NPL Wrap: Wanderers winning streak ends against APIA

Our winning streak in the NPL NSW competition came to an end on Sunday as a ruthless APIA Leichhardt side defeated an undermanned Wanderers 6-0 at Wanderers Football Park.

With many key players missing due to being with the A-League Men’s side and with Ryley Hollingdale out due to a minor injury, a much changed Western Sydney side couldn’t match it with last year’s champions.

APIA started the stronger of the two sides, and forced Taiga Harper into a couple of good saves early on.

The away side were awarded a penalty in the 25th minute, and Jack Stewart converted to give APIA the lead.

The Wanderers then had several chances to equalise, with Alex Badolato, Adam Bugarija and Edmun Haddad either shooting just wide of goal or forcing Anthony Bouzanis into saves.

NPL NSW Men’s First Grade, Round 12, Western Sydney Wanderers FC v APIA Leichhardt FC at Wanderers Football Park on Sunday 28 April 2024 3:00 PM

APIA punished the profligacy just before the break when Rory Jordan seized on a loose ball and slid the ball across to Ben Gibson to score into an empty net.

Despite changes at the break from coach Andrew Christiansen, the visitors had the momentum, and scored two more goals in three minutes after the break, as Gibson scored twice to secure his hat-trick.

Badolato had a chance to get the Wanderers on the board just after the hour mark on a swift counter-attack, but Bouzanis was equal to the effort.

APIA then took advantage of a tiring Wanderers defence to score two more goals before the end of the match, with former Wanderer Alex Denmead getting on the scoresheet, along with Stewart scoring his second with a powerful effort from distance.

Despite the defeat, the Wanderers are still on top of the NPL NSW table, sitting four points clear of Rockdale Ilinden; they look to bounce back quickly against Sydney United on Sunday.