The NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers have rued missed opportunities for the second week in a row as they drew 1-1 with Central Coast Mariners.Brendon Santalab scored the fastest ever Red & Black goal in the Hyundai A-League but the Wanderers couldn’t hold on with Adam Berry equalising in the second half.
It was the perfect start as Brendon Santalab scored his fifth goal of the season: getting on the end of an impressive Nicolás Martínez pass after the Argentine collected a brilliant diagonal ball himself.
The Wanderers then went on a rampage with chances falling to Mitch Nichols, Santalab, Kearyn Baccus and two to Jumpei with an impressive effort from the Japanese winger hitting the crossbar.
Nevertheless the Red & Black went into the sheds in the ascendency and almost doubled their lead in the opening minute of the second half.
Martínez again was the centre of the creativity with the winger creating space, expertly delaying his pass and playing a ball of perfection to the on-rushing Nichols. Unfortunately the midfielder was unable to convert, shooting wide.
From that moment, the Mariners began to play themselves into the match with chances beginning to fall to both teams.
Dimas expertly robbed a Mariners’ attacker on the verge of shooting while Santalab and Martínez continued to cause the away team problems in defence.
But it was the Mariners who equalised after capitalising on a misdirected pass.
The remainder of the match was devoid of any real chances until the final minute when Nichols shot the wrong side of the near post and the Mariners had a penalty shout waved away.
A point each leaves Wanderers undefeated in their past three matches and in fifth position at the conclusion of Saturday night’s matches.
Wanderers travel to Western Australia next week to play Perth Glory in a double header with the Westfield W-League playing the first game of the day at nib Stadium.
Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Brendon Santalab 2’)
Central Coast Mariners 1 (Adam Berry 61’)
Western Sydney Wanderers: Andrew Redmayne (GK), Scott Neville, Robbie Cornthwaite, Aritz Borda, Jack Clisby, Keanu Baccus (Jacob Melling), Dimas (C), Mitch Nichols, Nicolás Martínez (Steven Lustica), Jumpei, Brendon Santalab (Lachlan Scott)
Unused subs: Jerrad Tyson (GK), Brendan Hamill