Wanderers win on the field and the terraces

Melbourne Victory 1 Western Sydney Wanderers 2

Roy Hay

Western Sydney Wanderers made their first appearance in Melbourne in the A-League bringing with them a huge travelling support who enlivened their two-one defeat of Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Saturday night. The attendance was 21,638 some way short of the predicted sell out and it must have been one of the rare occasions when the Victory fans were outshouted by the opposition contingent on their own turf. Victory’s supporters lifted after the team fought back from two-nil down in the second half, but they could not inspire them to a win or at least a draw.

Victory were without Archie Thompson, Nick Ansell and Adam Traore, but gained Daniel Mullen and brought in Andrew Nabbout to the starting line-up. The visitors were close to full strength.

The game opened with a booking in the first minute when Jerome Polenz cut down Andrew Nabbout. But thereafter there were virtually no stoppages before half-time. The early stages were quite frenetic, like a Scottish Premier League match, but gradually a pattern emerged with the visitors in the ascendancy.

In the 11th minute Sydney came down the right and Hersi was brought down about 30 metres out. Shinji Ono’s free kick to the back post was attacked by Nikola Topor-Stanley who forced his way past Adrian Leijer and drove the ball back across goal. Iacapo La Rocca reacted quickest and fired past Nathan Coe.

Wandering flare after the first goal. By the Melbourne branch of the Wanderers?

For a period thereafter Victory found it almost impossible to get the ball out of their defensive third and the Wanderers had a series of chances involving Mark Bridge, Ono and Kresinger. Then Victory began to settle and while they had more play in midfield their attacking efforts were over-elaborate at times. The plaintive cries of ‘Shoot!’ from the home fans, indicated what they thought of the attempts to pass the ball into the goal.

Early in the second half Ange Postecoglou took off the ineffective Marcos Flores and brought on young Connor Pain. The lad showed some very neat close skills and he will be a top class player if he can build on this performance. The game was now more even, with the visitors relying more on breakaways than they had done in the first half. Hersi was a continual threat down the right wing and in the 72nd minute he cut in past Scott Galloway, who was filling in at left back, and fired a shot which Coe parried but Shinji One followed up to put the Wanderers two up.

Victory might have crumbled but three minutes later young substitute Connor Pain took a pass from Billy Celeski in his stride and fired past Ante Covic and in off the far post. This brought the home crowd to life and the match momentum shifted in Victory’s favour.

Try as they might Victory could not get the equaliser their second half play deserved. The match ended with Mark Milligan holding his head after he blazed a shot well over the bar from an inviting position, but the midfielder was one of the Victory players who had made a major contribution to the game.

The Wanderers move within a point of league leader Central Coast Mariners. It would be the first time the majority of the Melbourne media will have seen Western Sydney Wanderers in live action, and to me they were a far cry from the defensive-oriented outfit portrayed in earlier accounts. Certainly they are well organized at the back and have some big, physical players. New South Wales always seems to put out teams of good big players, who will regularly account for good small players from Victoria as happened here.

Wanderers and Victory line-up before the game

Match details

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Melbourne Victory 1 (Connor Pain 75’) Western Sydney Wanderers 2 (Iacopo La Rocca 11’, Shinji Ono 72’)

Venue: AAMI Park

Kick-off: 7.45 PM

Referee: Peter Green

Assistant Referees: Hakan Anaz and Jonathan Barreiro

Fourth Official: Lucien Laverdure

Attendance: 21,638

Melbourne Victory:

39. Nathan COE, 5. Mark MILLIGAN, 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 9. Marcos FLORES (32. Connor PAIN 56’) 11. Marco ROJAS, 13. Diogo FEEEIRA, 14. Billy CELESKI, 23. Adrian LEIJER, 26. Andrew NABBOUT (18. Francesco STELLA 73’), 31. Scott GALLOWAY, 33. Daniel MULLEN.

Unused substitutes: 1. Tando VELAPHI.

Yellow cards: Nathan Coe 60’.

Red cards: Nil.

Western Sydney Wanderers:

1. Ante COVIC, 3. Adam D’APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 5. Michael BEAUCHAMP, 6. Jerome POLENZ, 8. Mateo POLJAK, 9 Dino KRESINGER, 17. Youssouf HERSI (7. Labinot HALITI 75’),, 18. Iacopo LA ROCCA (10. Aaron MOOY 73’), 19. Mark BRIDGE, 21 Shinji ONO (2. Shannon COLE 86’).

Unused substitutes: 20. Jerrad TYSON

Yellow cards: Jerome Polenz 1’, Youssouf Hersi 58’

Red cards: Nil.

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