For many of those loyal to the red and black the first two rounds of the Hyundai A-League are simply an obligatory waiting period before the clash that really matters.

The Sydney derby.

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However it is becoming increasingly unclear whether Western Sydney Wanderers will enter Round 3 the stronger of the two sides.

Following a successful Round 1 encounter with Perth Glory, Wanderers fans could sleep easy knowing their Spanish signings were worthy of the hype, Roly Bonevacia was still brilliant and their bench was teeming with talent.

However following Saturday’s tense draw with Central Coast Mariners some of that unwavering confidence may have taken a hit.

The Mariners dominated ball control racking up 60% possession by the end of the game with a whopping 576 passes. The visitors were the busier attacking side too twice taking the lead and coming painstakingly close to finishing off several counter attacks.

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Daniel De Silva was particularly devastating for the Central Coast side displaying some impressive skill on the ball with a skilfully woven goal.

The Wanderers’ two equalising goals weren’t formed from the succinct passing pieces in the midfield that were on display last week.

If the sides fluency and urgency on the ball doesn’t return during the week they will be undoubtedly trounced by last year’s champions.

Caretaker coach Hayden Foxe was evidently frustrated with his sides performance.

“We didn’t play no where near as fluent as we normally do,” explained Foxe post-match.

“We can improve a lot from that performance.”

The sides first lifeline came after an extremely lax penalty was awarded to Bonevacia following a challenge from Wout Brama. Oriol Riera put away it away from the spot without any trouble keeping the Wanderers in contention.

The home side levelled again in the second half after Bonevacia buried the loose ball following Tom Glover’s push away save.

The two chances were vital for the Wanderers, who struggled to capitalize on the through ball opportunities being provided by the wider players. Frequent offsides were also an issue with the flag being raised eight times during their attacking attempts.

While it’s hard not to acknowledge the Mariners immense improvement from last week’s F3 thrashing, it was a game the Wanderers’ should have had in the bag.

Sydney FC were rampant in their midweek FFA Cup victory, albeit against second tier side South Melbourne FC.

Fans will be hoping the occasion of the night will spur the Wanderers to perform at their best.

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Despite the setbacks of the night, Foxe still recognised the glimpses of greatness his side is capable of.

“The real positive thing is we didn’t get beat, we came back twice and we showed real resilience,” he added.

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Second year bachelor of Journalism student at the University of Wollongong. Aspiring Journalist, looking forward to the coming season!