Five things we learned from A-League Round 5

David Carney got away with one for Sydney FC against Melbourne Victory. Who knows how the match, won 2-1 by the Sky Blues, would have turned out had his hand-ball goal not been awarded?

David Carney

Sydney's David Carney celebrates with his team-mates after scoring his second goal against Melbourne Victory Source: AAP

1. Chris Beath got it wrong - simple as that

It sounds like a good idea for referees to make themselves available to the media to explain contentious decisions, but it isn't always beneficial.

Not when Chris Beath explains his decision to allow a goal to Sydney FC's David Carney, who had hand-balled, this way: "From my angle at the time, I saw the ball coming in from a distance. I’ve seen David Carney’s hands in a natural position.

"I didn’t see any movement of the arm towards the ball, the ball’s dropped to his feet and he’s put it in the back of the net so we allowed the goal."

Wouldn't it have been better for him to say: "It's clear now that there was a hand-ball and the goal should've been disallowed. I made a mistake in not picking it up. Unfortunately, these things happen sometimes."

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat got it right when he said: "I've already watched the replay. Chris is not obstructed, in my view, and he has obviously missed it. We all make mistakes."

2. Droughts are made to be broken

Central Coast Mariners' 2-1 win over Adelaide United ended a run of 14 games without a win for the Mariners. Their most recent success before that had come in round 17 of last season, on January 30, when they beat Wellington Phoenix 3-1 in Christchurch.

Sydney's 2-1 win over Victory ended an unbeaten run of nine straight "Big Blue" clashes for Victory. The previous win by the Sky Blues, a 5-0 thrashing, was on January 26, 2014, in Melbourne. There had been four Victory wins and five draws since.

3. Tony Popovic is still trying to find his best team

The Western Sydney Wanderers coach dropped former Socceroo central defender Robbie Cornthwaite, winger Steve Lustica and holding midfielder Jacob Melling from the 17-man squad for the game against Perth Glory.

Winger Jaushua Sotirio, central defender Jonathan Aspropotamitis and holding midfielder Bruno Pinatares came in.

Wanderers can thank Brendon Santalab for the point from the 2-2 draw. He scored Western Sydney's second goal, taking his tally for the season to four.

Wanderers are hanging in there, in sixth place. When you consider they've only scored seven goals, they are conceding too many (10). They haven't had a clean sheet yet. It's not working as Wanderers would like, so expect more changes to the line-up in coming weeks

4. Money isn't everything

Big-spending Melbourne City were looking ominous after beating Wellington Phoenix 1-0 on the road with 10 men in round one and whipping Melbourne Victory 4-1 in round two.

But two losses in three rounds since have forced everyone who thought City had a mortgage on the competition to calm down a bit.

Just like they did against Perth Glory in round three, City lost the tactical battle against Brisbane Roar, who went on to win 1-0 using a counter-attacking game plan.

The man of many hairstyles, City midfielder Luke Brattan, said it wasn't "the Brisbane I knew", from his days playing for Roar.

But who cares? Roar don't, they won!

5. Adelaide United back in familiar territory

Their loss to Central Coast, combined with Wellington's win over Newcastle, means the Reds have fallen back to last place for the first time this season.

That is the position they were in from round four to round eight last season, before beginning the incredible run that led to them winning the Premier's Plate and championship.

No doubt history will now repeat itself - or Adelaide fans hope!

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4 min read
Published 7 November 2016 at 8:15am
By Greg Prichard