Hyundai A-League - 2012 - HAL off season

Western Sydney Wanderers finally show
they can play football on the field
By Steven Nguyen

7:30pm, Wednesday 25 July, 2012
at Cook Park, St Marys

Nepean FC 0
lost to
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 5
(Labinot Haliti 43', Joey Gibbs 57', 70', 72', 83')

The on-field debut on Western Sydney Wanderers FC was a night to remember as they beat Football NSW State League Division 2 strugglers Nepean FC 5-0 infront of more than 3,500 fans.

Four goals to trialist Joey Gibbs, who funnily enough has only played one match in the Hyundai A-League for Sydney FC as a subsitute in the 2010/2011 Grand Final, showed his maturity and experience when he came on in the 2nd half of the match.

Wanderers coach Tony Popovic started seven of his nine signed players. Shannon Cole and Kwabena Appah-Kubi were missing and they were sitting right behind throughout the match, speaking to fans and signing autographs whenever they were approached during the match.

A bumpy surface at Cook Park, St Marys - which honestly had a seated grandstand of around 200 - allowed Nepean FC to struggle throughout the match in which the Wanderers were always going to hold most of the possession. Aaron Mooy was orchestrating the midfield and this allowed Western Sydney to control possession and use it when necessary - as was the case throughout the whole match.

In the first 42 minutes of the Wanderers first ever match, numerous clear goal scoring opportunities went begging. Labinot Haliti hit the crossbar and also hit the left hand post twice. After all these chances the Western Sydney Wanderers finally scored their first goal as a team in the 43rd minute. A great cross from the right by Mark Bridge allowed Haliti to calmy volley the ball past the Nepean FC goalkeeper allowing the Wanderers to enter the scoreboard for the first time in their short history.

Even though the Wanderers were dominant throughout the whole 1st half, the only really attacking moves that Nepean FC could show were counter attacks when the ball was available. A great call by the referee Kris Griffith-Jones to give the free kick against Nepean FC just outside the opposition 18 yard box for diving, even prevented Nepean having a decent chance on goal.

The 2nd half of the match resulted in Wanderers FC coach Tony Popovic nearly fully changing the roster which showed the public a full team of trialling players take to the field. Joey Gibbs lit up the field as a result of this appearance for the new club. The trialists from Wanderers FC were here on show to impress Popovic - to ponder on who to look for to sign a contract for the club. It was made easier for Popovic as Joey Gibbs and Zac Elrich were standouts and took advantage by scoring goals and setting up plays through good lead up play by Elrich.

Joey Gibbs was clearly the standout for the Wanderers FC by scoring 4 goals in the 57th, 70th, 72nd and 83rd minute of the 2nd half which surely has impressed coach Popovic in allowing him to sign for the Wanderers FC

To conclude, I was speaking to Wanderers FC chairman Lyall Gorman throughout the 2nd half and he was impressed that a crowd of 3,500 on a Wednesday night attend a pre season friendly which we both admitted that the crowd easily looked like 4-5000 people.

Gorman revealed to me what will be happening for memberships which will be released on 1st August. Stadium arrangements in which Parramatta Stadium will be used and Gorman has arranged media conferences at Parramatta Stadium to reveal these details coming up - the first held today (26/7/2012).

Overall, as a Western Sydney resident its been a long while that Western Sydney have finally got a Hyundai A-League team - which I believe should have been setup in Season 1. The future looks bright for Western Sydney Wanderers FC. The question is can it be a successful when the real football starts in the 2012/2013 Hyundai A-League season? Time will tell.

Upcoming matches for Western Sydney Wanderers FC:
v Blacktown Spartans (NSW Premier League) - Blacktown International Sports Park 1st August
v Blacktown City Demons (NSW Premier League) - Gabbie Stadium 8th August
v TBC - 15th August
v Sydney United (NSW Premier League) - Sydney United Sports Centre 22nd August

I have been told that there will be l4-6 Pre-Season matches against Hyundai A-League clubs before the regular season commences.

7:30pm, Wednesday 25 July, 2012
at Cook Park, St Marys

Nepean FC 0
lost to
West Sydney Wanderers FC 5
(Labinot Haliti 43', Joey Gibbs 57', 70', 72', 83')

    Crowd: 3,612 (looked like at least 4-4,500)


    Nepean FC :
    1. Ryan Trussel (gk), 2. Ajak Deng, 7. Nathaniel Harnett, 4. Karl Ciappa, 3. Craig Townley-Jones, 6. Sam Pintabona, 8. Gordon Opacic, 13. Anthony Belardo, 11. Sebastian Camacho, 10. Glenn Davis, 9. Garry Boardman

    Substitutes - GK Robbie O'Connor, 14 Brayden Hunter, 12 Mitchell Grima, 15 Abraham Majok, 5 Ryan Colborne

    Coach: tba

    Western Sydney Wanderers FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Ante Covic (gk), 5. Michael Beauchamp (c), 10. Mark Bridge, 2. Reece Caira, 3. Adam D'Apuzzo, 11. Tarek Elrich, 7. Labinot Haliti, 6. Aaron Mooy, 9. Arrache Salim, 4. Nikolai Topor-Stanley, 8. Jason Trifiro

    Substitutes - (numbers are incorrect on team sheet given)
    ? Daniel Barac, 5. Zac Elrich, 14. Joey Gibbs, ? Jack Green, ? Matt Lewis; 12. Trent McClenahan; ? Nicholas Modaffari, ? Stepjan Paric, ? Yanni Perkatis, 20. Jerrard Tyson (gk)

    Coach: Tony Popovic

    Referee: Kris Griffith-Jones 8/10 (allow football to be played in a friendly manner)
    Assistants: - Nick Backo and Leigh Pigram

    Pitch Rating - 3/10 (a lot of dirt patches which resulted in a lot of players slipping during the match)

    Game Rating - 5/10 (one sided possession football by WSW which could have resulted in more goals scored especially when posts/crossbar were hit a total 4 times during the match)

    Players to note:-
    3. Joey Gibbs WSW (excellent in the 2nd half to score four goals in 45 minutes of football is a promising sign for a player that has only played 1 match for Sydney FC in the 2010/2011 Grand Final)
    2. Jason Trifiro WSW (did well calling the shots at the midfield, read play very well and would be an excellent proposition for the Wanderers)
    1. Aaron Mooy WSW (playing only the 1st half tonight and returning back to Australia after a stint at Scotland was beneficial as Mooy showed class in the midfield with excellent passing and technique and led the way throughout midfield - one to watch in the A-League)

    Match Report: Steven Nguyen

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Disclaimer: The content of this report is the responsibility of the writer. Stats are either as recorded by the writer at the game, or as supplied by FFA, or a mixture - no responsibility can be taken for their complete accuracy although we do strive for that. Any photos used here, are by the writer, or as attributed.

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