The A-League’s biggest comeback kings and chokers

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Everybody loves a come from behind win.

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There is little better than seeing your team rally from to snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat.

It’s the joy of winning combined with the satisfaction of watching an opposition crumble when the stakes are at their highest.

We took a look at the teams who have pulled off the most come-from behind victories in the past eight seasons when trailing at halftime or at any point during the second half.

Who was most capable of fighting back from a deficit?

Who was the most prone to squander a lead?

Which fans have the right to be optimistic they can rally from behind, and which should fear the late game collapse?

Selection Criteria:

Every A-League regular season and finals matches over the past eight seasons was scrutinised.

Every match where a team came back from a second half deficit to win was recorded, while the team that coughed up said win has also been tallied.

Any result that ended in a draw was not included; the focus was purely on come-from-behind wins.

The analysis dates back to the 2012/13 A-League season, which marked the entry of the Western Sydney Wanderers to the competition. This provides a level starting point.

Only A-League regular season and finals matches were considered for this analysis; all other competitions (FFA Cup, AFC Champions League) were not included.

Below is your teams total number of comebacks:

Up next is your teams total number of squandered leads:

The Brisbane Roar can be considered the comeback kings, having staged 14 come-from-behind victories, four clear of any other team. The next best were Adelaide United and Perth Glory with ten.

On the flip side, the Central Coast Mariners were the team most prone to coughing up a lead with a whopping 16 second half collapses. This was well clear of Adelaide, Western Sydney Wanderers, Wellington Phoenix and Brisbane, each with ten. The Mariners were the most shaky team when leading, and can unfortunately be “crowned” the competitions chokers.

Furthermore, the Mariners were the least likely team to mount a comeback, having only done so three times since 2012. Their overall record of 3-16 was the most lopsided in the league. They can therefore be considered the most unreliable late game team, incapable of staging a comeback, while squandering leads at will.

Perth and Sydney FC have only given up leads on three occasions each, making them the least prone to cough up the points.

Perth in particular had ten total comebacks to only three squandered leads, placing them well on the plus side of the ledger. This suggested they are one of the most reliable late game teams and were less likely let their fans down.

A total of four teams had more comebacks than squandered leads: Brisbane (14-10), Perth (10-3), Sydney (9-3) and Melbourne Victory (8-7).

Meanwhile, there were five teams who had fewer comebacks to squandered leads in the form of Central Coast (3-16), Newcastle Jets (6-7), Melbourne City (7-8), Wellington (7-10) and Western Sydney (9-10).

Adelaide had a level 10-10 record after coughing up a second half lead to Wellington on Sunday afternoon.

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Note: In their eight games through 2019 Western United are yet to stage a second half comeback or concede a second half lead.

Feature Image Credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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Michael Patane
Michael Patane
Student at Monash University and lover of all things football covering Melbourne City in 2019/20.

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