The Western Sydney Wanderers will now put full focus on the finals after a late equaliser for Mounties knocked the Red & Black out of the PS4 NPL2 premiership race.
Needing a win to ensure that next week’s Sydney Derby was a winner-takes-all occasion, the Red & Black looked likely to take all three points until a controversial injury time decision.
The equation was simple for the Wanderers going into the match: win their final two games and they would be crowned premiers in their debut season.
But things did not go to plan early with Mounties scoring in the opening minutes.
Despite the early set-back, heads did not drop and the Red & Black were soon on level terms again after one of the best team goals of the season.
Tate Russell had the ball wide, picked out Lawrence Hanna who then chipped to an on-rushing Tariq Maia for the midfielder to volley into the bottom corner.
It was a sensation team effort and laid the platform for Kyle Cimenti to put the Wanderers ahead with an equally impressive solo effort.
Hanna was again the provider as he fed the ball to Cimenti who was in space out wide: the winger drive down the field before cutting into the box, rounding a defender and slotting the ball into the bottom corner.
Looking to go into the sheds after a strong first half, the Wanderers were stunned as Mounties equalised as the clock struck 45 minutes.
It didn’t take long to re-take the lead though as danger-man Hanna got on the end of a Brenton Fox cross only minutes after the break, though he hurt himself in the process of scoring and had to be taken off.
From there the Wanderers looked relentless and created a number of very good chances, none better than Cimenti’s penalty that was saved by the keeper.
Despite the late flurry of chances, the Wanderers were left to rue what could have been as the referee awarded a contentious penalty in the 92nd minute that saw the points shared and the premiership out of reach.
Next Sunday is the final round of the regular season as the Wanderers host Sydney FC at Popondetta Park. The match is open to Wanderers’ Members who need to pre-register with the club to attend.
Mounties Wanderers 3
Western Sydney Wanderers 3 (Tariq Maia 16’ Kyle Cimenti 24’ Lawrence Hanna 51’)
Western Sydney Wanderers: Matt Symes, Tate Russell, Abdelrahman Kuku, Henry Davies (Tacettin Kumsuz), Malcolm Ward, Keanu Baccus, Charles Abou (Matthew Lecce), Tariq Maia, Kyle Cimenti, Lawrence Hanna (Moudi Najar), Brenton Fox
Unused subs: Nick Suman, Solomon Monahan
20s: Mounties 2-0 WSW
18s: Mounties 1-4 WSW
15s: WSW 1-0 Central Coast Mariners
14s: WSW 2-2 Central Coast Mariners
13s: WSW 2-2 Central Coast Mariners