What happened to the Newcastle ground staff?
I couldn't believe the condition of the pitch yesterday. After the match, an emotional Nick Carle said 'The less said about the pitch the better... but Sydney played in the same conditions and well done to them.' Yes but. I recall Nic Theodorakopoulos complaining about the poor state of New Zealand's home ground and recounting that one of the principles of the A-League was to be quality stadiums and pitches. He'd be rolling on the turf now...
This was the game of the season. And the Newcastle crowd knew it with almost 21,000 turning up for a local record. It was the A-League's best attacking play verses its best defensive game. Clearly the sand helped Sydney's defensive, long ball, approach. Meanwhile, Newcastle's usually deft passes were - stuck in the sand.
Terry Butcher still looks a little isolated despite his winning run. His goals came from the two players he has stuck mainly on the bench. For me, Alex Brosque was one of the A-League's great prospects in 2005-2006. Yet he has been starved of game time. Now he has had two starts in two matches and two goals. And Sasho Petrovski, apparently still vocalising his hurt from lack of game time, showed that he is the master of Butcher's long ball game, heading down a Sydney defensive clearance and left-footing in from almost 30 metres. Two kicks for almost the length of the pitch.
The threat of a loss of three points unified the Sydney players, but did it draw them to their coach and his tactics? Perhaps.
Well as Wayne said the loss means that the round virtually did not happen. Lawrie McKinna certainly looked happy in the stands.