A late blitz from Brisbane Roar has consigned the NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers to a 3-2 defeat after the Wanderers came back from a goal down through Andreu and Romeo Castelen.The Wanderers trailed their fellow title competitors for an extended period of the match after Jamie Maclaren netted his 13th goal of the season after just five minutes, but the match exploded into life in the final quarter with four goals arriving in a topsy-turvy final fifteen minutes.
Tony Popovic’s men looked to have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat after Andreu’s penalty and Romeo Castelen’s second goal in as many matches put the Red & Black in front but the Roar hit back in stunning fashion through Maclaren’s second of the evening and Dimi Petratos’ winner.
Maclaren’s second brace of the season against the Wanderers snaps a three-game winless run for the Roar who move level on points with the Wanderers, who will remain on top of the ladder for at least another night with third-placed Adelaide set to face Wellington in the early kick-off on Saturday.
Tony Popovic was forced into three personnel changes following last Friday’s 2-1 triumph over Perth Glory with Brendan Hamill returning to the line-up for the suspended Topor-Stanley whilst Castelen started in place of the injured Dario Vidosic. Golgol Mebrahtu, who netted against the Roar in the FFA Cup six months ago, led the line in his first start of the campaign.
Buoyed by their late winner against Perth last Friday, the Wanderers did start in a positive manner and nearly scored on their first meaningful attack of the game after Romeo Castelen played a neat one-two with Mebrahtu on the edge of the box before blazing his effort wide.
And moments after the Dutchman spurned the chance to put the Red & Black ahead, Brisbane made no mistake at the other end with their first foray forward. The overlapping run of Jack Hingert created space out wide and the fullback’s cutback from the by line was bundled home by Maclaren to give John Aloisi’s side an early lead.
The Wanderers were flat and often exposed at the back in a frustrating first half, but the introduction of Brendon Santalab midway through the second stanza proved pivotal when the super sub was felled by Michael Theo in the area after racing onto a through ball.
Andreu subsequently converted from the spot, sending his spot-kick straight down the middle for his third goal of the season.
All of the momentum was suddenly with the Wanderers and Castelen looked to have won the points when he waltzed through some lacklustre Roar defending to edge his side in front.
But two goals in as many minutes from the Roar turned the game on its head once more. Maclaren timed his run in between the Wanderers centre-halves perfectly to turn home Corona’s cross on the volley before Petratos netted the winner on the breakaway, finishing first-time past Reddy to complete a remarkable turnaround.
Up next for the Wanderers is another away match, this time against Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium. Kick-off is 5pm on Sunday 13 March.