Saturday, December 26, 2009

Gold Coast make it three home wins in a row before their largest crowd

Gold Coast United made it three wins in a row at home at Skilled Park this evening when they beat Brisbane Roar 5-1 before 10,024 spectators, their biggest crowd of the season.

The win keeps Gold Coast in third spot on the A-League ladder.

Shane Smeltz hit a hat-trick and defender Kristian Rees netted twice.

Matt McKay was Brisbane’s marksman, but they should have scored more goals given the chances they created.

Jess Van Stratten in the Gold Coast goal was in excellent form and produced some timely and outstanding saves to thwart the visitors.

Ange Postecoglou’s strategy of playing left-winger Michael Zullo at left-back proved a liability.

Gold Coast coach Miron Bleiberg said before the game that he would target Brisbane’s left-back position and the strategy worked perfectly, with Zullo nowhere to be seen for two of the goals that came from that flank and conceding a penalty for another goal.

The visitors went ahead in the 7th minute after a shot was blocked by Van Stretten and the ball rebound to McKay, whose volley from just inside the box took one bounce before lodging in the left-hand corner of the net.

Gold Coast equalised a minute into stoppage time at the end of the first half. Charlie Miller was fouled wide on the right and took the free-kick himself, curling the ball into the box, where Brisbane striker Sergio Van Dijk fluffed his clearance and allowed Rees to fire home.

The home side took the lead in the 49th minute with a penalty, awarded for Zullo’s foul on Joel Porter. Smeltz placed his spot-kick inside the left-hand post as the goalkeeper, Griffin McMaster, dived the other way.

In the 53rd minute, a Jason Culina corner from the left found Rees, who eluded his marker Van Dijk and netted to make it 3-1.

The moral of the story at this stage for Brisbane was twofold. First, don’t play strikers in defence, and second, don’t have strikers dropping back into their own penalty area to defend unless they know what they are doing.

In the 61st minute it was 4-1 as Porter broke down the right and crossed for Smeltz to head home.

Smeltz completed his hat-trick in the 77th minute after a lightning attack down the left by Gold Coast.

Culina flicked the ball inside to Zenon Caravella and he passed across the goal-mouth to the unmarked Smeltz at the far post, who tapped the ball into an open net to complete Brisbane’s misery.

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