The Western Sydney Wanderers surged into the top four for the first time in their history with a milestone 3-1 win over a struggling Melbourne Victory.

Five Things We Learned – Western Sydney Wanderers

1. Back To Back: It was a round of firsts for the Wanderers whose dominating display gave the red and black a first ever win against the Victory as well as a milestone first top four position. The win, a second on the trot for Western Sydney, was the first in front of the home faithful in 693 days with goals to Michelle Carney (24’), an own goal from a Liz Grey effort (56’) and Keelin Winters (P 70’) finally breaking the home ground hoodoo.

2. Front Foot: Wanderers coach, Norm Boardman is revelling in the positive impact of his offseason recruiting, though it was hard to tell from his stony-faced sideline expression. The injection of pace, athleticism and physicality has seen the Wanderers transform themselves into an attacking force thanks in great part to the standout performances of Erica Halloway and Hannah Beard. With Winters at the helm, the Wanderers are enjoying the very best of Halloway, debatably the Wanderers best, and Beard with blazing runs, line breaks and dangerous presence in the box the theme.

3. Taking Chances: The Wanderers seem to have shaken off an early case of ‘so close, yet so far’ in the attacking third turning chances into results. The height, presence and hold up play of Grey enabling Carney to move more freely and the Wanderers to be particularly dangerous from set pieces and close range.

4. Calming Carm: Injuries to Caitlin Cooper (leg – season) and Kendall Johnson (head – 1 week) have forced the Wanderers to get creative with full backs deploying Soutar, Petinos and Koulizakis to fill the gaps. Despite the unsettled backline, the defence has held strong under the leadership and direction of experienced international, Carmelina Moscato.

Besides the goal difference, the most notable contribution from Moscato is the obvious mentoring of up and comer, Ellie Carpenter. Moscato’s calmness on the ball, service to the midfield and reliability are traits that are slowly developing in Carpenters game and the confidence showed as Carpenter stole possession to make a dazzling run through the Victory defence to set up Carney for the Wanderers first.

5. The Full Ninety: In an otherwise commanding performance the Wanderers struggled to maintain momentum after a beautifully hit Laura Spiranovic goal pulled one back for the Victory. Victory were invited back into the contest, putting the Wanderers on the back foot and allowing Victory to control the pace making for some nervous final moments

Five Things We Learned – Melbourne Victory

1. Game of Halves: Victory travelled to Marconi Stadium in the hope of recording its first points of the season and their intentions were made clear as they started the game with purpose. Having never lost to the Wanderers, it was a confident Victory who could have taken the lead on 15’ when a Nairn attempt blasted off the crossbar to the feet of Lay who couldn’t control her shot. From there, Victory waivered as the home side took control of the midfield and found space in between an exposed backline.

2. Going The Distance: Clearly alert to the inexperience of the Wanderers stopper, Victory made the most of their midfield possession testing the keeper from range. Showing good vision, quick decision making and plying some intelligent football, Victory (in particular, Christine Nairn) were unlucky not to be rewarded for their clever efforts.

3. Service: From the stands it wasn’t hard to spot Spiranovic but despite the strikers work rate and menacing of the Wanderers backline, Victory were unable to really play her into the game. A missed opportunity for the visitors as Spiranovic’s height and physicality was underused outside a wonderful turn and finish for the lone Victory goal.

4. Pace: Positive going forward, Victory hassled the Wanderers defence with bursting runs from Mindy Barbieri, Raso and Knight but couldn’t find the final pass or finish needed to affect the scoreboard. After a bright start, Victory lost width and creativity as Raso struggled with a knock, moving inward and sporting a significant limp that saw her switching with Spiranovic in an effort to remain on the pitch.

5. The Spark: A late goal saw the Victory roar back to life tasking the Wanderers with a high tempo, attacking final quarter which, despite the two goal advantage, looked set to take the game to the wire. Coach Dave Edmondson will certainly be after more of the same as Victory look to find the consistency to snap their winless start to the season.

“How Good” Moment

Jada Whyman showed signs of growing confidence as she sprang into action, making some decisive saves to keep Victory at bay, drawing praise from both the home crowd and Nairn who offered the young keeper a round of applause after a particularly exceptional stop on her shot from distance.

Still, maybe the most impressive display was Whyman’s distribution, throwing the ball to or over the half way line on the full on several occasions to ignite a Wanderers counter.

Up Next

Both teams will have a chance to rest and regather with the weekend off. On their return, the Western Sydney Wanderers will host Canberra United in the match of the week to be played at Central Coast Stadium while it won’t get any easier for Melbourne Victory who face their next test away to Perth Glory.

Western Sydney Wanderers 3 (Carney 24’, Dimovski O.G. 56’, Winters 70’ pen)

Melbourne Victory 1 (Laura Spiranovic 75’)

Sunday 15 November 2015

Marconi Stadium, Sydney

Kick-off: 3pm

Referee: Lara Lee

Western Sydney Wanderers: Jada Whyman (gk), Carmelina Moscato, Chloe O’Brien, Rachael Soutar (Helen Petinos 46’), Erica Halloway, Elizabeth Grey (Alix Roberts 84’), Michelle Carney, Keelin Winters (c), Hannah Beard (Linda O’Neill 70’), Demi Koulizakis, Ellie Carpenter

Substitutes – Teagan Micah (gk)

Melbourne Victory: Cassandra Dimovski (gk), Briar Palmer, Annabel Martin, Enza Barilla, Jamie Pollock, Christine Nairn (c), Laura Spiranovic, MelindaJ Barbieri, Thea Slatyer, Hayley Raso (Whitney Knight 70’), Cindy Lay (Melissa Taranto 70’)

Substitutes – Teresa Morrissey (gk), Alexandra Natoli

Cautions – Hayley Raso 28’