The record Wanderers don’t want

After three games without scoring, Western Sydney Wanderers are closing on a competition record. And odds on, it won’t be goal-shy defender Adam D’Apuzzo who breaks their duck…

Despite a couple of close calls in the Hyundai A-League’s first Sydney derby, new kids on the block Western Sydney Wanderers are still yet to find a goal.

And if there’s not enough pressure for the Wanderers to break their duck in their tough Round 4 trip to Suncorp Stadium, the west Sydney club only needs to look at the record books for added burden.

Only once before in the A-League has a team not scored in its first four matches of the season.

The dubious honour of longest goal-less start to a season is held by the Central Coast Mariners, who took 372 minutes (12 minutes into their fifth game) to score their first goal for the season in 2006/07.

And in terms of the longest goal-less start to a club’s national league existence, that record currently belongs to the old Brisbane Lions, who went through their first four matches of the inaugural National Soccer League (NSL) season in 1977 without scoring.

But fans of the league’s newest club need not worry yet. Despite not scoring in their first 270 minutes of existence, there’s a long, long way to go for the Wanderers before they come anywhere near the longest goal-less streak for an A-League club.

That unenviable record of 607 minutes – that’s 10 hours and seven minutes without finding the back of the net – was set by the old New Zealand Knights, who went without scoring for almost seven matches early in the 2006/07 A-League season.

And when we consider the old NSL, Parramatta Eagles’ run of 657 minutes without scoring during 1993/94 remains as the longest goal-less run for a club at national league level in Australia.

But getting back to the Wanderers’ goal-shy start to 2012/13, it would be ironic if Wanderers midfielder Adam D’Apuzzo – who actually came close to scoring in the big Round 3 Sydney derby – notched the new team’s historic first goal.

Leading into Round 4, goalphobic D’Apuzzo holds the dubious distinction of playing most matches without scoring, excluding goalkeepers.

After D’Apuzzo played his 105th A-League match against Sydney FC in Round 3, he is still yet to score.

Of all current outfield players, Melbourne Heart defender Michael Marrone is the second worst non-goalscorer, albeit well behind D’Apuzzo, having not scored in 78 matches (after Round 3).

And in third place, again considering current outfielders only, is Brisbane Roar’s Shane Stefanutto, without a sniff after 62 A-League matches (after Round 3).

But when we incorporate Stefanutto’s NSL playing career (Brisbane Strikers 1998-2004), the Brisbane stalwart has gone 150 Australian national league matches without scoring.

Stefanutto last scored in an Australian league match in May 2000, for Brisbane Strikers against Morwell Falcons – almost 12-and-a-half years ago!

So, does not scoring for so long, even for a defender, mean that player isn’t quite up to scratch?

Well, if we look at which player holds the Australian national league record for longest run without scoring, the answer’s a pretty clear “no”.

Milan Ivanovic, one of the greatest imports in Australian football history, went for 223 matches with Adelaide City without scoring – an all-time record for most Australian national league matches without scoring.

Ivanovic arrived in Adelaide from his native Serbia in 1988, and captained Australia in his last of 71 Socceroo appearances in 1998.

His inexplicable exclusion from Australia’s defensive line-up in the last critical matches of the 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign is still seen by many as the key reason for the Socceroos not qualifying for France 1998.

This so-called barren run of 223 NSL matches for Ivanovic, from July 1989 to April 1997, was not quite so barren for his team.

With a stunning win-draw-loss record of 109-60-54, eight consecutive finals series appearances, four grand finals, and two national Championships, Ivanovic’s run of 223 NSL matches for Adelaide City without scoring coincided with one of the most dominant extended form runs of any team in Australian national league history.

If current goal-shy A-League outfielders like D’Apuzzo (105 A-League games without scoring), Marrone (78) and Stefanutto (62) have any doubters, because they just can’t ever seem to find the back of the net, they only need to remind the knockers who holds the Australian record for most matches without scoring.

To be behind a legend like Milan Ivanovic is no bad thing.

Follow Andrew Howe-s Aussie football stats updates on Twitter @AndyHowe_statto