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    A Bridge Too Far For Brisbane As Wanderers Roar To First Victory


    Mark Bridge has scored Western Sydney's first ever A-League goal to give the Wanderers a 1-0 win against the Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium.


    After 288 long minutes of frustration and effort without reward Bridge attacked a Youssouf Hersi cross after a well worked short corner. The ball slammed into the back of the net to open the scoring both in the match and for the club itself in the 19th minute of the Wanderers fourth game in their short history.


    In front of a 12,663 strong crowd on a wet Brisbane night the Wanderers had the worse of the possession at 40% but the better of the territory at 57%. The 18 shots and 7 on target compared favourably to last weeks 19 shots for 3 on target and the better accuracy put the Roar under heapings of pressure throughout the match. The first chance fell to Aaron Mooy and he nearly scored after only 4 minutes, his volley from outside the area leaving Roar keeper Theo stranded but unluckily cracked off both posts and failed to cross the goal line.


    Brisbane Roar had their first chance of the match just minutes later when Murdocca made a smart run down the left side before cutting it back for Halloran. Topor Stanley had tracked the run and blocked the shot, with a ricochet off Mooy allowing Covic to collect easily. Erik Paartalu drove a long shot from well outside his box but the shot was quite tame and Covic barely had to move.


    Gibbs has his first involvement of the match when Ono made a smart short pass which opened up the angle for the young striker. His snapshot was blocked by Matt Jurman which conceded a corner. This set off a chain of corners for the Wanderers piling the pressure on the Roar defence. 4 in a row delivered all by Ono. The 6th corner of the match was taken short by Ono to Hersi, who measured a pin-point cross on his right foot. Bridge ghosted in at the front post, and made his unmarked header count to take the lead. A Paartalu mistake lead to an immediate chance for a second to Bridge, Mooy passing to Ono who flicked it on to Gibbs who played a smart ball into the path of Bridge. Bridge mis-hit the shot and it flashed wide.


    25 minutes in Brisbane had their second major chance of the game as Nicholls played a nice ball in behind the Wanderers left back to Ben Halloran who miscontrolled and was required to stretch to make a shot. Covic spilled the ball and it fell to Broich but his awkward body position meant his shot spooned over the bar. Another corner to the Wanderers was met by Topor-Stanley as he was falling backward. That meant the shot had no power and it was easily held by Theo. Mark Bridge earned the first yellow card of the match on 36 minutes for a tackle from behind as Polenz made a poor first touch and lost possession. From the the free kick the Roar went wide and Topor Stanley misjudged the speed of a through ball. Instead of it going out as he hoped, Hingert managed to toe the ball back inside and Nicholls had his shot from the narrow angle hit the far post.


    Gibbs then got past Jurman and tried to beat Theo at the near post but wasn't on target. Aaron Mooy earned a yellow card after he lost possession to Berisha and dragged the Albanian down. To end the half Berisha had the ball drop for him just inside the area, but his quick shot not only missed the target, but ran out on the opposite side for a throw-in.


    To open the second half Mark Bridge had the ball sit up nicely when the ball came to him from Mooy. The resulting volley went well wide. Another attack started by a nice first time pass by Ono ended with Hersi taking a speculative long range effort. The ball dipped and swerved, Theo knocking it down for his central defender. With 55 minutes expired Berisha turned and beat a couple of Wanderers defenders then released Broich who spun the ball wide to Halloran. He took on his marker but his touch was poor and again required him to stretch to make a tame shot at Covic. A Bridge interception allowed Ono to try a long range drive but the Japanese international didn't get hold of the ball and it fell well wide.


    As the 60th minute Beauchamp intercept a ball in defence, releasing Gibbs who linked up with Hersi. He cut back onto his left and fired at the near post but his shot just missed outside. Broich tried the audacious in his attempt to beat Covic on his near post from the by line but it was never on target. A moment of panic in goal came when Theo flew miles out of his goal to chest down a through ball. His short pass to his left winger went astray and it gave Polenz the chance to load up in search of an extreme long range goal. It had the power but unfortunately not direction leaving keeper Theo a very relieved man.


    With 15 minutes left to play, Hersi ran onto a clearance from a Wanderers corner. He hit the ball hard and well with his right foot and as the ball arrowed in on goal Theo made an exceptional diving save to deny the Wanderers their second. Moments later Polenz tried another long range effort, no power and an easy save. With 10 minutes to go the Roar finally started to play like the Champions they are. Broich smashed a shot high after Henrique had his own effort blocked.


    The Wanderers tried in vain to score a killer second, Aaron Mooy testing Theo from outside the box with a shot on the turn, and Mooy won the ball back high up the park and after some nice combination play in the box he shot directly at Theo. Brattan had a low drive deflected for a corner and Polenz blocked the Matt Smith header on the line and Topor cleared. Broich cut inside on his right but Covic saved well down low to his left.


    In the dying embers of the game Beauchamp was given a yellow card after a poor first touch when the Wanderers captain tried to spark a counter-attack. It gave the Roar one final chance for a long-range free kick. Broich took on the duty but his powerful shot cannoned directly into the wall. With no further chances Referee Lucien Laverdure completed a very good debut in the A-League as a referee by blowing the final whistle to confirm the Wanderers first ever victory.


