A-League review - Week 26: Heart and Sydney miss finals as Phoenix knock off Adelaide
Chris Greenacre scored the winner over Adelaide United as Wellington Phoenix all but secured their finals spot this season. Four of the five Week 26 matches of the 2010/11 A-League season were played on the weekend with the rescheduled North Queensland Fury v Brisbane Roar match on Tuesday still to come.
On Friday night, the Melbourne weather almost caused the Heart v Central Coast Mariners fixture at AAMI Park to be called off but the brilliance of the state-of-the-art surface allowed play to go ahead even if it was over an hour after the scheduled time.
Matt Thompson opened the scoring with a fortuitous goal from beyond the halfway line but the Mariners responded almost immediately through Daniel McBreen. The draw still gave the Heart some slight hope of making the top six but that glimmer faded when Wellington Phoenix edged Adelaide United 1-0 on Saturday night.
Chris Greenacre's 34th minute header was the difference as the New Zealanders moved four points clear of the Heart with two games remaining, enhancing their chances of making the top six for a second consecutive season.
On Sunday, Sasho Petrovski canceled out Bruno Cazarine's goal as the Newcastle Jets and Sydney FC played out a 1-1 draw in wet conditions at EnergyAustralia Stadium. The point ended the reigning champions' chances of sneaking a finals position whilst the Jets live to fight another day. They will need the Phoenix to lose both of their remaining games and will have to win both of theirs whilst turning around the five goal difference the Kiwis have on them.
And finally, Gold Coast United kept their hopes of a top-two finish alive with a 2-1 win over Perth Glory at nib Stadium. Shane Smeltz scored twice from the penalty spot before Glory teenager Adam Taggart opened his A-League account as United moved within five points of the second-placed Mariners.
Melbourne Heart: 1 (Matt THOMPSON 49') Central Coast Mariners: 1 (Daniel McBREEN 50') Friday, 4 Feb 2011 AAMI Park, Melbourne Referee: Strebre Delovski Crowd: 3,667 Yellow cards:MH - nil CCM - Oliver BOZANIC 55', Mustafa AMINI 90'+2
Adelaide United: 0 Wellington Phoenix:1 (Chris GREENACRE 34') Saturday, 5 Feb 2011 Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide Referee: Matthew Breeze Crowd: 7,498 Yellow cards:AU - Nil WP - Tim BROWN 42', Troy HEARFIELD 64', Andrew DURANTE 80', Dylan MACALLISTER 86'
Newcastle Jets: 1 (Sasho PETROVSKI 84') Sydney FC: 1 (Bruno CAZARINE 77') Sunday, 6 Feb 2011 EnergyAustralia Stadium, Newcastle Referee: Peter Green Crowd: 6,780 Yellow cards:NJ - Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY 89', Tarek ELRICH 90' SYD - Juho MAKELA 71'
Perth Glory: 1 (Adam TAGGART 75') Gold Coast United:2 (Shane SMELTZ 33' (pen)/55' (pen)) Sunday, 6 Feb 2011 nib Stadium, Perth Referee: Jared Gillet Crowd: 6,617 Yellow cards:PG - Scott NEVILLE 20', Jacob BURNS 24', Jamie HARNWELL 31' GCU - nil