Saturday, December 08, 2007
After Ruben Zadkovich's sendoff, Sydney were unquestionably the better side for the final half-hour despite their numerical deficit, and richly deserved the win.
In many respects the game was quite similar to the encounter with Perth last season, which also took place at a critical juncture. Sydney go a man down, the coach makes an ostensibly craven but actually canny substitution, and the team kicks on to snatch a late goal, and come away with three precious points.
Well though Sydney FC played in the final third of the match, they owe a considerable debt to their opponents, who simply froze after going a man up. Not that they had been playing all that well up to that point anyway, but after Zadkovich went, Newcastle's movement up front was limited and predictable, their passes went repeatedly astray, and three or four defenders stayed back to take care of the sole striker, Alex Brosque, most of the time. And he still got the better of them on many occasions!
Brosque is proving that he can indeed operate at the end of the supply line, despite last season's indications to the contrary. He has grown enormously as a player this season.
Newcastle cannot rely forever on Joel Griffiths for goals. Mark Bridge's form this season has been very ordinary, while Mario Jardel has, of course, been a major disappointment to all concerned. Could there have been a better reflection on the sorry Jardel saga than his dreadful miss from only a couple of yards out in the final minutes (although he was offside in any case)?
And further back, how they miss the unpredictable brilliance of Nick Carle. The fact that Gary van Egmond was forced to rely on Noel Spencer - such a cipher for the Mariners last season - as his chief supplier in the final half-hour shows just how thin Newcastle's creative resources are.
Yet Newcastle managed to overcome such deficiencies earlier in the season. Last night, they simply seized up, and paid the penalty.
We can't dine out too much on final minute wins. ;) We got snagged the other way by Newcastle last week. Then we're all villains with fans wanting their money back. :(
Did you seem Ante Milicic is leaving the Roar? - pity it doesn't open a foreign player spot. Still they must think they have access to enough injury cover.
Yeah, sad that. Things never really worked out for him up there, did they.
I've got a lot of time for Milicic, still think he's one of the best natural strikers we've produced in the last twenty years. Some bad career choices though, like so many others...