It was all we had dreamed of and more: the fans returned, seven in a row, Romeo finally scored and King Bridge broke his personal record by scoring in four consecutive matches.But what did we learn in-depth against Melbourne Victory?
Seventh heaven pushes Wanderers into title ascendency
In a top of the table clash billed as the true test of a rejuvenated Wanderers’ title credentials, Tony Popovic’s side passed the test with flying colours – in fact, they were so good on the night they could have left the examination room early.
After six straight wins, the Victory clash was set to be the sternest inspection to the Wanderers’ claim to the Hyundai A-League throne. But the team had studied their rivals faultlessly and executed a ruthlessly efficient second half to consign the Melburnians to consecutive defeats and open up a four point lead at the summit of the competition table.
Any win over Melbourne Victory comes with an additional sense of triumph but the 2-0 defeat of the reigning champions on Saturday has cemented the Wanderers’ status as the competition’s team to beat and potentially laid the platform for another record-breaking winning streak.
Romeo Castelen is on fire
The former Feyernoord star’s career down under has often been frustrated by inconsistency and disrupted by injury but against the Victory on Saturday night he was at his near-unplayable best. The electric Castelen has put in a series of eye-catching stints this season without reward in the final third but an assist and his first goal of the season means he is beginning to truly make his mark on the competition.
On a night that yielded several highlights, the number 7’s one-sided battle with Daniel Georgievski was the pick of the bunch. The Flying Dutchman had the floundering fullback all at sea with the Macedonian international unable to contend with the explosive trickery of the Wanderers winger. There was simply no reprieve for the Victory fullback until Castelen’s memorable individual performance was serenaded by a thoroughly deserved standing ovation through his late substitution.
Berisha no worries for Alberto
The Albanian has been a perpetual thorn in the Wanderers’ side with six goals in ten matches prior to Saturday’s encounter but in stopping Berisha the cultured centre-half nullified the most integral element of Victory’s recent dominance over the Wanderers.
Nearly every defender in the competition has been tormented by the league’s most notorious predator at one stage or another but Alberto highlighted every inch of his experience and cunning in a defensive masterclass.
Wanderland is back to its electric best
The best crowds in the world manage to suck the ball into the back of the net and this was the case on Saturday as the returning Red and Black Bloc together with crowd over 17,000 strong spurred the Wanderers to victory.
On a night where the team confirmed they are the competition’s team to beat, the fans reaffirmed their status as the league’s best in the business with a pulsating Wanderland positively trembling to its foundations during the pinnacle of the noise.
You can be part of Wanderland when we host Newcastle Jets on Christmas Eve. Tickets are available here.