Sydney remains red and black for at least another two months after Western Sydney Wanderers clinched a last-gasp winner against cross-town rivals Sydney FC in a derby that is increasingly becoming their own.
The Wanderers' derby delight couldn't be more bitter for Sydney FC, who conceded a late goal to a former player, having fought so bravely for much of the match and deserving a point.
It may be one of the fiercest rivalries in Australia, but they have been a one-way affair of late and that trend didn't look likely to end in the fifth instalment. Amid a frantic opening, Wanderers' Tomi Juric pounced on some lethargic marking to strike a long-range drive from such a distance that it seemed unfathomable that it could test Sydney goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic. Janjetovic just managed to tip the stinging 25-metre strike onto his near post and out for a corner.
There seemed to be no containing the growing potential of Juric, and the 21-year-old came close again to scoring the opener in the 17th minute. A stinging shot on the turn was too hot to handle for Janjetovic, who nearly palmed the ball into his own net. He managed to beat the ball to the line with a desperate scramble.
Sydney started with an improved tactical discipline though that was subsiding to the growing confidence of the Wanderers, led by none other than Juric. The star forward slipped in between two markers and supplied a volley through-ball to Mark Bridge out on the left wing. A quick change of momentum and the former Sydney FC striker was unopposed in the box. He placed his shot beyond Janjetovic, but also the inside of the post as the ball deflected wide yet again.
The post proved to be the Wanderers' greatest nemesis. Minutes before the break, Youssouf Hersi attempted the spectacular and was so close to glory. An audacious 30-metre lob caught Janjetovic off his line but the crossbar denied a goal. The crossbar continued to do what Sydney FC's defence couldn't and held out the Wanderers, with Juric latching on to Hersi's rebound only to strike the bar again.
It was the glimmer of hope Sydney needed to kick-start their game and a confidence spike coincided with Corey Gameiro's entrance as Terry McFlynn even fancied his chance of becoming an unlikely hero, firing a fierce shot that forced Ante Covic into action. The Sky Blues began to fancy their chances all the more on the hour mark when their tormentor Juric was replaced by Brendon Santalab. They could have been celebrating a minute later when Alessandro Del Piero fed striker Ranko Despotovic a clever through ball. The Serbian slipped between his markers and let fly from the edge of the box, but a last-ditch tackle from Matthew Spiranovic deflected the ball wide.
The Wanderers were not likely to surrender against their cross-town rivals, especially at home, and their time came in the 86th minute. Hersi whipped in a cross from the right flank and a deflection drifted to the unmarked Santalab at the far post, who struck a dagger into the heart of his former club by slipping the ball beneath the legs of Janjetovic and into the far corner of the net.