A late goal to Mark Bridge gave the Wanderers a 1-0 win in torrential rain against Melbourne Victory at Parramatta Stadium in Round 6.
82 minutes into the game substitute Labinot Haliti turned Adrian Leijer inside out before rifling a ball across the 6 yard box to the back post, the unmarked Bridge couldn't miss from point blank range in front of the RBB to record a famous win for the home side in front of a soggy but raucous crowd of over 15,500 spectators.
Prior to the match intrigue abounded when it was revealed that Michael Beauchamp had once again been left out of the match day squad, with Matthew Spiranovic staying put after his good performance against Melbourne Heart the week prior. In additional factoid was that the Australian National Team squad were watching on from the stands along with their new manager, ex-Victory man Ange Postecoglou.
Melbourne Victory held the ascendancy for much of the first half, dominating possession and the best chances. Connor Pain provided the best of the half, delivering a low cross to the front stick, the ball bobbling into the air as the Western Sydney defence failed to clear. Mitch Nichols headed it down into the path of Australian international player Archie Thompson but the Victory striker could only manage to toe-poke the ball wide from a meter out.
5 minutes before half time Shannon Cole had the pick of the few chances the Wanderers created. He received a through ball from Bridge after it went past Santalab, with only Coe to beat from a reasonable angle Cole tried to cut the ball back across goal for Santalab instead of taking on a shot. Thompson, Bridge and Troisi each fired shots in the last minutes of the half but they were well wide.
The second half saw the Wanderers work their way back into the match. Tony Popovic brought on Haliti & Tahj Minniecon to immediate effect, they energised the Red & Black warriors on the attack, while Spiranovic, Iacopo La Rocca & Nikolai Topor-Stanley kept the Victory offence locked up while defending. Santalab was put through on goal only to take one touch too many and overcook the chance. Cole had a free kick that he curled over the wall and onto the crossbar for a goal kick and La Rocca took aim from long range and skied his effort.
Mark Bridge had one chance when he turned in and away on the Victory defence but sliced his shot at the near post, but a minute later he was on the end of the Haliti cross and buried the only goal of the game. Melbourne had precious little time to mount a comeback and weren't able to unlock the league leading defence to snatch a point at the death.
The win put the Wanderers on top of the A-League Premiership ladder, 2 points clear of Brisbane Roar in 2nd. Mark Bridge got off the mark, Western Sydney are the only unbeaten team, a regular season unbeaten streak of 18 matches.
The Wanderers next match is against the Brisbane Roar on Friday the 22nd of November at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane.