments made on behalf of the club. As I said, as CEO of the club, the ultimate responsibility rests with me and for this reason I must take full and total responsibility. It is therefore, in the best interests of the club, I announce that from today I am resigning as CEO of Perth Glory…with immediate effect and before the outcome of the appeal process is reached. I unreservedly apologise to the staff, sponsors, members, fans and players of Perth Glory for the position in which the club finds itself in. Perth Glory is a great club, with a great tradition - it has world class fans, quality players and quality staff... And they should all be supported in moving forward. This Sunday marks the last home game of the season for Perth Glory FC I would like to urge all the members and fans to flock to nib Stadium and give the boys and Kenny Lowe the send off they all deserve. Jason Brewer