Nichols’ screamer nicks all three points for Wanderers

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Mitch Nichols’ 79th minute curling strike was the difference between Western Sydney and the Roar, securing his team a 2-1 win at Pirtek Stadium.

With the game heading for a draw Mitch Nichols took full advantage of a lapse in defence from Brisbane Roar, floating a shot into the goal from outside the 18-yard box.

Mark Bridge had put the home side ahead in the 30th minute when he nailed home Romeo Castelen’s cross.

Brisbane struck back five minutes later after Jamie McLaren was passed the ball through on goal and made no mistake of striking it past Wanderers’ goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne.

Roar almost had the first goal of the match when Dimitri Petratos’ swung in a cross from the right sideline which provided Jamie McLaren a half-chance on goal. Redmayne collided with McLaren and his own Wanderers defender as shouts for a penalty echoed out around the ground.

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Western Sydney began to look dangerous on the counterattack as Mark Bridge’s cross found Mitch Nichols at the back-post who was pressed by enough Brisbane defence that he headed wide of the goal.

The Wanderers’ strategy came to fruition on the half hour mark when Romeo Castelen burst through the Roar’s defence and into the 18-yard box before passing the ball across the face of goal to an unmarked Mark Bridge who slotted it into the net.

The Roar were not prepared to sit on their haunches and almost immediately hit back through Jamie McLaren just five minutes later. Thomas Broich slotted a first-time pass through to McLaren who darted into the box, stuttered and then hit the ball over Redmayne’s grasps and into the Wanderers’ net.

From the second half restart the Wanderers looked to keep ball possession and be patient in search of a second goal.

Brendon Santalab showed hunger when he was subbed on in 62nd minute, tackling the ball from Jade North and shooting an attempt on goal that was easily fielded by Jamie Young.

With the game hanging in the balance, Mitch Nichols stepped up in the 79th minute to hit a curling shot into the right side of the goal from just outside the 18-yard box.

The Wanderers will take great confidence as they move up to first position on the Hyundai A-League ladder.

Western Sydney Wanderers: 3. JAMIESON Scott, 4. TOPOR-STANLEY Nikolai (c), 6. NICHOLS Mitch, 7. CASTELEN Romeo, 8. DELGADO Dimas, 10. VIDOSIC Dario, 12. NEVILLE Scott, 17. AGUILAR Alberto, 18. ANDREU, 19. BRIDGE Mark, 20. REDMAYNE Andrew (GK).

Substitutes: 1. BOUZANIS Dean (GK), 11. SANTALAB Brendon, 14. MEBRAHTU Golgol, 16. SOTIRIO Jaushua, 21. PEPPER Jacob.

Brisbane Roar: 3. STEFANUTTO Shane, 7. CORONA, 9. MACLAREN Jamie, 10. HENRIQUE, 13. NORTH Jade, 14. BOWLES Daniel, 17. MCKAY Matt (c), 19. HINGERT Jack, 21. YOUNG Jamie (GK), 22. BROICH Thomas, 23. PETRATOS Dimitri.

Substitutes: 8. LUSTICA Steven, 15. DONACHIE James, 16. CLUT Devante, 28. BORRELLO Brandon, 36. JANNESE Andrew (GK).

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Michael Puterflam
Sydney FC and Manchester United fan. Digital Publishing Coordinator at Fox Sports Australia. B Media & B Commerce from UNSW. Former Guinness World Record holder for longest video game marathon (FIFA 11 for 30 hours).