The Western Sydney Wanderers showed that the future was bright, both short and long term, as they sent a very young side to Perth and almost toppled the league-leaders.While there was some conjecture about the selections from outside parties, Tony Popovic had faith in his young brigade and the players showed why they are rated highly as they created a number of chances and almost took the points off Glory in the second half.
With an average age of just 23 the Wanderers handed a debut to goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis and a starting debut to Jaushua Sotirio while Blacktown local Kearyn Baccus made his Hyundai A-League debut off the bench.
It was Sotirio who looked likely all match with a number of powerful strikes testing the Glory defence; at times his volleys came within millimetres of goal.
He finally got the breakthrough in the second half though it was off the side of his body rather than the instep of his foot that his goal came from.
With Daniel Mullen heading down a Vitor Saba pass, the ball smashed into Sotirio’s side and into goal.
Earlier, best mates Labinot Haliti and Jason Trifiro both had opportunities to put the Wanderers in front but were denied by Glory’s Danny Vukovic
In fact, the Red & Black peppered Perth’s goal all night with Alusine Fofanah and Mark Bridge also creating notable opportunities.
Regardless, Perth capitalised on the Red & Black’s misfortune to put away two goals and win the match but the season is a marathon, not a sprint and tonight’s brilliant showing by such a young squad is a great indication of where both teams are at.
It bodes well for the future that even away from home this squad almost took the game away from the current ladder-leaders.
With the return of some notable, and experienced, omissions it’s no wonder Red & Black fans are anticipating their return to Wanderland and four consecutive home games.
Future seasons also look bright with tonight’s line-up a possible look at regular starters in the coming years.