Melbourne City and the Western Sydney Wanderers drew 1-1 tonight in a scrappy contest where Tate Russell was involved at both ends of the park and where Simon Cox should have won the game late on as he failed to finish off an open net tap-in.
The Wanderers started well, taking the lead in the 21st minute. Mitch Duke started the move with a raking cross field ball to Tate Russell, the fullback's first time touch found Nicolai Muller, who took one touch then played Russel into the penalty area. Russell set himself for a strike, and he found the near post open, beating Tom Glover with a shot that was low enough to avoid being palmed away but high enough to prevent the keeper saving with the legs.
Melbourne City equalised 10 minutes later from the penalty spot. Russell in the action again, after a deflection forced a good save from Lopar, the young fullback was second to the ball against Craig Noone who tapped it around then fell to the ground dramatically after a very soft collision. Jamie Maclaren took the penalty, blasting it low and down the middle as Lopar dived to his left, unable to stop the shot.
Simon Cox should have won the game late in the 2nd half. Melbourne City's defenders got in an awful mess, with Curtis Good being played a hospital backpass that bounced in an awkward fashion, Curtis Good made a mess of his headed backpass, letting Cox pounce on the loose ball and nutmeg the keeper, who managed to slow down the shot with a slight deflection off the inside of his leg.
As the ball rolled toward the line it looked certain that Cox would complete the job, instead he inexplicably failed to knock the ball home, allowing Good to recover with a slide tackle that kept the ball from crossing the line. It was an abysmal, lazy failure from an expensive marquee striker, and one that cost his team from securing all three points.
City seemed content to take the draw, with neither team making much from the remaining 20 minutes of the match with it ending in 1-1 draw. The 1 point was hardly helpful for either team, as Sydney FC remain 10 points clear of Melbourne City at the top of the ladder while the Wanderers remain 2 points out of the top 6 with Adelaide & Western United fighting it out for the last finals berth.
Assuming that the A-League continues under the Coronavirus pandemic, the Wanderers will "host" the final Sydney Derby of the season in a behind closed doors contest scheduled for Saturday Match 21st.