After a Saturday where goals and chances were few and far between, Sunday came to the rescue with two entertaining affairs.

Melbourne Victory 3 – 3 Wellington Phoenix

If you happened to be out doing the shopping or washing the car during this match, then we have some bad news for you.

This was not only the match of the round but potentially the best of the season.

Wellington Phoenix travelled to Melbourne with the opportunity to jump to fourth on the table while Melbourne Victory had the chance to close the gap on league leaders Perth Glory.

Despite a good start from the Phoenix it was the Victory who drew first blood with Ola Toivonen chipping the ball over Fillip Kurto in the fourth minute for the opening goal.

But this passage of play was merely a consolation for the Phoenix onslaught which was to come.

Wellington outplayed the Victory throughout the first half, forcing them into their worst performance of the season.

The Phoenix midfield of Alex Rufer and Mandi controlled the game and the Wellington defenders were successfully getting inside the head of Ola Toivonen.

Wellington were rewarded for their dominance with a David Williams goal in the seventh minute, drawing the visitors level.

The Phoenix had the lead soon after as Josh Hope fouled Roy Krisna inside the box, gifting the Fijian international the opportunity to put his side in front.

Wellington had the Victory rattled, the reigning champions looked unable to get into a rhythm with their key players almost non-existent in the first half.

Salt was added to the Victory wounds just before half time as Roy Krishna scored his second, sneaking behind the napping Victory defenders to tap in a rebound off Lawrence Thomas.

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Melbourne Victory may have entered the rooms at half time but it was the A-League champions who came out.

Kevin Muscat brought on Raúl Baena for a Josh Hope who had seen better days and all of the sudden the Victory began to press.

An early second half goal to James Troisi brought the home side back into the game.

Despite the relentless Victory pressure, Wellington still had a few tricks up their sleeve and very nearly put the result out of reach had it not been for some desperate defending from Thomas Deng.

With the clock ticking down up stepped last week’s hat-trick hero Kosta Barbarouses who, against his former side, equalised in the 88th minute to send AAMI Park into meltdown.

It may not have been the result either side wanted heading into the game and while it may be two points lost for the Phoenix it was certainly a point gained for the Victory.

 

 

Central Coast Mariners 1 – 1 Brisbane Roar

As the Brisbane Roar found out, playing a buoyed Central Coast Mariners after a win is an almighty test.

It was only a few seasons ago where these two sides played off in a memorable A-League Grand Final in contrast to playing for pride at the foot of the table.

The Mariners got off to a flyer as Matt Millar found the back of the net three minutes in sliding the ball past Jamie Young to open the scoring.

The home side played with confidence many did not know they had, though their momentum was pegged back a step just before the break as Roar defender Luke DeVere equalised on the cusp on half time.

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Despite conceding the late goal the Mariners appeared to be unfazed as they peppered the Brisbane goal, forcing Jamie Young into a string of save of the year contenders.

Jacob Melling nearly got the crowd off their seats on multiple occasions from distance as it almost seemed inevitable one of his long-ranged attempts would go in.

Connor Pain joined in on the fun as well but was unable to get past a near unstoppable Young.

Brisbane had a chance to win it late through substitute Dylan Wenzel-Halls, only to be denied by Ben Kennedy.

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Athos Sirianos
athos@footballnationradio.com.au