Every A-League Men side’s most embarrassing defeat 

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Sincere apologies in advance, but we are going to rehash every A-League Men club’s most embarrassing defeats.

Embarrassing can mean a range of different things, so in this list we are defining it as humiliating scorelines, major upsets and just straight up horrifying displays. 

Let’s get through it…

Adelaide United
Melbourne Victory 6-0 Adelaide United (2007) 

The Reds have endured a few bad losses but none were more embarrassing than a warm summer’s night at the Telstra Dome in 2007.  

Yes, I’m talking about that horrid grand final night. 

Where do we start? Archie Thompson had netted two within half an hour and then Adelaide’s captain Ross Aloisi was sent off after 34 minutes. From that moment on, it was havoc. 

Thompson scored five goals (which to this day is still the most goals scored by an individual in a match), United lost their coach in John Kosmina and it was the greatest ever deficit in any Australian soccer grand final, including the old NSL. 

Ouch. 

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Brisbane Roar
Newcastle Jets 6 – 1 Brisbane Roar (2019) 

The three-time champions haven’t had too much to complain about in their A-League Men’s history. However, the 2018/19 season for the Roar was one to forget as two five-goal defeats in their 17-loss campaign sums it up, but none of the losses were as bad as their 6-1 scoreline against the Jets. 

The Jets weren’t exactly the “unstoppable force” in the 2018/19 season, in fact they also failed to make the finals finishing with 10 wins to their name and wrapping up in seventh place.  

Roar legend and skipper at the time Matt McKay announced days before the game that this season would be his last. But that didn’t seem to motivate them as the Jets made light work of the home Brisbane side. 

A four-goal second half ruined this young Roar side, whilst their former player Dimitri Petratos scored in the 65th minute just to rub salt into the wounds.  

A night that most Roar fans would prefer to forget.  

Central Coast Mariners 
Wellington Phoenix 8 – 2 Central Coast Mariners (2019) 

Long gone are the Mariners’ dominant years of 2007-2011 when they achieved two premierships and one championship.  

Recently they have been regarded as the A-League Men’s worst team of recent seasons – and arguably the worst club in Australian sport for the best part of a decade due to four wooden spoons from 2015 to 2020. 

The Mariners have had their fair share of embarrassing results, but one well and truly takes the cake.  

It started with an own goal which was followed by a 30-yard chip as this Wellington Phoenix side were doing as they pleased against the Mariners. 

Seven goals within an hour pleased. 

The score line ended at 8-2, the highest-scoring game of all time and the biggest away win of all time.  

Apologies Mariners fans, but things are looking up for you boys now.  

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 Macarthur FC
Wellington Phoenix 3 – 0 Macarthur (2021) 

Usually teams struggle in their inaugural season. It has been a common theme throughout all sporting codes. 

Think of the Gold Coast Suns (three wins, last place finish) and Greater Western Sydney’s (two wins, last place finish) first seasons in the AFL.  

But the A-league Men seems to be an outlier. 

Western United finished fifth and made the semi-finals in their first go, whilst Western Sydney Wanderers took the league by storm and made the grand final. Macarthur in their first crack at it qualified for finals, made the semi-finals and finished with only 10 losses next to their name last season. 

So it is slim pickings when it comes to embarrassing defeats for Macarthur. In fact, they are the last standing undefeated side currently in the 2021/22 season.  

So, we will go with their 3-0 home defeat to Wellington Phoenix in the last round of the 2020/21 season.  

Macarthur were missing firepower up front, highlighted by the absent Matt Derbyshire and Markel Susaeta. But heading into finals, the last thing you want to see is a goalless, 3-0 defeat to a non-finals side.  

Macarthur fans, you got out of this one lightly. But we will re-visit this in 10 years’ time. 

Melbourne City 
Wellington Phoenix 5 – 1 Melbourne City (2014) 

New owners, new name, new strip, new signings and a new beginning was on the horizon for Melbourne City at the start of the 2014/15 season.  

However, it was the same old Melbourne Heart that showed up on this day against the rampaging Nix. 

Nathan Burns did the damage for Phoenix scoring the club’s first ever A-League Men’s hat-trick, as City’s manager at the time John van’t Schip had the new City Football Group owners breathing down his neck.  

It ended with five, highlighted by a four-goal burst in 16 minutes by the Nix as they embarrassed the newly redecorated Melbourne City.  

Melbourne Victory
Melbourne City 7 – 0 Melbourne Victory (2021) 

Victory fans don’t have too much to complain about as they are usually on the winning side of an embarrassing game – but the last three seasons have been a little bit tougher for the Victory faithful, and none come tougher than an embarrassing defeat to their crosstown rivals.  

Andrew Nabbout opened the scoring with a left-footed cross that somehow found the back of the net, Jamie Maclaren netted five with two from the penalty spot, Adama Traore was red carded and City had 23 shots to Victory’s four.  

Do I need to continue? 

The biggest defeat in Melbourne Victory’s history and it came from the hands of their bitter rivals in a Melbourne derby.  

