Heroic Moments: Krishna seals place in history with clutch hat-trick
It was an action-packed penultimate round in the Hyundai A-League as clubs fought for pride, home finals and everything in between.
Ultimately it was one man from Fiji that stood tallest in the ensuing drama of the Easter weekend, netting a hat-trick to secure all three points for Wellington Phoenix.
Roy Krishna has enjoyed an amazing season to date but his three goals in the 3-2 win against Melbourne City, including a stoppage-time winner, means 2018/19 is his best ever.
His 18 goals this campaign is not only the best return for a Nix player but also worthy of sitting atop the Golden Boot ladder with a game to go.
His nearest rival is Sydney FC’s Adam Le Fondre who requires a double in their last game against Newcastle Jets just to draw level with Krishna.
Krishna, who joined the Nix in 2014, also became the first player in the club’s history to reach a half-century of goals.
The hat-trick itself was a thing of beauty as well with all three goals coming in distinctly different ways.
The first was a classic counter-attack with Krishna's finish a neat little dink over the rushing Eugene Galekovic.
The second was a pinpoint strike from the top of the penalty area, evading the red and white defenders and lashing the ball into the left-hand corner.
The third and final was perhaps the most impressive though.
The diminutive Fijian popped up in the chaos befitting an injury-time corner and held off a physical challenge from Galekovic before calmly flicking it over the line to prompt dramatic scenes at Westpac Stadium.
Champness continuing to make strides
All Hyundai A-League fans would have spared a thought for Joey Champness when the Newcastle Jets youngster suffered a fractured foot in pre-season.
That injury meant that the flyer wouldn’t be seen again in Jets’ colours for another five months but since returning in Round 14 the 21-year old has made a steady comeback..
That culminated in a dominant display during the Jets’ 6-1 thumping of Brisbane on Saturday night with Champness scoring a double and providing an assist.
The first in particular was an absolute peach of a strike, curling into the top right-hand corner and giving goalkeeper Jamie Young no chance.
The second was a lot simpler with Champness needing only to tap the ball in less than a metre out from a Dimitri Petratos cross.
Grant proving worth yet again
The past three Hyundai A-League campaigns have been kind to Rhyan Grant.
The boy from Canowindra has evolved from reliable right-back to the best in the country, leading to a debut for the Caltex Socceroos last year.
His performance against newly-crowned Premiers Perth Glory was just what we’ve come to expect from the man with the mullet.
The 28-year old was a focal point of the Sky Blues’ attack, notching up an incredible 92 touches as he patrolled the flank, a statistic only bettered by teammate Brandon O’Neill.
Grant also made three tackles, won nine of 13 duels and picked off three interceptions.
Reds striker walks fine line
Had things gone as planned then this section of Heroic Moments would never have been written.
That’s because George Blackwood’s match-winning goal in the 81st minute was very close to not happening had Adelaide United manager Marco Kurz been a bit quicker.
Kurz revealed post-match that he had discussed taking off Blackwood shortly before he rose through the air to head in Isaias’ corner and consign rivals Melbourne Victory to defeat.
It was a well taken goal towards the end of another tense Original Rivalry clash and the 1-0 result could well secure the Reds a crucial home final.
Adelaide currently sit in the coveted fourth spot but are only a point ahead of Wellington and will surely need to take at least a point from their trip to Brisbane to ensure they return to Coopers Stadium in a fortnight’s time.
‘Oh captain, my captain’
Finally this week it’s time to give Central Coast Mariners captain Matt Simon his due after his emotional brace against Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday night.
The Gosford club have endured a wretched season, losing their manager and slumping to a third wooden spoon in the space of four years.
But against the Wanderers there were signs of life.
The Mariners raced to a 3-0 lead in the second half with Simon scoring two of them, the first an absolute pile driver from a dead ball and the second a well-taken penalty.
With interim manager Alen Stajcic all but confirming he will take the reins on the permanent basis next season, a reinvigorated Simon could be a sign things are on the up and up in Terrigal.