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Western Sydney Wanderers down Melbourne Victory

Wanderers 1 Victory 0

Labinot Haliti of the Wanderers is challenged by Adrian Leijer of the Victory.

Labinot Haliti of the Wanderers is challenged by Adrian Leijer of the Victory. Photo: Getty Images

Another game, another opponent but the same result for Western Sydney Wanderers as they defeated Melbourne Victory 1-0 at a venue fast becoming the first true fortress of the A-League.

The Wanderers did what they so often do, striking a lethal blow after absorbing plenty of pressure. This time, it was almost routine as last year's club top scorer Mark Bridge capitalised on a worn-down Melbourne Victory to stab home an 82nd-minute winner.

Matthew Spiranovic in action. Click for more photos

A-League: Wanderers vs Victory

The Western Sydney Wanderers take on Melbourne Victory at Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta, November 16, 2013. Photo: Anthony Johnson

There was a sense of vitriol in the stands and that passion found its way on to the pitch soon after kick-off. Wanderers right-back Jerome Polenz collided with James Troisi while vying for a loose ball and while he accidentally caught his opponent's thigh, there was no hiding the heavy contact from his studs and the German became the first player booked.

The Victory were fluent going forward and showed their attack had more than pace and enthusiasm as they began to push and pull the Wanderers, dropping back when the attacks went stale.

The hosts were on the back foot midway through the first half, though that would have hardly worried coach Tony Popovic. There was enough strength, speed and intelligence in the Wanderers' counter-attack, led by midfield maestros Shinji Ono and Aaron Mooy. After holding the Victory at bay, the hosts began to stretch their opponents and it was no surprise to see them nearly break the deadlock with a sweeping move but Brendon Santalab couldn't apply the finishing touch.

That proved to be the moment the match opened up. A superb long pass by Ono played Shannon Cole through on goal. The winger was caught in two minds as he entered the box and opted to pass rather than shoot when one-on-one with Nathan Coe.

In the 42nd minute, from the resulting play, Archie Thompson twisted his way into the area and fired a right-foot shot that shaved the outside of the upright. As the home fans were still breathing sighs of relief, they were celebrating a goal, or so they thought. Bridge fired a curving shot from the corner of the box and only the outstretched fingertips of Coe kept the score at 0-0 by the break.

The tactical battle continued after the restart as Victory continued to probe for holes in defence of the Wanderers, who would in turn attempt to hit their opponents on the counter. It was going to take a moment of brilliance or an error to lead to another chance, and that's what happened in the 56th minute. Victory left-back Adama Traore lost his grip in the wet, letting a back pass spill forward to Santalab, who seemed certain score, but hesitation and a poor final decision gave Coe the chance to smother the shot.

Wanderers were forced to wait more than 15 minutes for their next chance as attacking play fell victim to a midfield scrap.

It was going to take inspiration from the bench to unlock this tight contest and that arrived in the 82nd minute. Substitute Labinot Haliti fooled his marker with clever use of his body and aimed a fierce low cross across the goal mouth, where an unmarked Bridge did the easy job of rattling the back of the net.

4 comments so far

  • Dear RBB, love your work but please no foul-mouthed chants - there's kids in the crowd.

    Commenter
    Muzza
    Date and time
    November 16, 2013, 11:38PM
    • This is the second week in a row where Victory have deserved to get something out of the game and were again, brilliant in defeat.

      Commenter
      Alastair
      Location
      Lynbrook
      Date and time
      November 17, 2013, 1:45AM
      • Agree with Muzza - sadly both 'active support' groups last night were engaging in many chants with abusive language. It is not needed, children could hear it clearly.

        Commenter
        Saz
        Date and time
        November 17, 2013, 3:57PM
        • Very disappointed with RBB swearing chants. It hurts to see my little 6 year old covering her ears to avoid hearing disgusting filthy language. My whole family became members mainly cause of the wonderful atmosphere created by the RBB. The new boss should take a leaf out of the old boss. They don't need to carry on like that. It will hurt the club and the game in the future.

          Commenter
          decentdad
          Date and time
          November 18, 2013, 8:27PM

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