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United top the A-League after round one

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 18 Aug 2008

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The Opening match of the 2008/09 Season was between derby rivals the Newcastle Jets and Central Coast Mariners, the result a one all draw.

Dominating in long periods with sustained possession by the Jets, it was the Mariners who were heading for victory thanks to Olyroo Matt SimonÂ’s first A-League goal in the 82nd minute. Although as with all good football scripts the Mariners were denied at the death by a penalty in the final minute of the match by Jets Striker Joel Griffiths. The draw was a just result to a lively football affair between last seasons Grand Finalists.

Sydney FC keeper Clinton Bolton stood tall as an under strength Sydney team held a misfiring Melbourne at bay in a scoreless encounter. Melbourne Victory missing the accurate finishing touches of injured Striker Archie Thompson had several clear chances to record a valuable away win against their greatest adversary.

Sydney supporters always place a greater expectation on their team to excel yet with so many players missing due to injury, suspension and Olympics duty the draw will be looked back upon as a favourable result.

A shining light in SydneyÂ’s evening was the debut of Shannon Cole. The midfielder looked very much at home in his first match for Sydney and with an ounce of luck may have given Sydney an unlikely lead had the goal post not come to MelbourneÂ’s aid. ColeÂ’s free kick thundered into the side goal post with just 20 minutes remaining. Sydney Coach John Kosmina will certainly welcome the return of Captain Tony Popovic, John Aloisi, Alex Brosque, Dez Giraldi and Stuart Musialik for the next assignment against the Central Coast Mariners.

Wellington Phoenix and Queensland Roar played out the third draw of the opening round. Scotsman Charlie Miller scored on his debut for the Roar, giving Queensland the lead in the 46th minute, only for Phoenix marksman Shane Smeltz to equalise soon after to secure 1-1 and a point apiece at Westpac Stadium.

In the final match of the round Adelaide United recorded a single goal victory against a determined Perth Glory. The experience attained in the Asian Champions League has been invaluable for Adelaide as they continued to defend with resolute vigor. The only goal scored by Captain Travis Dodd for United in the 41st minute after some great lead up work.

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