Wembley heartache fuels Le Fondre’s Grand Final hunger

Play-off heartache forged in England’s Wembley Stadium could be the extra spark Adam Le Fondre needs to fire Sydney FC to victory over Perth Glory in the Hyundai A-League 2019 Grand Final on Sunday.

Le Fondre, 32, has twice been on the losing side in a League Two play-off at Wembley, first with Rochdale in 2007/08, and then again with Rotherham United in 2009/10.

The accomplished Sky Blues marksman has found silverware elusive throughout his career spanning all four of England’s top divisions, although he did top-score with 12 goals to help fire Reading to the Championship title in 2011/12.

He came close to adding to that solitary trophy last October in the FFA Cup, but Adelaide United beat his Sydney FC side 2-1 despite Le Fondre scoring from the spot for the Sky Blues.

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“I’ve got bad memories there, but that’s why I’ve escaped England and come over here,” Le Fondre said. “It’s what I came out here for, to play in the big games.

“Obviously, we were unlucky in the FFA Cup Final 2018, and to come runners-up in the Premiers Plate as well.

“It’s another opportunity to win silverware on Sunday but we have to put in a top performance to get there.”

Le Fondre
Paul Turnbull of Stockport County (left) battles with Le Fondre, playing for Rochdale, in England's 2008 League 2 Play-off Final

Le Fondre – who scored 12 goals in the English Premier League with Reading in 2012/13 – looms as a pivotal figure if the Sky Blues are to upset the odds in WA on Sunday.

The Sydney striker has scored 18 goals in 28 matches for Steve Corica’s side this season, including one in each of his three meetings with the Glory.

"It's a one-off game this Sunday, so everything is on the line," he said. "Bodies are going to be on the line flying everywhere, so I don't really care who scores as long as we're on the right side of the result.”