The Best and Worst of Wanderers vs Brisbane Roar (Rd 4)

A-League 2018/19 Round 4 vs Brisbane Roar 10/11/2018 Glen Willow Regional Sports Stadium, Mudgee
2-2 Draw

We travel way out west to Mudgee to sample some wine and watch some football.

Note that my thoughts are based on watching the game live from the active end at Mudgee.

If you haven’t already, check out Babbel’s post match press conference where he is again brutally honest in his assessment of the team’s performance:

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Best – Away Days
A game of football, 3.5 hours away requiring a night of accomodation? As Wanderers fans, many of us took that as an opportunity for a weekend trip away. Mudgee is known for its wine region and it has been on my list of places to go visit. This game was a good excuse to make the trek out. Going to a pub and catching up with friends before a game. Ah, this is what a gameday is supposed to feel like. A march to the stadium on a closed street. It definitely is game day. I think everyone that travelled to Mudgee enjoyed themself and the weather made the entire weekend perfect. I think I overate, but meh, diet starts tomorrow.

 

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Best – Competitive XI
I was surprised to see Roly dropped completely in this match. It was then confirmed to me that he had a calf injury. This gave Fitzy an opportunity to show his wares. Now after two weeks, it seems Babbel has decided that Sotirio is a bench player to bring on when other wingers get tired. O’Doherty keeps his starting spot and an unchanged backline (as predicted) were ready to face Brisbane for the first time this season.

Best – Front 4 Combining
That opening 20 minutes or so was fire from our attack. Kamau was all over the place (in a good way), Fitzy was linking well with him and Riera and we were pulling Brisbane out of shape in their defensive third. We looked good.
Kamau was unlucky not to score from a lovely over the top through ball by Fitzy, but Riera took the opportunity and backed up his goal from last week. Kamau then earned a penalty allowing Riera to get my hopes up of a first half Riera hattrick that unfortunately never materialised.
A few times though I felt that Fitzy and Kamau need to back themselves and start shooting when they cut into the box. A few times they opted to pass to someone else. Have a crack, force an error or a lucky rebound.

Worst – Not Finishing Off Opponents
This seems to be problem that just won’t go away. We’ve seen it creep into the team’s #mentality a couple years ago. We used to be the most deadliest team in the the second half, and especially the final 15 minutes. Now we seem to be the weakest. I know we came back into the game against Perth, and had a strong second half against Sydney, but when you’re 2-0 up after 15 minutes, the game should be yours. The players took their foot off the proverbial gas and let Roar back into it. The second half we were terrible and Brisbane were pushing for the winner. It didn’t help with AB10 giving away a really really stupid penalty which gifted Brisbane with the equaliser. In the end, it felt like we were lucky to get a point and I’m glad to see some players have posted that they feel like it was a loss. It might mean they’ll try to not let this happen again.

Best – Great Crowd and Initiative
Mudgee was Red and Black. There were banners, flags and posters everywhere. Every second shop front had the game advertised and the pubs were adorned in red and black. The club did good work in the community all week and really made a point to be involved and not just fly in and out for the game only.
A little over 5,000 were in attendance and I genuinely would like to know how many of those were out of towners and regular WSW fans on an away trip (despite it being labelled as our home game).
I was surprised to learn that Ziggler, Bridge and Roly were in attendance in the grandstand. I thought those on the injured list wouldn’t make their way there but apparently that wasn’t the case. All hands on deck to get into the community.

Worst – Worst. Game. Ever
Babbel stated in his post match press conference that this was the team’s worst game this season. “When you’re not going to win, at least not lose” is what he said. Misplaced passes, not winning the 50/50s in the second half and given Brisbane the confidence to equalise and chase a winner.
I did find it interesting that Babbel questions the preparation leading up to this game. He is visibly perplexed why we had a game in a country team which felt like a friendly match, even though it was a league game for points. Not sure why he brought up the heat, because its only going to get hotter Markus…
Reading between the lines, I feel that he probably wasn’t too happy with so many public appearances and community clinics the players attended all week instead of actually preparing for this important match. You can tell he is glad we’ll be at home (finally) for the next game.

Best – International Break Needed
I think Babbel is right in that the International break will be welcomed. It gives the players and the coaching staff to analyse and reflect the first 4 rounds of the league to see what is working and what needs improvement. It also gives Ziggler another 2 weeks to get to full fitness ready for our first real home game of the season against a wounded Newcastle Jets.
For the worst team in the league (allegedly) we are sitting in 5th with 5 points. We could be worse, but I think many WSW fans feel we could be much better. There are glimpses of a decent team here and there, but too many silly mistakes leading to conceding soft goals need to be removed from their game if they want to remain in the top half of the table.

See you space cowboy…

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