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2015 FFA Cup Matchday Four Wrap


While there weren’t as many shots hitting the back of the net as there were on Match Days 2 and 3, the last four games of the Round of 32 provided plenty of action for football fans everywhere. All in all, 8 goals were scored on Tuesday night across three venues in New South Wales and one in Victoria.

Western Sydney, Wellington and Perth were the winners of the all A-League clashes, with Oakleigh overcoming Far North Queensland in Melbourne in the final state federation game of the round.

Western Sydney Wanderers 1-0 Brisbane Roar

Penrith’s Pepper Stadium was the venue on Tuesday night as the 6,028 fans in attendance saw a second-half Gol Gol Mebrahtu strike send the home side through to the next round of the Cup.

Roar coach John Aloisi elected to start Jamie Maclaren at the point of his side’s attack, while Tony Popovic’s Wanderers side featured five new faces in the starting XI — Andrew Redmayne, Scott Jamieson, Jacob Pepper, Andreu, and Mitch Nichols.

As early as the sixth minute, there was a talking point in the match, when Thomas Broich appeared to have been felled in the box by Brendan Hamill. Referee Kris Griffiths-Jones saw differently, however, and the ball spilled to a grateful Redmayne.

In the 12th minute, the home side went close to taking the lead. A well-placed cross from the right flank seemed destined to find the head of Hamill, if not for the intervention of Shane Stefanutto who cleared the ball away for a corner.

Hamill seemed to be in the centre of all the action, and in the 15th minute, he was probably fortunate to still be on the field. After Jamie Maclaren broke through to be one-on-one with Redmayne, the Wanderers defender pulled the Roar striker down just outside the box; a yellow card and a free kick deemed sufficient by referee Griffiths-Jones.

On the stroke of half time, a breakaway by Mark Bridge ended with the ball at the feet of Mebrahtu, but the striker couldn’t control his shot on the turn as it went high and wide.

Brisbane’s Luke Brattan had the first genuine chance of the second half, with a clever set piece played short to the midfielder, whose goal-bound effort was inadvertantly deflected away for a corner by Mebrahtu.

Down the other end of the park, Mebrahtu would have an even bigger impact. First, in the 66th minute, a fast break afforded the striker the space to shoot across Young, with a deflected shot requiring the best out of the Roar goalkeeper to tip the ball over the bar. Then, three minutes later, Mebrahtu would open his — and the Wanderers’ — account.

Kearyn Baccus put the ball to the feet of substitute Romeo Castelen with his back to goal, allowing the onrushing Mebrahtu to nick the ball off the feet of his teammate and fire low into the far corner past a diving Young.

Mark Bridge had a chance to kill off the contest from the penalty spot in the 86th minute, after Josh MacDonald was tripped near the edge of the area by Borrello. Jamie Young was up to the task, though, as he dived to his left and made a strong, one-handed save.

Central Coast Mariners 0-1 Wellington Phoenix

Over 6000 fans were in attendance as the Mariners hosted the Phoenix in the Round of 32 on Wednesday night.

With Liam Reddy unavailable, former Adelaide back-up goalkeeper Paul Izzo started between the posts for the home side, with fellow new signings Roy O’Donovan and Harry Ascroft starting at either end of the park.

The Phoenix have made just one signing this off-season, and with Blake Powell already cup-tied to APIA Leichhardt, it was a ‘usual suspects’ line-up for Ernie Merrick’s side who were looking to find the back of the net for the first time in the FFA Cup.

They almost went behind as early as the 9th minute, though, when Josh Rose shot from a tight angle. However, veteran Glen Moss was up to the challenge to keep the score at 0-0.

It wouldn’t stay that way for long, however, as a calamitous mistake at the back by the Mariners led to the Phoenix opening the scoring in the 17th minute. Izzo dwelled on a backpass just a half second too long, and that was enough time for former Wanderers striker Kwabena Appiah to get a touch on the ball and send it dribbling over the line.

The game remained 1-0 at half-time, but the Phoenix almost had the perfect start after the interval. A wonderful ball across the face of goal by Roy Krishna into the path of substitute Alex Rufer seemed destined to end with a second goal for the ‘Nix, but the young Kiwi’s effort went just wide and into the side-netting.

There weren’t a plethora of second-half chances for either team, but the best opportunity came in the 82nd minute. The Mariners’ Jake McGing was brought down in the box, with a penalty duly awarded. New signing Roy O’Donovan stepped up to take the responsibility, but disappointingly his confident shot toward the top corner rocketed away off the crossbar.

That miss would eventually be the difference, as the Phoenix held on for a 1-0 win.

