A-League review: Phoenix extend unbeaten run, Inman earns Roar away point

By Sports Desk December 28, 2019

Wellington Phoenix moved into the A-League's top six following a 3-1 win over Western United that extended their unbeaten run to seven matches.

After four defeats to start the campaign, Wellington have had an upturn in form and Ufuk Talay's side led 1-0 at half-time through David Ball's poked finish from a Ulises Davila cross.

New Zealand international Callum McCowatt then scored his first A-League goal after the break before Davila beat the offside trap and coolly finished 10 minutes from time.

The home side would grab a consolation, though, Steven Taylor bizarrely blocking a shot with his outstretched arm when lying on the ground to concede a penalty that Alessandro Diamanti converted.

However, that was all United had to show for their efforts as they missed the opportunity to go second ahead of Melbourne City.

The clash between the A-League's two bottom clubs - Newcastle Jets and Brisbane Roar - ended in a 1-1 draw thanks to substitute Bradden Inman's 87th-minute equaliser.

Newcastle had conceded 20 goals in their previous nine games but were indebted to Glen Moss' fine save to push Aiden O'Neill's effort around the post early on.

The Jets went ahead before the break too, Dimitrios Petratos following up to score after Jamie Young had parried Jason Hoffman's effort straight to him.

But Roar boss Robbie Fowler brought on Inman and was rewarded three minutes from time when he collected O'Neill's pass on the edge of the box, swivelled and fired a shot in off the crossbar.

Brisbane remain winless away from home this season, yet Inman's late leveller meant they avoided slipping below the bottom-of-the-table Jets.

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    Western United captain and former Italy international Alessandro Diamanti has signed a new contract, the A-League club announced on Friday.

    Diamanti will remain with Western United in Australia on a two-year deal – a boost for the league's newest team as the 2019-20 season prepares to resume on July 16 following the COVID-19 crisis.

    The 37-year-old former West Ham, Bologna and Atalanta attacker – who had been linked to rivals Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City – arrived as a marquee signing in July last year.

    Diamanti has flourished in the A-League, scoring five goals and supplying seven assists in 19 appearances prior to the coronavirus-enforced break in March.

    "We've started something special this year at Western United and I'm excited to re-sign and continue the journey we have started together," Diamanti said.

    "Our coach Mark Rudan has supported me since I arrived and given me the freedom to enjoy my football and express myself, so I thank him for that. Both he and the club are building something special and I want to be part of it as long as I can.

    "I was honoured to be the first captain of Western United, and I hope I can continue to help the club be successful and entertain our great fans."

    "From the day he walked into the football club Alessandro has been a marquee in every sense of the word," Western United head coach Mark Rudan added.

    "He's been fantastic on and off the park. His footballing skills has had the whole competition in awe, equally his positive attitude and personality has been adored by not just our fans but every football fan around the league.

    "We're ecstatic as a football club to extend Diamanti's contract as we continue to build and grow Western United."

    In May, Diamanti told Stats Perform News that the A-League had reignited his passion for football following his arrival from Serie B side Livorno.

    "Virus or no virus, I would have kept playing anyway," he said. "For sure I will still be playing football as long as I feel physically and psychologically like this, being able to offer great performances and loving to train everyday.

    "Then to be honest, to come here gave me back that lightness and that passion you always tend to lose in Europe. I will stay here in Australia next season."

    Western United were sixth after their 20 matches when the league was halted due to COVID-19.

    Diamanti and Western United are scheduled to resume their season against the Victory on July 16, though a location for the fixture is still to be determined due to a spike in coronavirus cases in the state.

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