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  • The Western Sydney Wanderers hosted the Wellington Phoenix in a vital Monday night clash at Parramatta, the two teams turned on a goal-scoring clinic that saw the Wanderers come out on top in a wild 4-3 come from behind victory to soar up to 2nd place on the ladder with goals from Wilmering, Mutch, Duke and Yeboah's winner cancelling out goals from Davila, Devlin and Hemed.

    Pre-game news from each side saw a player out of the squad due to injury. Graham Dorrans, the Wanderers midfielder was left out of the squad entirely after starting and playing 90 minutes last Sunday as he suffered a late groin strain, while for the Phoenix, New Zealand international fullback Louis Fenton hurt his hip during warm-up and was replaced by Cam Devlin. Carl Robinson returned to his position leading the Wanderers from the sideline following his illness in Melbourne last week.

    Wellington opened the scoring in the 7th minute, Davila and Piscopo played a one-two pass and the Mexican chipped it straight over the rushing dive of Daniel Margush. Dylan McGowan was caught out of position, being sucked to the ball and leaving Davila to run in behind and score. It was the 7th game this season the Wanderers had fallen behind after kick-off and had only picked up three points in those matches. The defenders briefly called for offside but the replay showed Davila was a mile on.

    The Wanderers won a corner after 16 minutes with some good work from Bernie Ibini and Mitch Duke. A grass cutter that skipped along the turf and was eventually cleared to start a Wellington counter, right as Cam Devlin was going to prop and turn back, he was knocked over by James Troisi and the foul was punished with a dubious yellow card.

    Wellington's failure to defend at the far post allowed Daniel Wilmering to score his first A-League goal to bring the teams level. Bernie Ibini had the ball on the right wing, after being shown onto the byline he somehow beat both defenders with a cross to the other side of the field. Wilmering chested it down with his first touch, and his second touch was a blistering volley that gave Oli Sail no chance to make a save.

    The Phoenix took the lead back out of absolutely nothing in the 31st minute with a goal of the season contender. After playing some neat football the Wanderers managed to clear it out to midfield where it was picked up by Devlin, he chested it out in front of himself, took a second to compose himself then launched a missile from 30 yards out that arced into the top right corner. A last second corner for the Wanderers went nowhere with Mitch Duke heading it well wide and the teams went into the sheds with the visitors in front.

    The second half proceeded without any substitutions, the Wanderers looked better and in the 51st minute they won a corner. Troisi crossed to the far post and Jordon Mutch rose highest, nodding the ball down and into the bottom corner of the goal. Wellington made the schoolboy error of not having men on the posts and like it so often does it cost a goal. Wellington tried to respond minutes later with an attack on the left flank, Tate Russell was beaten by McGarry, his floating cross to the far post found Ben Waine and his header was weak and misaimed.

    Piscopo took advantage of awful defending from Wanderers captain Dylan McGowan, he skipped into the box and with the ball about to roll out for a goal-kick McGowan stuck out a left foot and caused just enough contact to trip the attack. Fresh substitute Tomer Hemed stepped up and fired home to make it 3-2.

    In mere moments from kick-off the Wanderers had come back a 3rd time to level the scores. A long diagonal cross from Mutch found Duke, his defender completely misjudged the flight of the ball, and it allowed Duke to chest it down, turn on his left foot and strike with the right, a slicing head height stunner, adding another goal of the season chance to go with Devlin's strike from the first half. Both teams threw on attacking players to seek out a winner, Duke & Troisi were replaced by Kwame Yeboah & Bruce Kamau, Ibini then went off for Nicolai Muller and Wellington responded with Jaushua Sotirio replacing David Ball in the 79th minute.

    The Wanderers finally took the lead for themselves, Hemed lost the ball in midfield and the Wanderers broke on the counter, Kamau attacked the middle, found Muller on his right, he turned the ball across the face of goal for Yeboah and his unerring strike curled home to see the home side lead 4-3. Wellington switched to a three up front formation for the dying moments, Davila had his chance, curling a left foot shot wide of the goal.

    The drama wasn't over even in the 95th minute, Wellington launched it long, found the head of Hemed, after Sotirio tangled up with his defender the ball dropped back to Hemed and his toepoke found the back of the net and equalised. Or so the Nix thought. Long the villain for the Wanderers, for once, for once, the VAR came to the rescue of the home side. After pulling up the replay the little lines showed the Israeli attacker had strayed marginally offside, and the Wanderers escaped one of the craziest games at the new stadium with all three points and jumped up to 2nd place on the A-League ladder.

    The Wanderers next game is against Perth Glory at Parramatta on Friday March 19, with kick-off at 7:05pm.

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