End-to-End: Round 2

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Taking a look at all the weekend’s action, we investigate who had a thoroughly enjoyable weekend, and who couldn’t wait for the sound of their Monday alarm.

In another big weekend of football, goals, crowds and red cards were the order of the day in the A-League, as Sydney FC fought its way back against the Wanderers while Adelaide hosted the Victory in front of a bumper crowd. In the W-League, more upsets might be signifying a change in the guard as another top contender drops out of the top four.

Losers
In Gosford, fans are preparing for the worst as the early showings by the Mariners haven’t inspired much hope about their chances this season. Traditionally, the Mariners have been overlooked by the experts, but have managed to punch above their weight to arguably be the competition’s most consistent team. Under Arnold, the Mariners were constantly unearthing new talent – Matt Ryan, Mustafa Amini, Tom Rogic and Trent Sainsbury just to name a few – however, that production line seems to have stopped for the time being as the Mariners look a shadow of their former selves. Their biggest problem is in the final third, with little creativeness in that part of the field. The replacement of Marcos Flores with state-leaguer Matt Sim will likely create as many goals as there are people familiar with Sim.

Also falling into the loser pile this week is the FFA Cup. Having taken off with a bang a few months ago, the FFA Cup has suffered due to the ripping start to the A-League. Filling the football void before the kick-off of the A-League, the FFA Cup caught the imagination of the nation as minnows battled for their time to shine. But with most of the amateur teams eliminated, the underdog angle which all Australians love has faded. With regular weekend football, midweek fixtures will now struggle to bring the crowds as highlighted by the 3,536 present at the Sydney FC v Adelaide United Quarter Final.

Drawing a close to our losers this week is W-League outfit, Canberra United. A perennial contender, United has endured an inconsistent start to the season, splitting its opening six games. United has lost three of its last four, the last result the poorest, going down 3-2 at home to a previously winless Adelaide United. The result was the side’s first ever loss at home to Adelaide and sees Canberra fall outside the top four.

Winners
Name a better sight you have seen in recent months, than the crowd at the Sydney Derby on Saturday. Even after just two seasons, the fixture has already gripped all of Sydney. Five goals, a red card and pitch invasions only headlines the action of an awesome derby. In front of a record 41,213 people, the biggest crowd at Allianz Stadium for a regular season game of any code, the A-League put its best foot forward. In addition, a record crowd of 33,126 in Adelaide helped set the record for the highest attendance in a single round as 106,082 people made their way through the gates, smashing the previous record of 100,998.

Tom Doyle of the Wellington Phoenix could have featured on the losers list following his perfect side-footed own goal against the Mariners, or for tripping himself over when chasing the ball. However, he features here because despite all those hiccups, Doyle persisted and laid off a peach of a cross which set-up Nathan Burns’ winner for Wellington in the end.

Rounding things off is Perth Glory; currently atop both the A-League and W-League ladders, the Glory are loving life at the moment. Their women downed second-placed Sydney FC to extend their lead over them to five points, while the men are the only team to have won their opening two matches as Irishman Andy Keogh’s second half hat-trick killed off the Brisbane Roar.

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