Every A-League round, we hand out our FTBL awards for the brilliant, bad and bizarre moments each week. In round 16, one team showed exactly how not to defend set-pieces, whilst one youngster continued to provide goals from midfield.
The Efficiency Award
Western United and Wellington met once again in the Mark Rudan Derby last Thursday, just 11 days after their previous meeting, which ended 3-2 to the Nix.
The entertainment in their latest affair was a far cry from that five-goal thriller, with both sides sharing the spoils in a drab 1-1 draw.
There were two shots on target in the entire match, the two goals, scored by Ben Waine and Lachlan Wales.
But did both sides lack quality, or were they just efficient when it mattered?
I would say the former, and hopefully, we have fewer matches like that in the latter part of the season.
FT: Western United (0.45) 1-1 (0.50) Wellington Phoenix pic.twitter.com/ZN9r2ucghI— A-League xG (@ALeague_xG) April 22, 2021
The Disgraceful Set-Piece Defending Award
This award goes to the Western Sydney Wanderers. They showcased how not to defend set-pieces on Friday against the Victory.
The Wanderers must have overanalysed the Victory’s derby defeat the previous week because they started to mimic the embarrassing defending that took place in the 7-0 romp.
They handed the Victory all three of their first-half goals – particularly the second and third – on a platter with some woeful penalty area marking.
Storm Roux ghosted in entirely unmarked from a corner to head the home side 2-0 up.
Ben Folami then netted his second – also from a corner – by shrugging aside Ziggy Gordon with alarming ease and side-footing home.
Folami’s opener was poor defending from the away side, too, as they had an outnumber in transition but still left the Ipswich Town loanee unmarked at the back post.
The bizarre marking continued after the break – again from a corner – with Gordon again beaten. This time, Dylan Ryan had a simple tap in at the back post.
It was no surprise that the Scot was dragged immediately after this goal, too; he had a shocker.
Ziggy Gordon is having a nightmare!!! He should walk off the ground himself!!— sinisa cohadzic (@sikic10) April 23, 2021
The main issue for the Wanderers has been finding goals consistently and struggling to find their best partnership upfront.
However, based on Friday's defeat, their defending is now an issue. If Robinson’s side keeps going on like this, then they can wave their finals hopes goodbye.
The Frank Lampard Award
Connor Metcalfe is slowly becoming one of Melbourne City's most crucial attacking threats. On Saturday night, he netted his fourth of the season from midfield.
The 21-year-old ghosted into the area, Frank Lampard style, to volley home a Craig Noone cross and put City 1-0 up against Macarthur.
The notion of arriving late into the area is becoming a common theme of Melcalfe's goals, as he showed with a brace in City's first derby demolition this season.
Not at our best tonight but unlucky not to take all 3 points, Metcalfe just gets better and better. On to the next one 💪— Clucking Bantams 🐓 (@toddmustgo) April 24, 2021
He also has four assists to his name this term and is on the fast track for the Olyroos squad going to the Olympics.
If he keeps this form up, he would have to start in Graham Arnold's eleven, and a move overseas might be calling as well.