The Western Sydney Wanderers hoped to backup their 3-2 Sydney Derby win by getting back in the top 6 by picking up all three points against 7th placed Western United in Parramatta tonight. They fulfilled all possible expectation with a 5-0 annihilation with goals from all over the pitch to catapult them into the Top 6 and heaping pressure on the Brisbane Roar.
The Wanderers returned to the 5 at the back formation they have been playing this season, starting brightly by winning a corner in just 30 seconds, they weren't able to capitalise on the early opportunity. Steven Ugarkovic, the Wanderers new signing made his way onto the bench at the expense of Simon Cox, while Tate Russell replaced Bernie Ibini as part of the return to a 5 man defensive front. After playing midweek against Brisbane on a heavy pitch the visitors kept marquee Alessandro Diamanti on the bench.
Bruce Kamau flashed a curling strike just wide of the post in the 9th minute. He turned his marker inside out before firing past the post, unable to bend it into the top corner. There was a hint of a handball in the leadup so even had he scored it may have been ruled out by VAR. In the 13th minute the Wanderers had a double chance, Mitch Duke found Tom Aquilina bombing on down the left flank, his cut back looked to find the open Jordon Mutch, the midfielder's strike was blocked by the defense. The rebound fell to Kamau, he launched a cross into the middle that beat everyone on both teams.
Western United failed to play out from the back and paid the ultimate price. The Wanderers high press paid off when Andrew Durante played a hospital ball to Victory Sanchez, the midfielder was swarmed and monstered by Graham Dorrans, Troisi picking up the ball and running at the defence, setting up the left foot strike with enough power to blast through the weak right hand of Ryan Scott.
Troisi almost got a double minutes later, with fancy footwork he played the ball onto his right foot to open up space before firing at goal, bringing out a neat save from Scott. The Wanderers assault continued, winning a corner that the Western United defence could do nothing more than knock down for Duke on the penalty spot, his wild swing connecting with power but no placement, the ball flying out into the stands. Scott pulled off another reaction save to his left, seeing the ball late from a Dorrans grasscutter free kick, the ball beating the attackers & defenders to force the save. Dorrans had another crack at goal from distance, forcing yet another save out of Scott to win a corner. The inswinger found Duke's head but went wide.
In the 35th minute Aquilina made a brilliant transition run after picking the ball up deep in the Wanderers half, he blazed past the United defence, cutting in on his right, it required a diving block from Tomoki Imai to turn the ball away for a corner. Ziggy Gordon profited from the corner to make it 2-0 to the home side, Troisi's low in-swinger finding Gordon's feet, rebounding up and over the despairing leap of Scott to double the lead.
Western United finally managed a decent attack 43 minutes in, Lachie Wales cutting in on his right, trying to find Besart Berisha in the middle but skipping the ball off the turf in a manner that required Daniel Margush to stick out a paw and turn it aside. Seconds before the break Scott made his first eror of the game, dropping the ball with a double clutched long throw that spilled into the path of Troisi, the scramble resulted in a Wanderers corner that Western United managed to turn away to hear the relief of the half-time whistle. It was a dominant 45 minutes for the Wanderers, taking advantage of the tired opponents to press high, pass & finish well.
The first 5 minutes played out like the previous 45, the Wanderers dominant and having the chances. The 49th Western United lost the ball, Troisi found Duke making a wide run, Duke hit the cover off the ball with the left foot, drawing another fantastic save from Scott that stopped the score blowing out to a 3-0 score-line.
Western United threw on their talisman Diamanti but he was only on the pitch moments before the Wanderers gave themselves a 3-0 lead with neat work from Troisi. Aquilina found the attacking midfielder with a backheel, Kamau ran into the space at the near post left by the defence moving over to cover Troisi and he had a tap-in finish. An hour into the game and the home team had more goals than the visitors had shots in total and that underscored the total dominance the Red & Black were having in the game.
Diamanti's first impact on the match was a long cross into Aaron Calver, with back to goal Calver attempted a flick on but all he could do was knock it wide. Luckily perhaps for the Wanderers, the reverse angle replay showing it might have snuck in at the far post with the touch from Calver.
The fourth goal of the night was scored by Western United, unfortunately for substitute Dylan Pierias his only touch in his ten minutes on the pitch resulted in the ball ending up in his own net. Troisi was in space again on the byline and his fast cross wasn't picked up by Pierias and it flashed into the net off his thigh. Both teams had made a raft of changes and while neither side put the cue in the rack, they found it tough to carve out clean cut chances until the 89th minute when Bernie Ibini was the recipient of a lucky bounce from a mis-hit shot from Ugarkovic. It put Ibini in 1 on 1 with Scott and Ibini couldn't miss, hitting the ball like it owed him money to make it 5-0.
The result was one that arguably flattered Western United, they had their goalkeeper to thank for it not being a double figure score-line and they were dismal and completely flat in attack and defence. For the Wanderers it wasn't just the goals but the defensive display, picking up a much needed clean sheet after several weeks of wild score-lines. They now have a full week to prepare for their next match, the long flight to Perth to take on the Glory on Sunday May 16th with kick-off at 8:15PM Sydney time.