Official Player Websites Subscribe - Free Newsletter

Sports News First

Wanderers within a point of A-League top

By Chris Pike
17 February 2013 04:11AM EST

ROOKIE A-League club Western Sydney is now within a point of top spot after beating Melbourne Victory on Saturday night with the top-placed Central Coast going down to a rejuvenated Perth Glory.

The Wanderers' remarkable form continued at AAMI Park on Saturday night when in front of a terrific crowd of 21,638, they beat the Melbourne Victory 2-1 to move five points clear of the third-place Victory.

The gap between Central Coast and Western Sydney in first and second remained just one point when the Mariners lost 2-1 to a Perth Glory side playing its first game under new coach Alistair Edwards following the sacking of Ian Ferguson during the week.

Sydney FC was the other winner on the night beating Adelaide United 2-1 at Allianz Stadium to consolidate fifth spot on the table and to cap off a big day that started with the signing of Socceroo Lucas Neill.

After a scoreless opening half, the Sky Blues scored twice within the first 22 minutes of the restart firstly through Terry Antonis and then Blake Powell. Even though the Reds got one goal back through Tomi Juric 78 minutes in, Sydney never seriously looked troubled after going up 2-0.

The victory moves the Sky Blues back up to fifth position on the table to be a point clear of sixth-placed Newcastle but still eight points shy of fourth-placed Adelaide.

Sky Blues coach Frank Farina was happy to get the win, but with Newcastle, Melbourne Heart, Perth, Brisbane and Wellington all within seven points still, he knows Sydney must keep winning. He's glad that will soon be helped by the arrival of Neill though.

"It's pleasing but, although I'm getting tired of saying it, we're just playing it week by week," Farina said.

"The next two weeks will be critical. We've got two away games against the Heart and Perth. It's great we've got three points but we just move on. Everyone's got to fight for a spot and if you've got a spot in this team, you've got to make sure you keep it."

Adelaide coach Michael Valkanis watched on from the stands as he served a one-game touchline ban and assistant coach Sergio Melta accused the Reds of lacking desire.

"We came here with a plan but we didn't execute it," Melta said.

"It's a bit worrying we didn't have any sort of desire. It's one thing not sticking to a game plan but not having any desire to get a result from the game is not a good thing."

Western Sydney's remarkable inaugural season continued with a terrific win over Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park set up by goals in either half to Iacopo La Rocca and Shinji Ono. The Victory got one back through Connor Pain in the 75th minute, but couldn’t manage a second.

Wanderers coach Tony Popovic was delighted with the performance against a side of Victory's quality to now mean Western Sydney stays on a season-best six-game winning run.

"They don't always match - performances and results, but we continue with a long run of games now where we've been performing well," Popovic said.

Victory coach Ange Postecoglou was in a dark mood post-match and reluctant to lavish much praise on the winners.

"They were okay. It was a tight game, they won," he said.

"We're a football club that tries to win every game we play and if we win six in a row and the others drop six in a row we'll finish first."

The Wanderers' charge towards top spot was then given a massive boost with the top-placed Mariners losing to the bottom-placed Glory at Perth nib Stadium in front of just 5909 people.

Glory owner Tony Sage lost patience with Ferguson after eight straight winless games including the last four without Perth scoring a goal giving Edwards the job for the rest of the season.

The Glory responded well with Travis Dodd and Shane Smeltz scoring goals in either half. The Mariners got the opening goal of the game through Bernie Ibini-Isei in just the 13th minute, but for the most part the Glory were the better side from there on the night.

Edwards was delighted with how his new side came out after having just three training sessions with them during the week.

"I couldn't be prouder of the players," Edwards said.

"It was really pleasing to not only get the three points, but to put on a good performance. We controlled the game for large parts, particularly in the second half."

Mariners coach Graham Arnold was scathing of his team's performance.

"It was probably the worst performance since I've been at the club," Arnold said.

"We were totally out-enthused and we were second to everything. We were definitely second best."

Your view first

Add your comment... Comments (0)