The Western Sydney Wanderers proved Sydney really is Red & Black after dismantling Sydney FC 3-1 to leap-frog them into first place on both the First Grade ladder and Club Championship in the first ever NPL Sydney Derby.
Goals from Alusine Fofanah, Tariq Maia and Lachlan Scott sealed an impressive victory in the first ever meeting between these teams, ensuring the Wanderers claimed another piece of football history.
With promotion to NPL1 won by the club who finishes on top of the Club Championship, the win was invaluable to the Wanderers who established a seven point lead at the top of the table with help from a 5-0 win by the U18s.
Bragging rights too were on the line heading into the game with Wanderers fans unable to attend the match at Lambert Park and while the Red & Black had the best of the opening chances, the match was relatively even.
Tariq Maia and Lachlan Scott both had chances to open the scoring as the Wanderers began to dominate the match before Alusine Fofanah took the lead with his second goal in a week.
16-year-old Ramy Najjarine had the ball in a central area, dancing through some defenders before laying the ball off to Fofanah who beat a defender and hit a thunderous drive from the corner of the 18-yard box to put the Red & Black in front.
It looked to have been the perfect half of football with a solid performance and a deserved lead but a goal late in the half to Sydney FC took some shine off a solid 45 minutes for the away team.
Not that the Wanderers allowed the equaliser to impact their desire to win the match as Tariq Maia’s classy goal early in the second half gave the Red & Black a lead they would not relinquish.
The midfielder weaved his way through the box, avoiding a number of defenders before slotting the ball into the bottom corner with one of the calmest finishes seen in the NPL this season.
After going behind Sydney FC really put their foot on the pedal with a number of good chances but were continuously denied by Wanderers’ keeper, Matt Symes.
The custodian first denied them with an impressive one-handed effort to tip the ball over the bar before pulling out perhaps his best save of the season and he somehow managed to push a header onto the cross-bar from close-range.
With so much on the line the tension was evident but both teams continued to attack until Lachlan Scott put the result beyond doubt in the third minute of additional time, leaving Wanderers in prime position for promotion at the half way mark of the competition.
While the Wanderers were worthy winners, the match was an incredible spectacle: entertaining, tense and a great advertisement for the PS4 NPL2 competition.
Next week the Red & Black play Spirit FC at Christie Park, 7pm on Saturday 4 June.
Sydney FC 1 (Charles Lokolingoy 40’)
Western Sydney Wanderers 3 (Alusine Fofanah 31’ Tariq Maia 58’ Lachlan Scott 93’)
Western Sydney Wanderers: Matthew Symes (GK), Shayne D'Cunha (C), Abdelrahman Kuku, Jonathan Aspropotamitis, Keanu Baccus, Cameron Devlin, Mario Shabow, Tariq Maia (Lachlan Roberts), Ramy Najjarine (Kyle Cimenti), Alusine Fofanah (Jordan Morfitis), Lachlan Scott
Unused subs: Nick Suman (GK), Tacettin Kumsuz
20s: Sydney FC 3-0 WSW
18s: Sydney FC 0-5 WSW
16s: WSW 3-0 Parramatta FC
15s: WSW 4-0 Parramatta FC
14s: WSW 0-0 Parramatta FC
13s: WSW 1-1 Parramatta FC