Newcastle Jets 2-2 Perth Glory (3-4 on penalties)

Magic Park in Broadmeadow hosted its third FFA Cup game this year, with Newcastle Jets hoping to inflict revenge on Perth Glory for their Round of 32 exit last year.

Jerrad Tyson would start in goal for the travelling Glory, with new signings Marc Warren, Antony Golec, and Gyorgy Sandor all making their debuts for Perth. On the flipside, the Jets welcomed back fan favourites Jason Hoffman and Labinot Haliti for Scott Miller’s first competitive match in charge. Nigel Boogaard, Cameron Watson, and Mateo Poljak also made their debuts for Newcastle.

The Jets started the better of the two sides, with Haliti firing an early salvo at Tyson’s goal in just the 8th minute. The former Wanderers’ gloveman was up to the task, though, as he pushed the ball away to safety.

Then, in the 24th minute, a mistake by Golec gifted possession to David Carney, who ran past the Glory defender to be one-on-one with Tyson. Carney made no mistake, finishing with aplomb into the roof of the net to give the Jets their first ever FFA Cup goal.

Perth pressed for an equaliser almost immediately, with Sandor going close in the 30th minute from a deflected shot. Dino Djulbic would have a shot come cannoning back off the crossbar shortly before the break, too, but the rebound effort was gleefully snatched up by Mark Birighitti for the Jets.

Newcastle thought they’d doubled their lead in the 39th minute, but despite the ball finding its way into the back of the net from Haliti, the goal was narrowly ruled out for offside.

It would take until the 87th minute for another goal, and it would be Perth who would equalise. A cross from the right flank by Nebojsa Marinkovic toward the penalty spot gave the Glory a chance, and Sidnei was on hand to bundle it over the line to send the game into extra time.

Marinkovic would transition from provider to finisher as the game entered extra time, with the Serbian cheekily sending a Panenka past Mark Birighitti from the penalty spot. He could’ve had another for the Glory in the 110th minute, with a curling free kick swerving inches wide of the far post.

In a dramatic finish, though, the Jets would make it 2-2 in the 115th minute. Carney found space on the left side of the box and placed an inch-perfect cross to the back post for Haliti, who made no mistake as he prodded home the equaliser.

It would be Perth through to the Round of 16, though, with Jerrad Tyson making three saves from the six spot kicks he faced in the shootout, allowing new signing Gyorgy Sandor to seal the win with a calm finish in the bottom corner.

Oakleigh Cannons 1-1 FNQ Heat (5-4 on penalties)

Oakleigh became the fifth Victorian team through to the Round of 16 of the FFA Cup, after they recovered from conceding a late goal in extra time to advance on penalties past the Far North Queensland Heat.

The visitors would have to make do without their star player, with former ‘Nix midfielder Alex Smith excluded from the team due to his ongoing trial with an unnamed A-League club. It would be a big out for Far North Queensland, as Smith’s 11 goals in 18 matches are a big reason why the Heat sit 5th in the NPL Queensland competition.

Arthur Papas’ Cannons, however, would have plenty of former A-League talent at their disposal. Steve Pantelidis (Victory, Glory, Gold Coast), Kofi Danning (Roar), Mirjan Pavlovic (Phoenix), Sean Rooney (Jets) and Matthew Foschini (Victory) all would start for Oakleigh.

The opening half provided few highlights, with neither side able to produce many quality shots on goal. Far North Queensland had a good chance in the 42nd minute from a counter attack, but a quality save down low by Oakleigh ‘keeper John Honos ensured the sides went into the break locked at 0-0.

Jake McLean had a great chance to put Oakleigh ahead in the 72nd minute, but his long-range effort could only find the woodwork. Oakleigh then had the ball in the back of the net in the 86th minute, but it was ruled out for offside.

The game inevitably went to extra time, and just three minutes in, the home side would take the lead. A free kick roughly 25 yards out was lined up by Dean Piemonte, who unleashed a brilliant, curling effort into the top corner past a diving Nick Mooney in the Far North Queensland goal.

The Heat had two free kicks in quick succession in the second half of extra time in an effort to level the match, but the first set piece drifted just wide and the second was brilliantly tipped out for a corner by Honos.

Far North Queensland found their miracle in the final minute of extra time, with Jamie Gosling’s speculative effort taking a wicked bounce in front of Honos before nestling in the back of the net to send the game to a penalty shootout.

Oakleigh managed to keep their cool in the shootout, converting all five spot kicks to seal their place in the Round of 16 after Tamas Maffey-Stumpe missed the second penalty for Far North Queensland.

About the author

avatarJustin is a passionate football fan, and the Editor-in-chief of Ultimate A-League.

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