FFA Cup Quarter Final vs Blacktown City- 21/09/2017 Lily Homes Stadium
Wanderers 2-2 (4-2 on penalties)
Welcome to another edition of the Best and Worst series. This time its the FFA Cup Quarter Final match away to Blacktown City where the Wanderers did it the hard way to progress to the semi finals.
All my opinions are based on what I saw on the night at the ground but I’ll try and keep the Best:Worst ratio as even as possible.
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Worst – Big names missing
I was a little disappointed in not seeing Alvaro Cejudo listed on the team sheet. I thought we’d see him on the bench to get 20 minutes at the end of the match. I know he picked up a virus on the weekend prior to the Bentleigh Greens match which knocked him around a bit. Apparently he played the first half last week against St George Budapest. Still, its disappointing the fans haven’t seen him in action yet. The synthetic pitch may have played a part in Popa’s decision. Santalab and Herd were also missing, which makes it 2 FFA Cup games in a row that Santa has not been named.
Best – Reira slots it home
Riera missed from the spot last game and I was a little nervous he would miss again when he stepped up in the 3rd minute after Jumpei was clumsily fouled in the box. Instead the marquee took his time and waited for the goalkeeper to commit before slotting it home down the middle. That’s 3 goals from 3 competitive games for him.
— Westfield FFA Cup (@FFACup) September 20, 2017
Best/Worst – Dominate first half, no more goals
This is one of those annoying things Wanderers fans are getting used to seeing over the last couple of seasons. Dominate a team and have nothing to show for it. We had our chances to be up 4-0 at half time, yet we went into the break only 1-0 ahead due to the aforementioned penalty.
Worst – One chance, one goal
Classic football. You could see Blacktown slowly take hold of the match in the 2nd half and I remarked to those around me that I wouldn’t be surprised to see them score with one chance. Before you knew it, they got into the box and scored. I’m pretty sure it was their first real attack. It all came from WSW losing possession at the edge of the box and BC hitting a long diagonal ball to a free man.
Worst – Winging it wrong
The above goal, WSW were caught out with a long diagonal ball over the top the wing. It happened all night. Clisby was caught out of position so many times and there was acres of space behind him which was exploited time and time again. Every WSW supporter at the ground saw it and their frustration grew more and more each time our defence was caught out.
Throw in Sotirio and Jumpei’s decision making in the front third – opting to stand on the ball instead of crossing first time as one example – and we got even more annoyed.
Worst – Toothless and predictable in attack
It seemed at times we were trying to walk it in and were playing a bit too cute. Instead of just getting the job done, there were low percentage passes in and around the box being played, players being flat footed or just not on the same wavelength. We are predictable. We were all excited when Roly Bonevacia signed but has he been told he isn’t allowed to shoot from outside the box? There were countless times he could have done so but he opted for a pass to a static Riera instead. The final ball was lacking all night and frustrations mounted as the game wore on.
Best – Aspro
One of the highlights of the match was seeing Aspro named in the squad in place of Captain Cornthwaite. I think the Centre Back pairing of Aspro and Thwaite weren’t the problem last night. Aspro is obviously lacking game time though. Again, the synthetic pitch may have played a part in some players, like Cornthwaite being left out, but we have the young guys waiting for their chance.
Worst – Bad defending
Despite the above, a tap in for Blacktown in the 100th or so minute was inexcusable from a Wanderers perspective. Watching the replay and everyone was ball watching and got drawn to the left defensive wing. Risdon never looked over his shoulder and went towards the pack in the centre of the box leaving a free man with the easiest goal of the night. The momentum was in Blacktown’s favour and for a team that has hardly conceded in preseason, this was outright disappointing.
Worst – Roly injured?
Hopefully it isn’t too bad, but towards the end of the match Roly Bonevacia went down with what looked to be a groin injury. He carried on for a few minutes but had to be subbed off. Hopefully it was a minor sprain but I doubt he’ll play in the Melbourne City friendly in the coming days.
Best – Scott gets another chance
Roly being subbed off forced Popa to do the unthinkable and put on another striker. We were chasing the game but one wonders if he was ever going to put the young striker on or not. More minutes for Lachlan Scott and had a few half chances to get the equaliser after we went down in extra time.
His penalty in the shootout was clinical which kept the pressure on Blacktown City.
Best – Risdon + Riera = Goal
Again. I questioned during the game why we persisted on going down the left during every attack when we have Risdon on the right who’s balls into the box are miles ahead of Clisby’s. When we finally went down the right and Risdon got forward, he put in a good ball into the box and again, Riera was there to head home for the equaliser.
Riera gets his brace, 4 goals in 3 competitive games and Risdon gets 2 assists.
Worst – The hard way
We should have beaten Wellington in normal time and we should have beaten Blacktown City by half time. But typically, we do things the hard way. Penalties can go in favour of either team but the job got done in the end. It was hard for me to celebrate because the whole night was one of frustration. There is a suggestion that since we’re still in preseason that Popa is flogging them hard in training. We’ve had heaps of games this preseason so I’m not sure if I buy that excuse. The A-League season starts in 2 weeks. We need to get maximum points in the opening rounds for once.
Best – Penalty win
First penalty shootout win for the club. There are positive signs after all. Every penalty was clinical and Riera put his 2nd away for the night. The lifesaver was Gibbs missing the first which took the pressure off right from the get go. Vedran saving the second basically handed WSW the win.
Best – Home Semi Final vs Adelaide
FFA were never going to have a Sydney Derby Semi Final, especially since the dates for the games are midweek either side of the Round 3 derby. The next best result was staying at home and we got that. It means the team still doesn’t leave NSW until Round 6.
— WS Wanderers FC (@wswanderersfc) September 21, 2017
Worst – Cops causing trouble
Something off field related. As always some of the active supporters like to mosh for fun during chants. All were having a good time. The support marshals were there laughing too. Until a handful of police officers thought it would be a good idea to storm the area and instigate a scene. It makes no sense to me. If you observe properly you can see there is no violence and its a bunch of over eager mates enjoying themselves on a cold night. What is the point of the supporter marshals if the cops completely bypass them and try to throw their weight around in the midst of a friendly mosh? Chinese whispers during the commotion were that they thought they saw flare smoke which was clearly just dust from the garden we were standing in. Surely that can’t be it can it?
Best – Local population
Shout out to the (possibly drunk) local woman in the shadow of her house ranting and raving to everyone walking past after the game as they went to their cars. Complaining that every Wednesday and Saturday this happens and its her street and go and park somewhere else. Blacktown City FC have only been around for over 60 years…
Never change Blacktown.