Wanderers youth collapse in Sydney derby

By Corinthian (Paul Green):

Foxtel National Youth League – Version 2 – Season 1 – Round 3
7pm, Sunday 22nd November 2015 – Lambert Park, Leichhardt

Sydney FC 5
(Max Burgess 24′, 48′, 81′ pen, Christopher Zuvela 62′, Charles Lokoli Ngoy 84′)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 0

Western Sydney Wanderers’ National Youth League team was brought back down to earth, after their first two matches had seen them unbeaten, as they collapsed against a strong Sydney FC side at Lambert Park on Sunday evening, to go down 5-0 to their fiercest rivals.

It wasn’t a whitewash by any means, despite the scoreline, though the Red and Black certainly struggled after the Sky Blues had extended their slender 1-0 half-time lead to 2-0 by the 48th minute.

After that goal went in the Wanderers tended to lose their way a little, as Sydney grew in confidence and began to dominate the game completely.

Fielding a side with several changes from the one that had beaten Central Coast Mariners the previous weekend at Marconi Stadium, the Wanderers were well in the game until the 24th minute when the hosts took the lead.

Up to that point it had been even-Stevens and both sides had chances to open their account in a bruising opening to the first period, which saw numerous flying tackles that barely failed to connect with an opponent and gave referee, Tim Danaskos, plenty to think about.

He tried to keep his cards in his pocket early on and that was as much down to players evading over-robust tackles and skipping past their man, as anything else.

Later in the game he had to deal out several cautions, including two to one man who had to leave the field for an early shower in the 67th minute, combative Wanderers’ midfielder Liam Youlley.

Max Burgess was on fire for Sydney FC and was to go on and score a well-deserved hat-trick by the finish.

In the opening minute of the game he was already looking to open his account and went close with a low shot from the right, that went narrowly wide.

At the other end, the industrious Liam Youlley, who’d done well off the bench the week before, was in the thick of the action again and his ball threaded through for Lachlan Scott to run onto, in the eighth minute, might have easily led to a goal, but for a superb tackle from a Sky Blues’ defender just as the Wanderers’ man was sizing up his shot.

Wanderers’ skipper and centre-back, Daniel Alessi, then got forward in the 19th and fed the alert Joshua MacDonald, whose cross from the right just eluded Joshua Gaspari, as he arrived in the goalmouth intent on firing his side into the lead.

Two let-offs then for Sydney, already, but while the Wanderers had plenty of speed and ideas going forward, they also had a very strong triumvirate of Sydney players to contend with at their own end of the field.

They found it hard going containing the likes of Burgess, Robert Stambolziev and Alex Mullen, all players who’ve been earmarked for A League action and look set to make more appearances as the senior season unfolds.

Those three were very mobile and each of them looked capable of creating, or scoring, depending on how the cards fell.

In the 24th minute midfield dynamo, Daniel Araujo, who spent the winter season with the NSW NPL1 Premiers Blacktown City, and now back with the Sky Blues, won the ball on half-way and was astute enough to find his own skipper, Yianni Spyrakis, to set up a quick-fire Sydney FC counter-attack.

Spyrakis slipped the ball through for Burgess, who was clinical in stroking the ball past an uncertain Wanderers’ keeper, Nicholas Suman, who’d been a fraction slow to sense the impending danger.

At 1-0 Sydney still had plenty to do, no doubt, but the impression was that up to then the Wanderers had felt the game might later be theirs.

Apart from a cross from Lachlan Roberts that was cut out, before it could reach another Wanderers’ player in the goalmouth in the 30th and a corner that was easily dealt with, the visitors found it hard to contain the Sydney side from that point in the game.

It became a lot worse in the 48th when Stambolziev, out wide on the left, found Mullen across on the other side of the field and 40 yards out.

The newcomer played a delightful chip over the heads of defenders for Burgess to run onto and again finish with aplomb.

Seven minutes later it could easily have been three, when Burgess released Mullen on the right, but this time the keeper was spared as the striker dragged his shot narrowly wide of the left-hand upright.

But it was still not going to be the Wanderers’ day and the 300 or so fans who’d remained after the early Womens League game, or had come in later just to see this one, were going to go away disappointed, or at least the Red and Black contingent among them were.

Burgess was the instigator again in the 62nd, playing in another impressive player in the Sydney ranks, Christopher Zuvela, who showed good composure to bury the ball high in the roof of the net to make it 3-0.

Burgess was wide with another effort, just one minute later in the match and was then called upon to put away a penalty-kick, thus bringing up his hat-trick, in the 81st, after a Wanderers’ defender had impeded the progress of a Sydney player just inside the area.

Burgess put the ball into the top-right corner of the net in confident style.

Substitute Charles Lokoli Ngoy, who’d won the spot-kick, got his own name on the scoresheet in the 84th, after tearing through the defence from deep and crisply placing the ball past the exposed keeper.

Sydney could have had yet another in the 86th when, first Burgess and then George Timotheou, struck the bar, the first effort coming down close to the goal-line before the handily-placed defender had a crack at it as well.

It finished 5-0 and no doubt with this short NYL season and a winter season to look forward to in NSW NPL2 as well, Wanderers’ coach, Trevor Morgan, would be more concerned with giving players exposure than claiming points in many of his team’s matches.

But Sydney FC won’t care too much about that.

The players from both sides were in sporting mood post-match, emerging for the most part unscathed after a bruising encounter and probably thankful for that, although bragging rights were in the hands of the hosts this time.

But Sydney FC officials would also be happy with the good form shown by many of the Youth League team, giving A League coach, Graham Arnold, a few more options over coming weekends for his senior side.

Match details

Crowd: Approx 300

Sydney FC:   1. Anthony BOUZANIS (gk);  2 George TIMOTHEOU,  3 Aaron CALVER, 5 Yianni SPYRAKIS, 17 Christopher ZUVELA (11 Lachlan HUGHES 82); 16 Riley WOODCOCK (9 Bai ANTONIOU 74),  6 Nikola KULESKI,  7 Daniel ARAUJO (12 Charles LOKOLI NGOY 77);  8 Max BURGESS, 18 14 Alex MULLEN, 18 Robert STAMBOLZIEV
Sub Not Used: 20 Nicholas SORRAS (GK)

Coach: Robert Stanton
Yellow cards: Nicola Kuleski 56, Daniel Araujo 66, Max Burgess 72, George Timotheou 87
Red cards: Nil

Western Sydney Wanderers FC:  1. Nicholas SUMAN (gk);  4 Daniel ALESSI (c), 3 Mathieu CORDIER, 5 Alusine FOFANAH, 6 Cameron DEVLIN; 7 Joshua MACDONALD , 10 Tariq MAIA, 8 Liam YOULLEY, 2 Lachlan ROBERTS (14 Daniel BLACHURA 78); 9 Lachlan SCOTT (13 Charles ABOU SERHAL 74), 11 Joshua GASPARI (12 Kyle CIMENTI 58)
Sub Not Used: 16 Matthew SYMES(rgk)

Coach: Trevor Morgan
Yellow cards: Joshua Gaspari 22, Cameron Devlin 38, Liam Youlley 64, 67
Red cards: Liam Youlley 67

Referee: Tim Danaskos 8/10
Assistants: Adam Powers and Alex Twomey; Fourth Official: Adam Vainauskas

Ratings and points

Game: 7/10
Pitch: 10/10  (Synthetic)

Players noted: Max Burgess (SFC), Alex Mullen (SFC), 18 Robert Stambolziev (SFC), Nikola Kuleski (SFC), Joshua MacDonald (WSW), Tariq Maia (WSW)