The Western Sydney Wanderers picked-up one of the most important wins of the season when they defeated the in-form Fraser Park 6-3 at Blacktown Football Park on Saturday.
Hat-tricks to both Kyle Cimenti and Brenton Fox ensured that the Red & Black remained on top of the NPL2 ladder but the score line was not a true indication of what a tough match it really was.
With Wanderers on top of the table by just a solitary point, a Fraser Park outfit who had gone seven matches unbeaten – including six wins – was a formidable challenge and the match lived up to its billing.
The opening ten minutes lacked any chances of note but the contest burst into life 12 minutes in as Cimenti opened the scoring.
Starting with the ball in defence, Abdelrahman Kuku found midfielder Tariq Maia in some space who player the ball for Cimenti to score.
And literally only 30 seconds later the Red & Black doubled their lead as Brenton Fox stunned Fraser Park to make it 2-0.
It was a strong lead but Fraser Park fought back strongly and pulled a goal back quickly with a nice cross before equalising on a well-executed counter-attack.
Fraser Park was suddenly in the ascendency and while Matt Symes managed to save another attempt and Ramy Najjarine almost scored for the Wanderers, the visitors found themselves ahead as they scored again to make it 3-2.
Finding themselves unexpectedly behind on the scoreboard, the Wanderers re-grouped and were soon awarded a penalty after Najjarine was unfairly fouled in the box as a defender knocked the winger over while he was chasing a through ball.
Cimenti calmly converted the penalty to make it 3-3 at the break.
It didn’t take long into the second half for Wanderers to take the lead as Brenton Fox scored his second of the evening. Receiving the ball out wide, Cimenti beat his man, cut into the box and crossed to Fox who managed to poke home despite the pressure of a defender and the goalkeeper.
And just like in the first half, the Wanderers scored twice in a minute after the Red & Black were awarded another penalty: allowing Cimenti to claim his hat-trick and a 5-3 lead.
From there the Wanderers took control and didn’t look like losing the match despite high tension on and off the field that reached a crescendo when a Fraser Park player elbowed Henry Davies in the face.
Regardless, the match was sealed in the 86th minute when Fox claimed his maiden first grade hat-trick as the striker rounded the keeper to score.
To their credit Fraser Park did not give up and forced two big saves from Symes late in the match but it was Wanderers with the three points when the full time whistle blew.
The result leaves the Red & Black on top of the NPL2 ladder and within striking distance of promotion through the Club Championship.
Next week is Central Coast Mariners at Pluim Park with kick-off at 3pm on Sunday.
Western Sydney Wanderers 6 (Kyle Cimenti 12’ 44’ 58’ Brenton Fox 13’ 57’ 86’)
Fraser Park 3 (Todoroski 22’ Crevani 26’ Samson 40’)
Western Sydney Wanderers: Matt Symes (GK), Tate Russell, Lachlan Campbell, Abdelrahman Kuku, Keanu Baccus, Tacettin Kumsuz (Henry Davies), Cameron Devlin (Charles Abou), Tariq Maia, Ramy Najjarine (Lawrence Hanna), Kyle Cimenti, Brenton Fox
Unused subs: Daniel Axford (GK), Jordan Morfitis
20s: WSW 3-1 Fraser Park
18s: WSW 3-0 Fraser Park
16s: WSW 5-0 Rockdale City
15s: WSW 6-0 Rockdale City
14s: WSW 3-1 Rockdale City
13s: WSW 3-3 Rockdale City