Victory to unbeaten Wanderers

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A night of rain and therefore not quite a full house at Parramatta Stadium with 15,854 hardy souls turning up to see the home side manage a narrow win over the Melbourne Victory.


The visitors from south were once again defeated in Sydney by a one-goal margin in the space of seven days. Lightning may not strike twice but for Kevin Muscat’s men the Sydney curse did certainly return.

On the other side of the fence the Wanderers remain unbeaten and their Cinderella-like story continues unabated. It must be a source of immense pride for Tony Popovic to see his side maintain such discipline and composure even when under fire because the Victory were definitely the better side in the first half at least.

The early chances of the game were to Melbourne Victory but neither Mitch Nichols nor James Troisi could steer their early shots on goal. One was wide and the other was over.

Jerome Polenz of the Wanderers didn’t let anyone down when at the 10 minute mark he received a yellow card from referee Kris Griffith Jones.

Sadly for Polenz, the Wanderers and coach Popovic, his accumulation of the yellow cards must be of concern. Griffith Jones, an experienced referee and one of the very best in the A-League, was having none of his cavalier tackling style which surely needs some curbing.


Shortly afterwards Melbourne Victory really should have taken the lead when Archie Thompson from close range found the side netting after receiving a header from Mitch Nichols.

This dangerous chance will definitely make the blooper reel at the end of the season even though Thompson will almost certainly blame the wet surface for his calamitous missed chance.

The rain influenced a large proportion of the first half – and indeed the entire game – with neither side really having control of the situation on such a wet night.

Late in the first half there was a series of three close chances in arguably the best few minutes of play.


A Shannon Cole cross almost reached Brendan Santalab, but almost is not good enough because the ball rolled across the face of goal just waiting for someone to latch onto it.

Up the other end play went and once again the villain of the narrative was Thompson who missed the intended target when probably such a classy striker should have done better with his final shot.

The third chance in the series then fell to the Wanderers when Mark Bridge from just outside the box forced Nathan Coe to nicely turn the ball over the crossbar for a corner.

The first half nevertheless ended scoreless but to use boxing vernacular the Melbourne Victory won the half on points.

Luckily for Western Sydney football scoring makes no such allowance for boxing-type counting of points.


The second half got underway with the rain continuing to drench Parramatta Stadium. It was the 54th minute when Santalab took too much time in the box on the ball and Coe was able to smother out any attempt.

The Wanderers went close shortly afterwards when a Cole free kick just sailed over but the real surprise was that Cole actually took the free kick in the first place when Shinji Ono was hovering.

Ono became another player to waste too much precious time in the box and dithered instead of shooting first time. The ball tamely went away for a goal kick and the marquee Japanese import kicked the ball away into the tenth row of the crowd in frustration. Griffith Jones duly, and correctly, issued him with a yellow card.

The break through arrived in the 82ndminute when Labinot Haliti, not long on the field himself, went charging down the side and fired in a lovely ball from which Mark Bridge didn’t miss when standing so close to goal.

It was an easy goal in the end which sent a dagger through the hearts of the Victory supporters who probably numbered about 500 on the night.

At the final whistle Kevin Muscat threw down his umbrella in frustration and for many it would have been no surprise given his feisty reputation as a player.

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