The final Sydney Derby of the A-League regular season kicked off on Sunday at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney FC ran rampant, winning 1-0 only by the efforts of Daniel Margush in the Wanderers goal. The loss almost certainly ends the Wanderers hopes of a top 6 finish and prepares the ground for another post-season coach sacking.
The Wanderers came into the game after a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Perth Glory last weekend, while Sydney FC won their game against Melbourne Victory comfortably scoring 2 goals to 0. The Wanderers needed to win to stay in touch with the Top 6 with Macarthur & Brisbane Roar playing in the next day or two. Sydney FC have no hope of winning the Premiership after the controversial win by Melbourne City secured their first league title, but second place is theirs for the taking. Both sides added a McGowan to the starting lineup, the Wanderers replacing Patrick Ziegler with their Captain, Dylan McGowan, while Sydney FC added Ryan McGowan after resting him in their last game.
10 minutes had gone by with neither side being able to fashion a clear cut chance, Adam Le Fondre collided with Daniel Margush and asked hopefully for a penalty. The 14th minute saw Ziggy Gordon whacked in the head by Bobo's knee as Gordon slid through for a clearance. After a brief stint off the field Gordon returned none the worse. The Red & Black found it difficult to hold possession, Sydney FC pressed high up the park and the Wanderers resorted to long balls that Mitch Duke & Bruce Kamau found hard to control.
James Troisi had been silent until the 18th minute, after neat play between himself & Tate Russell, he was in on goal but at a very wide angle, smashing a shot into the side netting for the Wanderers first shot of the game. New arrival Steven Ugarkovic made his introduction in the 19th minute, Duke playing it off for the ex-Newcastle midfielder but his placed shot was a long way out from goal & straight at Andrew Redmayne in the Sydney FC goal.
Sydney FC thought they took the lead in the 25th minute. From a corner there was a tangle of legs as Mitch Duke was tripped over by Rhyan Grant. The foul gave Bobo an open shot that he put into the net. For once the officiating was on the spot for the Wanderers, and it was instantly chalked off. Gordon picked up the first yellow card of the contest after tripping Milos Ninkovic as the Sydney midfielder was heading toward the corner flags. From the resulting free kick Caceres fired from long range and Margush dived low to his right to turn it away for a corner.
It was the Wanderers turn to have a goal ruled out from a corner. In the 43rd minute WSW pulled off a training ground routine. Dorrans played a 1-2 with Troisi at the near post, Kamau peeled off the back like he was running an NFL route, he was wide open and slammed the ball home. VAR spoiled the party as it is want to do, deciding that Gordon blocked Ninkovic to free up Kamau. Ninkovic was never getting to Kamau and Gordon coming off his run to block Ninkovic gave the VAR all it needed to rule out the goal. The rest of the half passed without major incident and the two teams headed to the dressing rooms at 0-0.
A minute into the second half Mark Natta gave away a foul outside the penalty area. Luke Brattan stepped up and fired over and around the wall, Margush leapt to his left and made a great save then collected the ball calmly from the resulting corner. Margush was called into action again in the 50th minute, jumping to reach up to crossbar height to knock over a header from Bobo. Sydney FC kept up the pressure and once again Margush was well placed, Kosta Barbarouses hitting a left footed volley in the penalty arc that was straight at the keeper.
SFC were dominant for the entire half and made good on their possession & territory advantage by taking the lead in the 62st minute. Grant & Barbarouses played down the right flank, Grant fired in a shot that rebounded to Joel King, instead of shooting he played in Ninkovic, his simple cross found the middle of the 6 yard box. Bobo managed to lose his marker Dylan McGowan, the striker getting goal-side of the Wanderers Captain and nodding it to the far post.
Bernie Ibini was subbed on and made his first impact on the 77th minute with a long shot that skidded along the turf and was saved by Redmayne. Sydney FC went up the other end and Margush was once again required to make a save from Ninkovic after they quickly counter attacked. 2 minutes before full time Margush was nearly caught of his line yet again, after coming out to clear a long ball over the top but doing it poorly, Barbarouses tried to shoot into the open net but sent it just wide.
Keanu Baccus summed up the game for the Wanderers with his last kick of the game, the final chance to launch it long into the box, he instead found an acre of space in the corner with no-one within 15 meters of the ball. Sydney FC took the goal-kick and full time sounded, ending their 900 plus day derby drought.
After the final whistle sounded the WSW players were all smiles in their post-game chats with the opposition. Without a care in the world Kamau, Duke & Troisi were shown sharing a laugh with their supposed "rivals", taking the piss out of every statement the playing & coaching group have made about "big reactions" and "playing for the badge". Not content with their lack of effort on the pitch, they compounded the loss, and the likely end of their finals hopes, by yakking it up with a team that will play finals football this season and are a good chance of lifting another trophy. It is pathetic. I don't expect players to wail and gnash their teeth but I, and I suspect, most of our supporters, expect a derby loss to have our players showing an emotion other than laughing about their failure.
It is unacceptable for a club in our position to allow players to treat the match like a pre-season kickabout or a Sunday park football game. Do the players have no pride? Do they simply not care? Perhaps they felt a 1-0 loss, being saved by Margush from another 5 goal loss, meant they could afford to feel like they've put in an acceptable level of effort. It is never acceptable for a Wanderers A-League team to be so happy after a loss like that, let alone a derby. That Carl Robinson has run the team so poorly that his players find their behaviour acceptable is another mark on his godawful tenure as the coach, adding to his failure as a tactician. His time is running out and all that can save him now is a miracle run to the finals, or the owners deciding that they can't find anyone worth replacing him with.
The supporters of this club deserve better.
The Wanderers next game is against Wellington Phoenix at the Western Sydney Stadium on Wednesday the 26th of May with kick-off at 7:05PM.