The Western Sydney Wanderers concluded their pre-season with an impressive 6-1 win over fellow NPL2 team St George at Blacktown International Sportspark on Sunday.
Boosted by a handful of Hyundai A-League players in the first half, the Red & Black took a 3-0 lead at the break through Jacob Pepper and Matt Sim before a youthful line-up in the second half secured the win goals from Lachlan Scott, Jackson Bandiera, Ramy Najjarine and Brenton Fox.
Despite an experienced line-up to start the match, the match began in a scrappy fashion with no real chances presenting themselves until the 33rd minute when Mario Shabow blasted a volley over the crossbar.
Up until that point it was a tight contest with neither side looking to have taken the ascendency but it all changed when Pepper opened the scoring as the midfielder picked up an errant St George goal kick to open the scoring.
An unfortunate goal perhaps for St George who only moments prior looked like scoring themselves until Nick Suman made an impressive finger-tipped save.
It mattered little though as St Georges’ woes were doubled just before half time when Sim made it 2-0.
The second half essentially saw an entire new line-up for the Wanderers but that didn’t do anything to halt their momentum when Scott made it 3-0 within 50 seconds of the restart after poking home an impressive cross from Golgol Mebrahtu.
From that moment on the Wanderers ran away with the match, scoring another two goals in quick succession.
First up was new recruit Jackson Bandiera, scoring his first goal for the Red & Black. With Mebrahtu chipping into the box from a wide area, Bandiera chested the ball down to his own feet, rounded a defender and slotted it past the keeper.
Next up was 15-year-old Najjarine who finished nicely at the far post after an Alusine Fofanah cut-back.
St George was next to score but the five goal cushion was restored almost instantly as Fox side-footed home a rebound.
The result means that the Wanderers finish their first ever NPL pre-season with four wins from five matches though the real test starts next Sunday when Round 1 kicks-off.
Wanderers host Spirit FC in Round 1 of the NPL2 season on Sunday 6 March with first grade kicking-off at 7pm. The venue is Blacktown Football Park.
First half XI: Nick Suman (GK), Shannon Cole, Jonathan Aspropotamitis, Abdelrahman Kuku, Mathieu Cordier, Jacob Pepper, Liam Youlley, Mario Shabow, Golgol Mebrahtu, Matt Sim, Lachlan Scott
Second half XI: Nick Suman (GK), Jackson Banderia, Daniel Alessi, Shayne D’Cunha, Lachlan Roberts, Josh Gaspari, Alusine Fofanah, Ramy Najjarine, Golgol Mebrahtu, Josh Macdonald, Lachlan Scott
U20s: Western Sydney Wanderers 7-1 St George