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A-League: Takeaways from matchday 12

Stalemate was the order of the week during matchday 12 of the A-League season, with four of the six fixtures ending all square.

It all ensured Melbourne City maintained a healthy four-point advantage at the top of the standings following a 1-1 draw with third-placed Western Sydney Wanderers, while Central Coast Mariners applied some pressure with their away-day win at Macarthur. 

The bottom five teams all collected a point each, maintaining the status quo, while Brisbane Roar's home defeat against Wellington Phoenix saw them dropping to seventh.

Here's our look at some of the talking points from the latest round of A-League games.

Highlight reel worth watching

One feature of matchday 12 was the amount of stunning goals scored. Goal of the Week will be a tough school, with some magnificent strikes more likely to feature as contenders for strike of the season.

As the weekend unfolded, it seemed that one standout goal simply followed another.

Nick D'Agostino got the ball rolling on Saturday in the Original Rivalry clash between Melbourne Victory and Adelaide FC.

The striker, who had been in a bit of a lean patch of form as of late, ended his drought with a real thunderbolt, picking up possession from Josh Brillante before unleashing an arrow into the top corner – his first goal in five games.

Sydney FC's Joe Lolley got in on the act with a powerful strike that found the net off an upright, while Richard van der Venne's half-volley from a tight angle gave goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas no chance and earned the table-toppers Melbourne City a share of the spoils at Western Sydney.

The stylish scoring wasn't done there. Both Lachie Wales and Daniel Stynes fired top-drawer efforts as Western Sydney and Newcastle played out a 1-1 draw in Ballarat.

Admirably, the Western United scorer deflected praise for his own strike and suggested that Stynes' effort was the standout: "Yeah it was not a bad one but young 'Stynesy' did me at other end, I think!" Wales told Paramount+.

Following their draw with the Jets, Western United are 5/2 to Finish in Top 6 this season, while Newcastle are 3/1.

Related A-League News

Sunday's A-League preview: Wanderers desperately need to dent City charge

Saturday A-League preview: Victory seek rare success

Central Coast finding their stride 

Things are looking up for the Central Coast Mariners right now after they made it three wins on the bounce with their 2-1 triumph over Macarthur at Campbelltown Stadium. 

They raced into control with goals inside the opening half hour from Marco Tulio and Jason Cummings, with Mathew Millar's strike before the hour-mark unable to provoke a comeback from the home side despite a spirited late effort.

Cummings has been in a rich vein of form as of late as he made it five goals in seven games since coming back from the World Cup with a vengeance. His partnership with Tulio is really flourishing now and they are amongst the most dynamic of front pairings in the A-League.

Wingers Beni N'Kololo and Sammy Silvera are providing plenty ammunition, while Jacob Farrell continues to impress for a Mariners side now seemingly laced with attacking threats.

At 7/1, Central Coast have a tall order to overhaul the 2/5 leaders Melbourne City in Minor Premiership race but confidence will be increasing within the squad that they can end the season with Grand Final glory, currently a 5/1 chance.

Strong Sail key as Phoenix on the rise

Goalkeeper Oliver Sail made no less than three crucial saves as Wellington Phoenix secured a 1-0 win over Brisbane Roar on the road on Saturday afternoon.

Two of those stops came right at the end of the contest, ensuring Sail can lay claims to a major responsibility for the three points going back to New Zealand. 

After ten games, the Phoenix were without a shutout, but they've now kept successive clean sheets, helping them record back-to-back wins for the first time this season to surge into the top four.

Sail has been key to that form since the turn of the year. Roar forward Joe Knowles really went about testing the netminder late in the game on Saturday, firing at him from all angles, but Sail was equal to the challenge and the shutout helped the Phoenix climb above the likes of their opponents as well as Adelaide United and Macarthur (on goal difference) to nudge their way into the top four. 

On the back of recent wins, Wellington Phoenix are now 4/6 to Finish in Top 6 this season.

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