A literal pillow fight between two lagging sides in the Hyundai A-League rounds out Round 15 of the 2015-16 Hyundai A-League on Sunday, Jan. 17 at Hunter Stadium in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. Scott Miller‘s Newcastle Jets got their teeth kicked in by Sydney FC on the road last week and hope to not pull out another toothless performance against Ernie Merrick‘s Wellington Phoenix, who stood tall in their scoreless draw with Brisbane Roar at home with fangs bared.
“I thought that under the circumstances it was an outstanding performance by a very inexperienced squad,” Merrick said of the efforts. “Other than Dura (captain Andrew Durante) the rest of the back four had only nine A-League games to their credit but you wouldn’t have known it from the way they performed.
“I also thought that the way Vince Lia and Albert Riera marshalled the midfield in front of them was terrific. Blake (Powell) worked hard, Mikey McGlinchey was outstanding the young Matt Ridenton tremendous till he ran out of legs.
“Jeffery Sarpong’s calf took its toll, but everyone that came off the bench did a great job. I was pretty impressed all round with the performance.”
Wellington are 4-4-6 (16 points, 7th) while Newcastle are 3-4-7 (13 points, 8th). Despite the lack of experience, players like Dylan Fox (who was TST’s Man of the Match last weekend against Brisbane) are expected to help Wellington’s firm resolve at home translate into a positive result across the Tasman Sea.
“Under the circumstances that was an outstanding performance by our inexperienced squad,” said Merrick. “The way Albert (Riera) and Vince (Lia) marshalled the midfield was terrific.
“It was always going to be hard attacking with the players we had, but Blake (Powell) did a great job, Michael McGlinchey worked relentlessly and Matt Ridenton was terrific on the left-hand side. We could have stolen it at the end – we were a wee bit unlucky – but then they could have as well.”
Here are some bold predictions for Sunday’s match between Newcastle Jets and Wellington Phoenix.
- No goals will be scored by Wellington Phoenix.
- Glen Moss will make under four saves.
- Mark Birighetti will make at least four saves.
- Michael McGlinchey will score for Wellington Phoenix.
- Jeffrey Sarpong will score for Wellington Phoenix.
- Blake Powell will score for Wellington Phoenix.
- At least 40 fouls will be whistled.
- At least three cards will be issued.
- A penalty will be called.
- No goals will scored in the last 10 minutes and stoppage time.
This pillow fight will be one sided and yes, we here at the Stoppage Time are calling for another toothless performance from the Newcastle Jets. A root canal may be in order, Wellington Phoenix to win and order a gift box of plane-shaped dentures.
Wellington Phoenix 3, Newcastle Jets 0