    Tony Popovic will be a proud man tonight. Both his decisions to change the lineup worked superbly and he was tactically spot on through-out the match. Joey Gibbs as the Wanderers centre-forward pivot had the movement and pace that Dino Kresinger has thoroughly lacked, and Hersi showed remarkable improvement over his previous efforts. The defence once again stood tall against the champions of last season and the midfield worked hard all night to contain the midfield threat of Broich and Berisha dropping deep. The players have made it hard for Popovic to make any changes to this lineup although I could see Kubi being replaced by Tahj Minniecon for the next match. The A-League really needs to get with the rest of the world and increase the number of substitutes to 5 or even 7 for next season.


    The Wanderers kept the Roar under immense pressure the entire match and broke with pace and purpose when given the opportunity. This win will signal a warning to the other sides in the league that they cannot underestimate and take the Wanderers lightly. As the Wanderers team and tactics gel further they will continue to improve their attack and this could mean that the Roar are the first of many high-profile scalps this season. This performance was one worthy of a finals place and if they can keep up this level of competitiveness I have no doubts that Western Sydney could feature in the final series at the end of the season.


    The Wanderers next match is against Melbourne Heart at Parramatta Stadium on Friday the 2nd of November at 7:30pm Eastern Daylight Savings Time.

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    what a great and perfect performance against the roar. sure the last 20 mins was nerve racking yet still we looked quite comfortable.


    Attack - was so much better, aided by Joey Gibbs. He offered exactly what we need up front, and what we were expecting from Kresinger. And what impressed me the most about Gibbs is that he wasn't one dimensional. He always played to what he saw, and took his touches into the vacant spaces, and played some great link up passes. Thats the type of performance we need.

    Bridge was great, worked his socks off and was positive and not wasteful on the ball.

    Hersi, well iv said it all along, he just keeps improving and will be so important for us. So dangerous in space and assured on the ball. Once he reaches full fitness and confidence he will be bagging a few of those goals when he cuts back in.

    Kubi off the bench was great to see, perfect sub for now. Real talent.

    Elrich looked abit fed up when he came on, not that usual buzz, perhaps not too happy on the bench.


    Midfield - Once again, Mooy and Ono ran the show and Poljak the sidekick was worked immensely hard in closing down. Great performance. And its simple, Mooy is a gun! Although he likes to keep us on our toes with some of those circles he runs when he's dispossessed. He cuts those out and he's almost flawless.

    Trifiro was great to see aswell, was so comfortable on the ball, great option off the bench late in the game.


    Defence - Was great, were under abit of pressure late on which resulted in hoofing the ball, but otherwise ever so in control. Polenz is was great, just needs to cut out some of the forced crosses.

    Da'Puzzo is the only worry, once again he was tops in defence, and did so well against Halloran. But on the ball he seems off the pace, it always seems like he has no time on the ball due to his touch and choice of passes. He certainly not letting the team down, just wouldn't be surprised if a goal or 2 eventuate from him being dispossessed off the ball this season.


    Covic is the man.


    Overall great performance, and last 20 minutes showed great character. Could have put away a 2nd or 3rd to make it more comfortable but thats being picky.


    Did I read that correctly DeeDee? Praise for Joey Gibbs? Because I wholeheartedly agree with you. To blow my own trumpet:


    Did I read correctly on Twitter that Joey Gibbs scored for CCM this evening? Shame we didn't sign him if that's the case, I thought he was outstanding v Nepean - even taking the four goals he scored aside. Seemed to do a lot right and drifted off his marker at will.



    Glad you've changed your mind since:


    I personally am over the moon we didnt sign up Gibbs. He came on in the second half against a NSW "super league" team whom at that stage were playing there reserves.

    Nothing against the guy, but hes nswpl standard and thats all.


    Haha!! Thanks for digging that up man. To my credit i did confess my previous views in the aftermath or the roar game in other threads amd praise the lad.


    Very happy to be eating humble pie!!

    The great thing aswell is you can tell he can get better and imrpove with more game time.

    Edited by DeeDee

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    Glad to hear he's won you over. I'm pleased to say that D'Apuzzo has won me over after I was largely unimpressed. The last one left is Tarek. Was the only player on the pitch against Brisbane who didn't look up to the standard.

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    What a brilliant weekend. Brisbane fans that we met were great! Thanks to T Way Service Crew for starting the chants!!


    Good to see friendships being made. Nothing wrong with rivalry, but at the end of the day its great to share a beer. :)

    Edited by Portillo

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    I was wondering how the other expansion clubs went when playing against the reigning champions and premiers so I had a look at the past results.


    When Gold Coast United came into the league in 2009 the reigning premiers and champions were Melbourne Victory. They lost 3-2 at home and 4-0 away but managed to beat Melbourne at home 1-0 in their third match together.


    North Queensland Fury also entered in 2009. They lost 1-0 at home, beat Melbourne 1-0 at home and then lost 2-0 away.


    Melbourne Heart entered the competition in 2010 when Sydney FC were the reigning premiers and champions. They had a great time of it drawing 0-0 at home, winning 1-0 away and drawing 2-2 at home although this might have something to do with Sydney being rubbish that season and finishing 9th.


    So it turns out that every expansion team has managed a win against the reigning champions in their first season although the Wanderers are the only expansion team to beat them on their first attempt and the second team (after Heart) to get out of their first match against the reigning premiers without a loss (Wanderers 0-0 draw with the Mariners).

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