The end of 2018 saw a clash between the top and bottom sides on the A-League standings as the Perth Glory came away with an impressive victory on the road while in the first game of 2019 – ten men Melbourne City saw off the Western Sydney Wanderers.
New Year’s Eve – Central Coast Mariners 1-4 Perth Glory
As end of the year came and went, two sides with differing fortunes to the start of both their A-League campaigns played a game marred by more than the final result.
The winless Central Coast were dealt another blow in this defeat and were embarrassed in the early stages of the game when Glory defender, Tomislav Mrcela ran into the Mariners goal – breaking the goal-post in the process and forcing a 40-minute delay until play was resumed.
The ground staff was forced to replace both goals with portable training goals which were stationed below the stadium with the unaffected goals needing replacement so they matched dimensions at either end.
Prior to this, the Glory were ahead thanks to Andy Keogh who had ended his five-game goal drought after a failed clearance inside Perth’s penalty area leading to the opener in the third minute.
After the delay, it was soon two for Perth as Fabio Ferriera scored his first goal for the club heading home a Jason Davidson’s cross to heap the pain on his former club.
However, the Portuguese winger was not finished when his cross found its way into the back of the net to make it a three-goal lead to Tony Popovic’s men at the interval.
During this time, Mariners fans were seen booing their players while also leaving to go see the New Years fireworks which went off during the game due to the delay forcing the game to coincide with the family fireworks.
The Mariners were able to pull one back with thanks to Jordan Murray who scored his first goal for the club but Keogh soon made it two to wrap up the points for Perth and solidify their spot at the summit of the table.
Perth will be on the road again on Sunday when they face the Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium while the Mariners who are still looking for their first win will take on Sydney FC on Friday night at Jubilee Oval.
New Year’s Day – Western Sydney Wanderers 0-2 Melbourne City
Melbourne City continued their solid run of form with a gutsy 2-0 win over the Western Sydney Wanderers on New Year’s Day at ANZ Stadium.
Goals from Lachlan Wales and Ritchie De Laet in the space of two minutes was enough for City to fend off a fast-finishing Western Sydney outfit who were unable to put one past Eugene Galekovic.
City were made to work for it after Rostyn Griffiths was sent off early in the second-half which gave Markus Babbel’s men the ascendancy in the contest but it was little too late for the home side.
In a rather quiet opening half, City were able to open the scoring after a quick breakaway saw Wales get in behind the Wanderers defence to slam home the opener inside thirty-five minutes – scoring his second goal of the season.
City didn’t have to wait long as they slammed home a second after some poor defending led to De Laet finding space inside the area to double Warren Joyce’s charges lead heading into half-time.
The Wanderers were given their reprieve in the second-half when Griffiths was given his marching orders for his second bookable offence giving the Wanderers a life-line.
With time ticking, Brendan Hamill and Abraham Majok both found themselves with chances on goal in a flurry inside the area but it was Galekovic who made a fantastic double save.
The Wanderers pushed again as Alex Baumjohann also couldn’t beat Galekovic who made an incredible save before Majok was denied once again with minutes to go.
After a check from VAR due to a handball in the box, Western Sydney were gifted a penalty which was saved once again by Galekovic as Oriol Riera couldn’t beat the veteran.
In all, this capped off a superb night for the goal-keeper who helped save the points for City as they move into fourth with that win at the conclusion of the round.
The Wanderers, who were met by a chorus of boos from their fans are still outside the six and sit eighth with a six point deficit behind the Wellington Phoenix who occupy the final position in the finals picture.
City will host Newcastle on Sunday evening while the Wanderers will host the Melbourne Victory on Saturday night.