The tenure of Wanderers coach Markus Babbel must come to an end after another dismal loss, this time to Wellington Phoenix in New Zealand this afternoon.
The big news from Wellington was the dropping of Wanderers marquee striker Alex Meier. Wellington bought in Jaushua Sotirio as a replacement for the injured David Ball. Both teams used the cool & windy conditions to push up their energy levels after weeks of sapping games in high temperatures on the Australian continent. Wellington were the better in the opening stages, their best chance in the first 15 minutes coming from a long range strike by star midfielder Ulises Davilia blasted onto the base of the post. The Wanderers responded going to the other end, Pirmin Schwegler on his return from suspension getting a lucky deflection that threatened to loop over the keepers head only to go just wide of the goal.
The early warning from Davilia wasn't heeded by the Wanderers defence and he took full advantage to open the scoring for Wellington. The Nix worked the ball around on the right flank, Sotirio and Gary Hooper combining to open the space for Davilia, the Mexican had the freedom of the pitch to size up the left footed strike, with no midfielders in sight Dylan McGowan attempted to close down the shot but his pathetic attempt to get in the line of the ball did nothing to stop it blazing along the turf into the bottom corner.
It took until the 37th minute before the Wanderers managed another decent look at goal. It was an audacious long range effort from Mitch Duke, wind assisted it rocketed high and to the right of the Wellington goal. He followed up two minutes later with another shot after cutting onto his right foot, this one fell easily into the arms of Marinovic in the Wellington goal. The game devolved into a scrappy mess heading into the break and neither side could change the 1-0 scoreline before half-time.
The second half opened the the excitement of Wellington breaking through on goal only for the linesman to rule the player offside after they missed their shot. An hour in Kwame Yeboah had a shout for a penalty turned down after he was pulled down in the box by a Wellington defender, the VAR declined to intervene.
Liberato Cacace hammered the final nail in the coffin of the match and perhaps the tenure of Wanderers coach Markus Babbel in the 87th minute. A simple passing movement put Cacace on the left flank with the entire Wanderers defence in front of him, and the speedy winger took them all on. The blazed past Tate Russel and left Ziegler for dead, in front of them stood McGowan who capped off one of the worst games for a Wanderers defender since Aritz Borda played for the club, as he stood like a statue and gave Cacace the green light to cut in on his right foot and fire a strike towards the near post that did just enough to beat Matt Jurman's cover defence and Daniel Lopar's right foot did nothing more than lift the ball into the back of the net.
Wellington's win pushed their unbeaten run to 9 games and sent them into the top 4, while for the Wanderers they remain stuck in 8th place with just 1 win from their last 10 games and only 4 wins for the entire season.
With no reinforcements apparently incoming during the transfer window, and a home game against 4th place Perth coming up it doesn't seem likely that Markus Babbel can turn around the team. With one failed season under his belt and another in progress, he has had more than enough time to find a solution. Yet he has not. Babbel's 25% win rate (just 10 wins in 40 games) puts him in the category of such failures as Mehmet Durakovic, Rado Vidosic and Paul Okon. It is more than time for a change. Not only for the manager Babbel, but the team ownership including Paul Lederer need to closely examine the ongoing position of Wanderers CEO John Tsatsimas, who has lead the club to failure after abysmal failure since 2016. It is not good enough and something must change and change drastically.
The Wanderers face Perth Glory at the Western Sydney Stadium on Sunday January 19 with kickoff at 6:30PM.