Wanderers frustrate Sky Blues in Sydney Derby draw

Sydney FC’s winning start to the Liberty A-League season has come to an end after blowing a string of golden opportunities in a 0-0 draw with cross-town rivals Western Sydney.

The Wanderers, on the back foot for the majority of the derby contest at Leichhardt Oval, avoided defeat against Sydney FC for the first time in five games.

At the same time, the result denied Sydney another ALW win after three straight victories to open their campaign.

The scores might have been level but the contest was anything but in the first half as the Sky Blues thoroughly dominated, particularly via midfield star Mackenzie Hawkesby who should have scored on more than one occasion.

As if attracted by a magnet, the ball kept falling to Hawkesby in glorious goal-scoring positions, but she could not find the back of the net.

The midfielder found space on 10 minutes as she danced around the box before firing over the bar, while a lethal Princess Ibini pass 10 minutes later should have been sent goalward but Hawkesby tucked it the wrong side of the post.

Again the centre of the action, Hawkesby’s 35th-minute corner somehow evaded two unmarked runners and almost drifted in untouched before another shot five minutes later hit the crossbar.

But the pick of the lot again fell to her on the stroke of halftime after a divine Ibini pass had her through on goal before a lunging Wanderers defender deflected the shot.

Earlier, the Wanderers almost struck in mere minutes when Sheridan Gallagher beat Sydney keeper Jada Whyman to a loose ball, pushing her shot into the side netting.

The Wanderers easily could have stolen the lead in the 65th minute after Malia Steinmetz produced a delightful pass for Bryleeh Henry but a smothering save from Whyman denied the teen striker in what was the second-half’s standout chance.

Wanderers assistant coach Sergio Malfara took charge in the absence Catherine Cannuli, who is in isolation.

Sydney missed lethal striker Remy Siemsen through illness. It is not understood to be COVID-related.