Western Sydney Wanderers have fallen to a late Roy Krishna winner by Wellington Phoenix, the match ending 3-2 at the Sydney Olympic Stadium.
The game took a half-hour to come to life, with Wellington stifling the Wanderers attack with non-stop fouling, hacking Alexander Baumjohann off the park in the 5th minute, and then Oriol Riera in the 40th minute. As usual for Wanderers games, the Referee, Jonathan Barreiro sat and watched the avalanche of aggressive physical attacks and did nothing to stop them, losing control of the game and rewarding Wellington for their anti-football. It's now 6 games under this useless official without a win for the Wanderers, it's time for the FFA to remove him from the pool, because he's out of his depth and can't control a game to save his life. His inability to stop Wellington from lashing out has now cost us two of our most expensive players.
13 minutes into the half and the VAR hogged the spotlight yet again in the A-League. Bruce Kamau was cut down by Louis Fenton, with a lunge that missed the ball by a mile, and the referee awarded the clear and obvious penalty, only for the VAR to ludicrously intervene, send the referee to the sideline to watch a handful of super slow motion replays, and cause him to over-turn his own decision. It was just another in the litany of VAR failures that have robbed the Wanderers of legitimate goals or penalty chances.
The guilty party Fenton then popped up to open the scoring. Fenton burst down the right flank, laid a short pass off to Singh, who flicked over the static, square defensive line as Brendan Hamill was caught ball watching and Tarek Elrich done for pace. It was a simple finish past the keeper for 1-0.
Hamill made up somewhat for his defensive lapse in the 41st, after heading forward for a corner, he beat Wellington keeper Kurto to the in-swinging corner and nodded it into an empty net. Wellington weren't playing with anyone on the posts, but after that goal, they might want to reconsider that tactical choice in the future. Kwame Yeboah replaced Oriol Riera for his Wanderers debut just before half-time.
The game settled into a rhythm of Wellington fouling and hacking away at the Wanderers before firing long balls over the top of the home team's slow defence. It paid off in the 82nd minute, Roy Krishna racing onto a long ball, Vedran Janjetovic repeated his Sydney Derby mistake without getting sent off, leaving Krishna an open net, that he found with an elevated chip over Hamill's desperate lunge.
The home crowd of just over 7000 roared the Wanderers home, and it looked as if they would come away with a point if not all three points when Keanu Baccus equalised minutes later. Another well taken cross from Fitzgerald fell across the penalty area at the feet of Baccus, who blasted a fearsome strike into the roof of the net.
Unfortunately for the Wanderers not only did they fail to win the game, they failed to even draw it. Tarek Elrich made another horrible defensive error, being drawn out of position and being far too slow to recover, allowing Max Burgess to deliver a cross into the near post area. Brendan Hamill was also too slow to react, letting Krishna in at the near post, his header ricocheting off a statuesque Janjetovic, into the post, his feet and then goal.
It was an utterly undeserved three points, with the disgusting display of anti-fooball from Wellington being punctuated by Mark Rudan verbally attacking Wanderers assistant manager Jean-Paul de Marigny, as well as remonstrating with the Wanderers coaching staff at the full time whistle.
Even if you're one of the people who think that finishing 6th and being knocked out in week one of the final series is a success, the Wanderers are now 7 points back from Adelaide in 6th position. If Adelaide put together a win against Melbourne in their upcoming clash, that figure will blow out to 10 points. It's clear we have no hope of winning a trophy this year, nor of qualification for the Asian Champions League. It is time for Vedran, Hamill and Tarek to be added to the pile of players who should leave the club either now or at the conclusion of the season, and for Markus Babbel to start our younger prospects to at least salvage a measure of value from the rest of the year as he rebuilds towards 2019/20.
The Wanderers play Perth Glory in Perth on Sunday January 2013. Kick-off is 8pm Sydney time.