Match of the Season Countdown #4


We count down the best matches of the 2013/14 season with our unforgettable 1-0 victory over Sydney FC match number five

With the season done and dusted (save for the small matter of a Champions League Quarter Final) we thought we would take you through the best matches of 2013/14.

Hyundai A-League Round 14: Western Sydney Wanderers 1-0 Sydney FC

Who can forget our entry at number four in our countdown of the matches of the season? A day to remember for the Wanderers faithful we turned the town Red & Black with a hard fought 1-0 victory over the Sky Blues at Wanderland in Round 14.

Entering into the fixture neither side had managed to pull off a coveted home victory in the Derby and despite an outstanding 2-0 win over the Sky Blue at Allianz Stadium earlier in the season everyone in Western Sydney was hungry for that elusive win on home turf.

The stage was set. Wanderland was a sea of Red & Black with everyone in full voice, all 18,080 fans anticipating the most passionate fixture of the season.
Passion was certainly what they got as the Wanderers went on to take one of the most memorable wins in the Derby-s short history.

From the outset there was tension in the air with both sides unwilling to accept anything less than all three points, shaping the midfield up more like a battleground than a football pitch.

Wanderland was in full voice and with the sound of RBB behind them it was the Wanderers who began to dominate play.

First to breakdown the Sky Blue defence was Tomi Juric who found himself in yards of space outside the box launching a powerful low drive that was barely reached by Sky Blue-s keeper Vedran Janetovic before pounding against the upright.

Mark Bridge backed up Juric-s woodwork bound shot 25 minutes later when some dazzling footwork and trickery gave him enough time to get a shot away inside the box, this time leaving its impression on the left post.

The half looked destined to remain locked at nil-all when an intense final five minutes left everyone inside Wanderland with their hearts in their mouths with Western Sydney finding the cross bar twice in a matter of seconds.

First up was Youssouf Hersi who in the 42nd minute broke free in the middle of the park and catching the FC goalkeeper off his line chipped the ball only to just make contact with the cross bar and fly back into play.

Tomi Juric then found himself perfectly positioned to chest down Hersi-s rebounded shot. Our number 9 seemed certain to send Wanderers- fans into raptures but instead found his shot repeating Hersi-s efforts and rocketing back up into the cross bar.

The second 45- saw the Sky Blues find a period of joy with talisman Alessandro Del Piero again looking to pull his side back into the match by any means necessary.

However after finding all three parts of the goal-s framework Western Sydney knew there was only one more place for the ball to end up.

A passionate battle continued across the park which raged for most of the second half with neither side looking certain to bag the winner at any point but all 22 men desperate to continue trying.

With only four minutes remaining a Red & Black hero was destined to be born.

Brendon Santalab was the man of the moment lying in wait just off the far post when Youssouf Hersi saw an opportunity and managed a last effort cross from the right side. The ball found Santa who chested it down and stretching got enough on the ball to poke it underneath a sprawling Vedran Janjetovic and into the goals.

Lighting up the RBB end of the stadium the Wanderers headed straight for the stands to celebrate what everyone knew had to be the match winning goal and by none other than a former Sky Blue.

After the final whistle Western Sydney sat in clear second adding another three to their crucial tally of points in a chase for first place. More importantly however, the Red & Black had broken the hoodoo which clouded the first four Sydney Derbies, beating fierce rivals Sydney FC at Wanderland and making sure everyone knew that Sydney was indeed Red & Black.

The match showcased the Wanderers- resilient nature and some outstanding play in the middle of the field but the star of the show was 16-year-old defender Daniel Alessi who made his first senior debut that night.

Facing football giant ADP with confidence and seamless play Alessi made his mark on the match and the fans in a debut to remember.