The A-League can be a funny place. After truly dreadful starts, both Newcastle Jets and Sydney FC are back in the running, while Adelaide United, who looked so good early on, have not won since Week 1. Some things never change, though, as Melbourne Heart look the worst side in the league. Here's a quick recap of the weekend's four fixtures, remembering that the Central Coast Mariners v Wellington Phoenix match was rescheduled for mid-December due to the absence of so many New Zealand internationals:
Friday November 15: Melbourne Heart 0 - Sydney FC 2
If the knives were not yet out for John Aloisi, they surely are now after Melbourne Heart lost to Sydney FC at AAMI Park. The insipid display by the home side was met by a chorus of boos at the final whistle, not to mention chants of 'Aloisi out!' and 'You'll be sacked in the morning!' cascading out of the Yarraside supporters group. Alessandro Del Piero opened scoring in the 26th minute when he converted a penalty after Rob Wielaert fouled Joel Chianese in the area. The goal was deserving for Del Piero, who just missed on a free kick six minutes prior, skimming off the crossbar as a helpless Andrew Redmayne stood watching. Sydney wrapped the game up in first half injury time when Chianese tapped in from a perfect Ali Abbas cross. Heart haven't won since February, a line that could probably be copied and pasted in every match report now. Meanwhile, Sydney are joint third on points after taking all six from their two consecutive matches against Melburnian clubs, likely saving Frank Farina's job.
Saturday November 16: Perth Glory 1 - Adelaide United 1
William Gallas made his Perth Glory debut as a second half substitute but it was Chris Harold who saved a point for the hosts at the nib Stadium. Osama Malik scored the game's first goal in the 54th minute from a Fabio Ferreira corner, briefly giving the Reds hope of winning for the first time since the opening weekend. Yet Harold, also a second half substitute, was left unmarked in the 70th minute, heading in the equalizer for the Glory. Awer Mabil nearly scored a late winner for Adelaide but Glory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic made a kick save to preserve the draw for the hosts. Perth are tied with Sydney and Newcastle on 9 points from six matches while Adelaide remain outside the finals picture for now with just 5 points.
Saturday November 16: Western Sydney Wanderers 1 - Melbourne Victory 0
The A-League's top side did it again, this time with Mark Bridge scoring the deciding goal against a Melbourne side. Western Sydney Wanderers went top this weekend after pulling through against Melbourne Victory with an 82nd minute goal at Pirtek Stadium. The visitors deserved a goal in the first half with Archie Thompson's glaring miss the worst of the missed opportunities to take an early lead. Instead, former Victory keeper Ante Covic made a few crucial saves and kept the Wanderers on level terms into the second half. Tony Popovic's premiership holders patiently weathered Victory's advances before pouncing late in the game. Bridge received a pass at the far post from Labinot Haliti and needed only to tap in the winner, much to the delight of the rain-soaked Wanderers supporters. Kevin Muscat has now lost twice since winning his debut with the Victory while Western Sydney remain unbeaten and have won four on the bounce.
Sunday November 17: Newcastle Jets 2 - Brisbane Roar 1
The weekend's final game saw Newcastle Jets come from behind to defeat Brisbane Roar at the Hunter Stadium. Adam Taggart scored both goals in the second half to cancel out Luke Brattan's first half opener and knock the Roar down from the league's pole position. In the process, the Jets have moved from the scoreless, winless spot near the ladder's bottom rung to third place. Taggart was the hero having already scored the equalizer as Nathan Burns' missed penalty looked likely to confine the resurgent Jets to a home draw in the pouring rain. Newcastle had to sit deep and fend off a difficult final few minutes after Kew Jaliens was sent off in the 87th minute, but the home side had enough mettle to deny Brisbane and pick up an impressive three points. Emile Heskey again played a substitute's role for Newcastle as he slowly returns to full fitness. Meanwhile, Brisbane will be more than happy when Besart Berisha finally recovers from his injured hamstring.