Football is supposed to be fun. The first two rounds of the season were … not, really. The opening derby was an arm wrestle that rarely broke a sweat, while the second round sunk into an angry, spiteful mire.
The F3 Derby was fun. There were great goals, attacking intent, passion and edge, and a whole lot of incident. Neither team was good enough to win, but frankly, who cares. It was fun – at least for me, watching from a warm couch with a busted leg. Kudos to those who braved the latest night of an Arctic summer.
Sydney FC pressed high early, shaking the Jets into a 2-nil lead at half-time. They say you can only play the team in front of you. In the opening stanza, Sydney were relieved to play a team that didn’t park a bus in front of goal. At their best the Sky Blues were recalling the Arnie Ball of old.
The Jets looked like what they were – a team with 14 new signings, learning each other’s games, trying to play progressive football. Then they stopped trying, and progressed.
In the second half the Jets scored two goals of real quality, dominated the ball and pushed Sydney to the brink. Sydney found moments to break forward – most notably when Adam Le Fondre had a goal ruled out by the letter of an obscure handball law – but the Jets were shaping more of the fight.
The closing minutes descended into a helter-skelter punch out. Neither side could muster the knockout swing, and the game finished angry, exhausted, and frankly, bloody entertaining.
First half: key moments
8th minute: Paolo Retre slid a through ball to Adam Le Fondre, who tapped the ball forward and drew a foul from Jets ‘keeper Jack Duncan. Le Fondre stroked the penalty home for a subdued celebration.
25th minute: Valentino Yuel fired a cross at Oliver Boumal, who chested well and slung a left-footed volley just over the bar.
30th minute: Max Burgess’s fast feet sent the ball to Retre, who looped a ball over for Le Fondre. Matt Jurman turned Le Fondre away, but then let him turn and cross to Elvis Kamsoba, who couldn’t miss from point-blank range. Cue back flips in front of a handful of aggravated Jets fans.
Second half: key moments
59th minute: Daniel Penha seized on a loose ball from Caceres, strode forward and released Yuel, who smashed the ball into the far corner. VAR found Yuel was just onside.
65th minute: Penha sprayed a long ball to Yuel, who feinted inside, attacked the near post, and slammed the ball high past Andrew Redmayne.
72nd minute: Substitute Kosta Grozos slipped into a shot from the edge of the box, slicing the ball away.
76th minute: Retre shot, Elsey blocked, and the ball fell to Patrick Wood, who squared to Le Fondre for a tap in. But VAR found Wood was offside, and Elsey’s intervention was a deflection, not ‘playing at the ball’.
85th minute: Elvis Kamsoba released Patrick Wood, who made room for a left-footed shot, but his near-post effort was well-saved by Duncan.
Highlights are available here: https://sydneyfc.com/videos/id/sydney-v-newcastle-maccas-highlights-isuzu-ute-a-league/6285161159001
Player of the match:
The Alex Tobin points went to Valentino Yuel (3), Adrian Caceres (2) and Adam Le Fondre (1).
Vote for the SFCU player of the match here: https://www.sfcu.com.au/2021/12/04/player-of-the-season-2021-22/
I’ll be voting for:
2 – Paolo Retre
1 – Max Burgess
1 – Adrian Caceres
1 – Elvis Kamsoba
1 – Joel King
It might seem odd to allocate points to central midfield when Sydney lost the second half, but Retre found two assists, while Adrian Caceres looked more dangerous with the ball than in previous rounds, and helped relieve pressure. Max Burgess looked quick of foot and mind, while Joel King let little past him and Elvis Kamsoba drifted well between striker and attacking midfielder.
What they said: taken from Sydney FC’s website: https://sydneyfc.com/news/sydney-fc-held-by-jets-var
Steve Corica: “It was an entertaining game for the fans. I thought we played really well.”
“We scored early goals in the first half and dominated it. They came back in second half and the first goal gave them momentum.
“It’s pretty frustrating with the third goal, it looks like it came off one of their players so he can’t be offside and he wasn’t offside anyway.
“It’s disappointing, and I thought in my opinion, the referee made a few bad decisions.
“The second goal for them, the ball was ten metres in front of where it was meant to be taken from and it was rolling, and then he pulls up one of ours.
“It’s disappointing because we should have won that game.”
Press conference available here: https://sydneyfc.com/videos/id/press-conference-steve-corica/6285174424001
Sydney FC: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE, 3. Ben WARLAND, 4. Alex WILKINSON, 8. Paulo RETRE, 10. Milos NINKOVIC, 14. Adam LE FONDRE, 16. Joel KING, 17. Anthony CACERES, 22. Max BURGESS (33. Patrick WOOD 70’), 23. Rhyan GRANT, 27. Elvis KAMSOBA (11. Trent BUHAGIAR 85’).
Unused Subs: 20. Tom HEWARD-BELLE (GK), 2. James DONACHIE, 21. Harry VAN DER SAAG, 28. Calem NIEUWENHOF, 32. Patrick YAZBEK.
Yellow Cards: Retre 39’, Warland 65’, Grant 71’, Wood 80’.
Red Cards: None.
Newcastle Jets: 1. Jack DUNCAN, 2. Dane INGHAM, 3. Jordan HOFFMAN (15. Dylan MURNANE 77’), 4. Jordan ELSEY, 6. Matt JURMAN, 7. Jordan O’DOHERTY (14. Mohamed AL-TAAY 77’), 9. Beka MIKELTADZE (23. Eli BABALJ 92’), 10. Olivier BOUMAL, 11. Daniel DO SANTOS PENHA (16. Kostandinos GROZOS 69’), 17. Kuach YUEL (25. Samuel SILVERA 77’), 32. Angus THURGATE.
Subs: 50. Michael WEIER, 22. Riley WARLAND.
Yellow Cards: Duncan 8’.
Red Cards: None.
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.
Referee: Jonathan Barreiro.
Next game: Sydney FC host Macarthur FC on Wednesday, December 8. Kickoff is 7:30pm.