The Western Sydney Wanderers rebooted their 2019/20 A-League Campaign in Gosford tonight, with a 1-1 come from behind draw secured with a late Simon Cox equaliser.
On a freezing cold, rain swept night the Wanderers began the first of their remaining five regular season games hoping for a good win to give them momentum for a finals charge. The Wanderers handed a debut to Tristan Prendergast with Vedran Janjetovic still injured and Daniel Lopar staying back in Europe. Western Sydney started on the front foot, with a dominant first ten minutes topped by breaking through on the right flank with Nicolai Muller feeding a through-ball for Tate Russell who lashed a fierce drive tipped over the bar for a corner.
The Mariners best chance early on came from the boot of Milan Duric who picked up the ball just outside the penalty are and blasted a shot at goal that had Prendergast beaten but not the crossbar, going out for a corner via a deflection. Josh Nisbet smashed a knocked down that sliced off the boot into the sauce bottles behind the Wanderers goal.
The wet conditions saw the players throwing themselves into tackles, a 35th minute flashpoint saw Mitch Duke yellow carded after catching a Mariner with a trailing leg. Moments before half-time Mo Adam rocked the crossbar after a Duke cut-back found the young striker.
The Mariners were on top early in the second half and nearly opened the scoring after just 3 minutes. Sam Silvera had a shot blocked off and flew straight to the feet of Matt Simon and his right foot strike was cleared off the like by Patrick Ziegler. The home side then took the lead on the hour mark, as Tommy Oar found an offside Matt Simon in a mile of space inside the box, he nodded it into the middle for a Duric tap-in. With no VAR in play it was left up to the blind A-League officials and they unsurprisingly made the wrong call.
Western Sydney were completely out of the game for most of the half, with a lack of creativity and a failure to build up from the back. Daniel Georgievski was pushed further up the pitch and had a long range effort that flew just wide. Prendergast was nearly embarrased by Daniel Da Silva 5 minutes from full time as he crept up the pitch and was nearly lobbed from half-way.
Substitute finally made the Wanderers pressure pay on the scoreboard, as the Mariners couldn't clear their lines, Duke found the ball at his feet on the left flank and chipped into the middle for the run of Cox and the English forward headed it past Mark Birighitti to make it 1-1. The Wanderers pushed for a winner but none came, the 1-1 draw doing next to nothing for the Wanderers hopes of playing finals football.
The Wanderers next game is against Wellington Phoenix on Friday July 31st at Parramatta.