Christmas Crackers: The five best festive A-League performances

The Christmas period is meant to bring cheer and it has done that for many teams in the A-League over the years. On the other hand, it has virtually ruined Christmas for some sides. The World Game identifies the greatest wins nestled between Christmas Day and the New Year.

Shane Smeltz

Shane Smeltz in action for Gold Coast United Source: Getty Images

1. Smeltz on fire as Gold Coast United thrash Brisbane Roar, 2009



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Timely to look back at this one, since 35-year-old striker Shane Smeltz is preparing to return to the A-League with one of his old clubs, Wellington Phoenix.

The big fellow had a brilliant 2009-10 season for the now defunct Clive Palmer-owned club and this was one of his best days.

It was a Boxing Day massacre at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast, but Roar actually scored first, through Matt McKay in the seventh minute, and still led entering added time in the first half.

But Kristian Rees equalised before time ran out and five minutes into the second half Smeltz gave Gold Coast the lead from the penalty spot.

Rees scored again soon after and Smeltz added two more to send Roar home with their tails between their legs.

2. Huge Big Blue turnaround, 2008



What better way to emerge from a busy Christmas Day and hitting the wall on Boxing Day than reviving with a Big Blue on December 27?

And what a Big Blue this one was, at what was then known as Telstra Dome in Melbourne.

Sydney FC exploded out of the blocks and incredibly had a 2-0 lead after just four minutes, through Shannon Cole and Brendan Gan.

But if there was one good thing about that for Melbourne Victory they still had plenty of time left to get back in it.

Archie Thompson pulled a goal back in the 14th minute, but it wasn't until the 71st that Nick Ward equalised.

Brazilian striker Ney Fabiano, who played for 20 different clubs in 21 seasons, settled it in Victory's favour with an 80th-minute goal.

3. Santa arrives three days late but still delivers, 2007



"Santa", also known as Brendon Santalab, loves this time of year and on December 28 he began a fight-back by his old club, Sydney FC, against Adelaide United at Adelaide Oval.

United had opened the scoring, through Kristian Sarkies, but were reduced to 10 men when Robbie Cornthwaite was red-carded in the 33rd minute.

Santalab pounced to equalise just before halftime and a famous name in the history of the Sky Blues, Steve Corica, put them ahead in the 54th minute.

Another blast from the past for Sydney, Robbie Middleby, clinched a 3-1 win with his 66th-minute goal.

4. Brisbane's Boxing Day punch too much even for Del Piero, 2013



Sydney FC fans would have been in the festive mood, thinking the legendary Alessandro Del Piero had put them on the way to a glorious home win when he scored in the 11th minute at Allianz Stadium.

But Brisbane Roar turned into the Grinches who stole the Sky Blues' Christmas by answering with five straight goals of their own.

Dimi Petratos got three, including two penalties, and Thomas Broich and Ivan Franjic the others.

Richard Garcia came up with Sydney's second goal deep into added time, but it was no consolation in a 5-2 loss.

5. Melbourne show Heart before they became City, 2011

Sydney FC weren't great in season 2011-12, but they still finished in fifth place, one ahead of Heart, so this result at home on December 29 was a bit out of left-field.

Heart, in the only season the club made the finals before coming into money and becoming Melbourne City, whipped the Sky Blues 4-0 at Sydney Football Stadium.

There were two goals before halftime, from Eli Babalj and Mate Dugandzic, and two inside the last 15 minutes of the match, from Jason Hoffman and Alex Terra.

It was a rare big result for Heart at that stage, something City is a lot more used to now.


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4 min read
Published 21 December 2016 at 12:55pm
By Greg Prichard