The Wanderers Academy NPL 1 first grade team secured their first win of the season with a dominant 3-1 win over the previously unbeaten Rockdale Ilinden at Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday evening.
The match began quickly, with Rockdale wasting no time with a goal to Jaden Casella in just the 3rd minute of the match. The Wanderers defence did well initially, before a favourable rebound fell to the path of Casella who tucked the shot away.
The fast start to the match continued with Kosta Grozos equalising just five minutes later. The attack began down the left wing with Rory Jordan steaming into the box before winning the Wanderers a penalty via a handball decision.
There was a short conversation between Kosta Grozos and Ali Auglah over who would take the penalty, but it was the number ten who stepped up and made no mistake, sending the keeper the wrong way and burying his shot into the bottom left corner.
Following the equalising goal, the Red & Black dominated both ball and field possession, with a high press implemented. Rockdale struggled to clear the ball from their own half, and this led to chances to Ali Auglah, Thomas Aquilina and the skipper, Mohamed Al Taay.
Rockdale fought their way back into the match around the 30-minute mark and enjoyed some possession, which slowed down the rate of chances for both sides.
Following the resumption of the second half it was the Wanderers who looked the most likely to break the deadlock.
Chances fell to Kosta Grozos and Duantae Mariner before a sublime finish from Rory Jordan put the Red & Black in the lead. Jordan was found in space on the left edge of the box who curled a beauty into the far-right corner, getting his third goal of the season.
Looking to defend their slim lead and get their first win of the campaign, the Wanderers dropped off which allowed Rockdale to push on and create more.
An equaliser, and perhaps a winner, were on the cards for Rockdale had it not been for two superb saves from Oliver Kalac. The first save required Kalac to be at full-stretch to his right to deny a long-range effort, while the second save only a couple of minutes later was a point-blank reaction save with his left leg.
Shortly after, in the first of four added minutes, Peter Grozos was played in by older brother Kosta for his first goal of the season. Peter found himself in a similar area to Rory Jordan, and he followed suit, tucking the ball into the back of the net to secure all three points for the Wanderers.
Rockdale Ilinden 1 (Jaden Casella 3’)
Western Sydney Wanderers 3 (Kosta Grozos 8’, Rory Jordan 70’, Peter Grozos 90+1’)
Western Sydney Wanderers: 40. Oliver KALAC (GK), 2. Thomas AQUILINA, 4. Mohamed AL TAAY (c) (Jamie PERCEVSKI 90+3’), 5. Noah PAGDEN (3. Mark NATTA 62’), 6. Fabian MONGE (Dean PELEKANOS 72’), 7. Jarrod CARLUCCIO, 10. Kosta GROZOS, 13. Tass MOURDOUKOUTAS, 19. Rory JORDAN (Peter GROZOS 72’), 21. Ali AUGLAH
Unused Substitutes: 50. Jack GIBSON (GK), 12. Stefan NICOLIC
Other NPL Results
U20: Rockdale Ilinden 2-4 WSW
U18: WSW 4-1 Blacktown Spartans
U16: WSW 5-1 Blacktown Spartans
U15: WSW 5-1 Blacktown Spartans
U14: WSW 1-3 Blacktown Spartans
U13: WSW 6-0 Blacktown Spartans