Seriously one to forget. 

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Newcastle Jets
Brisbane Roar 4 – 0 Newcastle Jets (2014) 

Newcastle have had some big losses. A 7-0 defeat at the hands of Adelaide United in 2015 wasn’t pretty, neither was the 6-1 loss to Perth in 2016. 

But one game against the reigning champions in 2014 stands out. In fact, it stood-out so much that even the Jets manager in Phil Stubbins said this on the game. 

“It was a terrible performance, we struggled to keep the ball. I don’t think we strung three or four passes together,” he said.

“It was embarrassing to be honest. I was certainly embarrassed by the way that we took to the play. It didn’t look as though we had any belief in ourselves.” 

The word embarrassing came straight from the horse’s mouth, but why was this performance so embarrassing? 

The Roar were struggling at this point, in fact the reigning champions headed into this game in last place, whilst the Jets had just come off an impressive draw with eventual champions Melbourne Victory. 

A tough reality check night for the Jets, as after this game they dropped into the bottom two on the table and ended up with the wooden spoon.   

Perth Glory
Sydney FC 0 (4) – 0 (1) Perth Glory (2019) 

Perth have been one of the most successful A-League Men’s sides to have not won a championship, in fact they sit fifth all time in wins and points. 

They have had big losses, a 6-0 defeat to Sydney in 2017 stung. But for embarrassing, I am going to go with their grand final defeat to Sydney FC in 2019.  

Again, really sorry to the Glory faithful for bringing this one up. 

But the grand final was played in Perth in the brand-new colosseum of Optus Stadium, Glory sat atop the A-League Men’s table for 24 of a possible 27 weeks with the coach of the year and only lost three times all season. This was their time to finally capture that illusive championship. 

Perth didn’t play poorly by any means, they had nearly 60% of possession, 10 shots and kept Sydney to zero shots on target for 120 minutes.  

But when push came to shove, they crumbled in the penalty shootout. 

Juande opened the penalty shootout with a goal for Perth to put them up one goal to none.  

And then it fell apart.  

Two consecutive misses from Perth, whilst Sydney converted four out of four penalties wrapped up an extremely disappointing end to a terrific season from Perth. 

Apologies Perth fans, but you should have come away with this title.  

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 Sydney FC 
Central Coast Mariners 7 – 2 Sydney FC (2012) 

Sydney was without their main man in Alessandro Del Piero, but not even a man of his calibre could have changed this result. 

The Mariners put Sydney to the sword in the highest scoring A-League Men’s game at the time.  

Shocking defending from Sydney mixed with brilliant attacking play from Daniel McBreen, who scored the Mariner’s first ever hat-trick, put Sydney to the sword. 

There was also a young kid playing for the Mariners on that day who scored two goals and goes by the name of Tom Rogic.  

Furthermore, the result was even more of a sucker punch for Sydney as then Mariners coach Graham Arnold turned down a chance to coach the Sky Blues earlier in the season. 

Wellington Phoenix 
Central Coast Mariners 4 – 1 Wellington Phoenix (2017) 

This wasn’t a game that exactly got the box office money streaming. It was 9th vs 10th on the table over in Wellington. 

However, the Nix were fresh off an impressive 5-2 victory over Perth Glory and were hoping that was the spark plug to kickstart their 2017/18 campaign. 

However the spark misfired rather fast. 

It started off with an own goal from Andrew Hoole’s corner, which was followed by Hoole rubbing even more salt into the wounds as he curled in a shot from the edge of the box. 

At home, the Nix fell to the Mariners 4-1 in an embarrassing display. 

Western Sydney Wanderers  

Sydney FC 5 – 0 Western Sydney Wanderers (2017) 

It was the biggest win in the history of the Sydney derby as Sydney FC made a mess of Western Sydney Wanderers in 2017. 

The Wanderers weren’t exactly flying at the start of their 2017/18 campaign. One win, five draws and two consecutive defeats heading into this derby isn’t the type of form line you’d punt on. 

But a 5-0 defeat to your crosstown rivals is never nice. 

It’s the Wanderers biggest ever defeat and it kicked off a time of dominance for Sydney, as they went on to win five consecutive Sydney derbies. 

Ouch. 

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Western United 

Melbourne Victory 6 – 1 Western United (2021) 

As mentioned earlier, Western United enjoyed a successful inaugural season.  

But they didn’t enjoy their second season as much. 

A 10th-place finish highlighted by losing their final eight games of the season was far from enjoyable, especially when you throw in a 6-1 defeat to the wooden spooners. 

Victory was shocking in their 2020/21 season; they won five games and had a goal difference of minus 29. Yet they still managed to put six goals past this United side. 

United then went on to lose their next two games and were more than happy to see the back of the 2020/21 season.  

Feature image Credit: Jordan Trombetta

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Cameron Ottenhoff
Sport, media and communications student at Flinders University in Adelaide. I was forced to hang the boots up at a young age after discovering I'm no good at sport, so now I just talk about it instead.

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