The Western Sydney Wanderers faced Brisbane Roar at Parramatta on Friday Night, in a 6 v 7 clash both teams were desperate to win to keep in touch with the top 4. Brisbane came away with the three points, as goals from Josh Brindell-South & Riku Danzaki came either side of a 23rd minute Bruce Kamau goal.
Simon Cox being returned to the starting lineup by Carl Robinson was the major pre-game news, his recent good form off the bench earning him the start. Dylan McGowan also returned following a rest stint. The Wanderers began brightly and on top of the visitors, Tom Aquilina drawing a yellow card out of Josh Brindell-South as the fullback turned the corner and was about to head into the penalty area. In the 15th minute Tate Russell did break into the area, turning in and out to beat his marker before firing in a cross that was cleared for a corner. Ziggy Gordon was left completely free from the set piece but could only hit the header straight into the arms of Jamie Young.
The Roar took the lead against the run of play in the 17th minute from their first serious attack of the game. Dylan Wenzel-Halls took a touch on the edge of the penalty area then cut onto his right foot to leave Russell unable to put in a block. The long range effort couldn't beat Margush but the Wanderers keeper could do little but turn the ball into the path of Brindell-South and the fullback managed to nutmeg Aquilina with his follow-up strike and score at the near post past the diving Margush.
Brisane nearly doubled their lead in the 23rd minute, with Corey Brown having an acre of space on the left flank, his cross found an unmarked Wenzel-Halls inside the 6 yard box but his header was incredibly poor and blazed over the bar.
The Wanderers went straight up the other end and equalised. Margush fired a long ball onto half-way, two of the Roar's 3 man central defensive unit knocked each other, leaving the ball for Mitch Duke. He pushed forward and found Simon Cox who immediately found Bruce Kamau in the middle of the penalty area with a low pass. Kamau summed up the situation as he strode onto the ball and fired a left footed first time shot past Jamie Young into the roof of the net and a 1-1 scoreline. The friendly fire collision forced Tom Aldred off the field and he was replaced by Kai Trewin.
Margush was having a very eccentric evening, coming out his area on numerous occasions to clear through balls and was caught off his line right before half-time. The ball dropped in midfield for Jay O'Shea and he took a look up and catapulted the ball towards the Wanderers goal, with Margush scrambling and completely beaten the keeper was rescued by the crossbar, and on the rebound Danzaki was there first but couldn't keep his feet and the Wanderers escaped a very dangerous situation.
The crossbar scare perhaps spooked Margush from coming out again as the Roar played a long ball behind the defence that Joey Champness totally beat Ziggy Gordon for pace. The Wanderers defence was slow to react, McGowan couldn't close down the first time cross and Tass Mourdoukoutas had inexplicably slowed down in his pursuit of Danzaki and that was all the space the Japanese young gun needed, a first time side footed finish that Margush had no hope of stopping. The two teams headed into the break with the Wanderers having the better of the half but suffering from two moments of poor defence to go in behind.
The Wanderers opened the half with a chance for Mitch Duke at a corner he couldn't put on target. In the 55th minute Macaulay Gillesphey rose at a Roar corner, ensured Baccus couldn't impact on his header, it required Margush to palm it away and for Gordon to clear it long. Robinson reacted to the lack of forward progress by taking off Mitch Duke and Simon Cox and replacing them with Bernie Ibini and Kwame Yeboah. In an unusual event one of the linesmen had to come off the pitch with a groin injury, 67 minute in. The fourth official had to step in and run the line on the far side.
Robinson took the time to prepare his 2nd set of subs for the night with James Troisi and Daniel Wilmering coming in for Tate Russell and Tass Mourdoukoutas. Along with the subs came a formation change as the team reshaped into 442 with a diamond midfield. The change nearly paid immediately dividends as a magnificent cross from Daniel Wilmering found the head of Kwame Yeboah without result. A 73rd minute corner wasn't cleared properly by the Roar, and it fell to McGowan, his turning shot was on target but straight at Young. The Wanderers made their final change of the night as Dorrans exited for Nicolai Muller.
The 85th minute was marked by a great chance for Bernie Ibini. Wilmering found him with another brilliant cross from deep, Ibini chested it down, and turned on his marker only to have it blocked by a desperate lunge from Kai Trewin. The ball fell to Muller but after beating one defender he couldn't get the ball through a sea of legs. Western Sydney threw everything but the keeper up in the final minutes with a succession of corners. Troisi couldn't find a quality ball but he still managed to create havoc, after pinballing deep inside the area Troisi steamed in off a long run up but provided one of the worst shots of the game as his shot ended up in the parking lot.
The loss was the Wanderers 5 game in a row without a win, and leaves the club almost certain to drop out of the top 6 due to the mammoth games in hand difference between the Wanderers and the chasing pack of Brisbane and Western United. If the side weren't coming up against Melbourne Victory next week you'd wonder when if ever the next win would come from. As it stands there might be some slight favouritism for the Wanderers depending on how Victory do in their Saturday derby. Carl Robinson looks to have little capacity to turn things around, he continues his dismal 5 at the back formation that simply does not work with the side he has assembled.
The Wanderers next game is against Melbourne Victory on Friday April 23 in Melbourne with kickoff at 7:05 PM.