September 25, 2012
AUCKLAND – Big name signings were grabbing the headlines in the lead up to
the upcoming A-League with marquee players Alessandro del Piero and Emile Heskey confirming they will play the next season 'down under'. But for kiwis abroad fans the news was also good with our leading players in fine form as their pre-season fixtures continue.
All Whites utility Jeremy Brockie scored his 15th pre-season goal for the Wellington Phoenix in their match against A-League new boys Western Sydney Wanderers in Christchurch.
7,009 fans turned out at AMI Stadium in a dress rehearsal for the ground before the All Whites roll into town for their FIFA World Cup™ qualifier with Tahiti on October 16.
Talented wide man Marco Rojas seems to have forced his way into Ange Postecoglou's first XI after he scored a hat-trick in yesterday's intraclub match, which served as Melbourne Victory's final dress rehearsal before Round 1 of the A-League.
Perth Glory capped off their pre-season campaign in stunning fashion on Saturday with a 5-0 win over Melbourne Heart with All Whites striker Shane Smeltz was in the goals nabbing a brace.
Central Coast Mariners secured a 1-0 win over Brisbane Roar on the Sunshine Coast. All Whites lynchpin Michael McGlinchey was the first player to go close to opening the scoring after the interval, but unfortunately for the diminutive midfielder his delicate effort also flew over the woodwork.
Further afield Chris Killen suffered a loss with Chongqing in China League One to remain mid-table after 26 matches. In Japan Michael Fitzgerald scored the opener for V-Varen Nagasaki in their 2-1 away win over Blaublitz Akita. The win took Nagasaki to the top of the Japan Football League tied on points but with a game in hand.
It wasn't a happy return to White Hart Lane for All Whites captain Ryan Nelsen who turned out against his former club Tottenham but his Queens Park Rangers side lost the London derby 1-2.
Next up for Nelsen and the R's is an all-Premier League clash with Reading in the second round of the League Cup at Loftus Road.
Another all-Premier League clash in the League Cup will see West Ham host Wigan Athletic on Wednesday morning (NZ time). The Hammers needed a stoppage time equaliser from captain Kevin Nolan to ensure a 1-1 draw at the Boleyn Ground with All Whites defender Winston Reid logging another 90 minutes for West Ham.
Chris Wood marked his starting debut for Millwall with a 79th minute goal in 1-2 home loss to Championship high fliers Brighton & Hove Albion, one of Wood’s former clubs. The former Waikato FC frontman rifled home his first goal for the club from a tight angle. The West Brom loanee so nearly grabbed a dramatic injury-time equaliser but it was not to be and the Lions slipped into the relegation zone.
Also in the relegation zone is Tommy Smith who scored a bizarre own goal in the 0-2 midweek home loss against Wolves. Smith once again started for Ipswich Town but was replaced on 90 minutes as the Tractor Boys lost their second consecutive match in a week at Portman Road to Charlton. The 1-2 result saw Ipswich slide into 23rd position in the 24-team Championship.
At youth level Cameron Howieson made his first start for Burnley this season scoring one, and setting up another as he helped Burnley's U-18’s thrash Morecambe 5-0.
In Scotland, Rory Fallon is still on the injured list for Aberdeen. While Greg Draper dropped to the bench for The New Saints as they got back to winning ways with a 3-0 win over fellow Welsh heavyweights Bangor City. TNS had gone scoreless for the last three matches by returned to the top of the Welsh Premier League table, equal on points with Prestatyn Town.
The aptly-named FC Haka drew 0-0 with Jaro in the Finnish Veikkausliiga keeping them in the relegation zone. Kris Bright played a full part in the goalless stalemate and will hope the club can catch their nearest rivals Kuopion Palloseura won secured a crucial 2-0 win over Myllykosken Pallo and have former All White Chris James on their books.
Rounding out Nordic football is Craig Henderson who suffered a defeat on the road with Mjällby in the Swedish Allsvenskan.
Still in Sweden there was a rare clash of Football Ferns in the Damallsvenskan when LdB Malmö with Ali Riley in their ranks clashed with Kirsty Yallop and her Vittsjö teammates. Both had reason to smile at the conclusion of the match with Yallop scoring a late equaliser from a free-kick before Malmö scored in stoppage time and took the three points on offer to stay top of the table.
In the first full round of the Frauen Bundesliga kicked off three Football Ferns were in action. Bad Neuenahr opened their season with a 1-0 win which saw Sarah Gregorius get 25 minutes off the bench. USV Jena suffered their second defeat of the campaign with both Ria Percival and Amber Hearn playing out the 90 minutes in the 0-4 loss.
The news isn’t great for Ferns skipper Rebecca Smith who missed Vfl Wolfsburg’s opening match with a knee injury. Elsewhere, the UEFA Women's Champions League proper begins this week and many of the players, including Smith, have written their own UEFA.com profiles with insight into their careers and inspirations.
Andrew Boyens made a rare appearance for the LA Galaxy in their difficult midweek away trip to Puerto Rico in the CONCACAF Champions League. Boyens failed to back that up with an appearance in the weekend squad for the MLS match with Toronto in which the Galaxy won 4-2.
Hannah Wilkinson continued her impressive start to her collegiate career scoring in 16 seconds in the University of Tennessee's 6-0 mauling of Mississippi State. The Football Fern now has four goals in six matches.
Also in the southern state of Tennessee and matching Wilkinson's four goal haul this season is freshman Kate Loye who moved to Middle Tennessee University after the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan.