A brace by Brendon Santalab along with goal to Nico Martinez has seen off the Wellington Phoenix 3-1 in a match featuring trademark A-League poor officiating.
Despite starting the game in 8th position, the 3-1 victory sees the Wanderers leapfrog Perth, Newcastle and the vanquished Phoenix to move up into 5th place. Western Sydney should have opened the scoring very early in the match, as the visitors peppered the Wellington goal, hitting the post, then Glen Moss on the rebound, with Santalab's headed finish being ruled out incorrectly for offside.
The Wanderers did not let the disappointment of the poor call keep them down, Santalab getting his name on the scoresheet officially in the 22nd minute after a through ball from Martinez let Santalab take a first time strike that beat Moss at the far post.
Wellington came out in the second half and dominated the play for 10 minutes, only to get hit against the run of play with the brilliance of Terry Antonis unlocking their defence. Antonis played through Santalab and the goal scorer turned provider as he neatly played a pass across the Wellington penalty area for the run of Nico, who couldn't miss from 6 yards out.
Santalab capped off his magnificent performance by picking up his brace in the 64th minute. Antonis took advantage of poor defending from the Phoenix, he strode along the byline before finding Santalab with the cutback. Santalab positively smashed the ball home.
Wellington received another slice of fortune from the referees to pull a goal back, with Baccus judged to have deliberately handled the ball. Shane Smeltz stepped up, scored the goal, then a few minutes later was walking off the pitch having picked up a second yellow card for a soft tackle on the Wanderers goal line.
The next game for the Wanderers is against the lowly Central Coast Mariners, with the final Sydney Derby of the regular season looming large the Red & Black will want to put together back to back performances before facing the unbeaten Sydney FC.