Sydney FC have inflicted a 5-0 derby rout to send Western Sydney to their worst A-League defeat in the club’s history.
With Adrian Mierzejewski’s brace and Alex Brosque’s first goal of the season, the Wanderers, undefeated in the last three derbies, waved a sorry goodbye to their recent cross-city dominance at Sydney’s Olympic stadium on Saturday night.
And that was before halftime.
Youngster Lachlan Scott was still to score an own goal and Brandon O’Neill to put the finishing touch on a lop-sided affair that sends Sydney eight points clear at the top and leaves Josep Gombau’s side 17 points adrift in ninth.
Saturday night was a textbook walkover, and Adrian Mierzejewski did the walking. The Polish winger carried flair into every foray and flaunted his astute dead-ball skills before the 36,433 in attendance.
The Wanderers are now eight matches without a win in a drought stretching back to the opening round, their new coach still searching for a maiden triumph after four attempts.
The importance this match for Gombau was palpable in his early verbal shutdowns of assistant Hayden Foxe.
The Spaniard’s selection choices made it rather less obvious.
With Oriol Riera leading the attacking injuries, Gombau opted for Scott up front instead of veteran Brendon Santalab, moved Josh Risdon to the wing and inserted 19-year-old Keanu Baccus into holding midfield.
By 14 minutes the makeshift line-up was suffering as Mierzejewski’s left foot took care of Sydney’s first goal after Vedran Janjetovic parried away David Carney’s shot.
The Johnny Warren Medal contender’s second was a thing of brilliance, winning a foul off Jack Clisby before curling the free-kick over the wall and out of Janjetovic’s reach.
But not before Brosque missed two golden opportunities in quick succession, finally converting a third off a superb team goal featuring one-touch passes and a perfect ball from Bobo that allowed the skipper to skip around Janjetovic.
It was not to be Scott’s night.
The 20-year-old, who had not played a previous minute this season, inexplicably skied the Wanderers’ best first-half chance and then diverted Mierzejewski’s cross into his own net before promptly being replaced by Santalab.
Soon after Michael Zullo was filthy the VAR disallowed his right-foot cracker for a Mierzejewski handball in the build-up.
Nevertheless the whitewash was on, and Janjetovic was called upon time and again, the last line of a defence so effortlessly carved open.
There was nothing he could do about O’Neill’s left-field stunner from acres of space on the edge of the box.
Santalab leathered a speculative shot into the post, Jumpei Kusukami shot wide and Roly Bonevacia came close as the Wanderers hunted a consolation that would never come.
Jets leave Glory heartbroken in the west
Newcastle Jets scored two goals at the death to snatch a 2-1 win over the Glory in Perth.
Glory looked headed for victory courtesy of a 20th-minute strike from Joe Knowles in Saturday night’s match.
But a sweet volley from 19-year-old substitute John Koutroumbis in the 88th minute levelled the scores.
And Glory’s agony was amplified when defender Jeremy Walker scored an own goal in the second minute of injury time.
The double blow stunned the 8,063 crowd, and left Glory languishing in eighth spot following consecutive defeats.
The Jets remain in second spot, five points adrift of ladder-leading Sydney FC.
Newcastle struggled for opportunities for most of the match, and can consider itself lucky to come away with the win.
Koutroumbis made no mistake with his volley after Roy O’Donovan’s header fell to him as he surged into the box.
And Walker could only look on in distress as his attempted clearance from a corner came off his left thigh and rocketed into the back of the net.
Jets goalkeeper Glen Moss pulled off an important fingertip save to deny a looping strike from Glory midfielder Mitch Nichols in the eighth minute.
But the home side were soon on the board courtesy of their two Joes.
Joe Mills set up the opener with a penetrating run down the left and a pin-point cross into the box.
Joe Knowles produced the finish with a neat right-foot strike, giving him his maiden A-League goal in his 12th appearance.
Newcastle introduced O’Donovan in the 58th minute in an attempt to conjure a winner.
But Glory also had an ace up their sleeve in the form of Diego Castro, whose composure was a standout after being sent on in the 67th minute.
Glory defender Alex Grant limped off with a hamstring injury shortly after, and his absence was keenly felt as Newcastle pounced for two late goals
Roar share the points with Phoenix on Gold Coast
Brisbane Roar’s horrid run with injuries continued with star winger Eric Bautheac suffering a hamstring strain in a gloomy 0-0 draw against Wellington Phoenix in Robina.
The Frenchman looked like the only Roar player capable of sparking something in attack on Saturday afternoon but was forced from the field just before half-time after pulling up sore.
His teammates struggled to create much in his absence, despite Roar coach John Aloisi emptying his bench with 20 minutes to go in pursuit of what would have been a second straight victory.
The stalemate was still enough to lift the Roar temporarily into the top six, putting them in a reasonable position with four of their next five matches to be played at home.
But Bautheac’s injury was the last thing they needed given the extent of their casualty ward.
The Roar were already missing Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Brett Holman, Thomas Kristensen, Michael Theo, Luke DeVere and Jade North to injury, while Avraam Papdopoulos has a six-match ban to serve for spitting.
Their best chance fell to Massimo Maccarone, who latched onto a perfect Jack Hingert cross in the 52nd minute but mistimed his header, bouncing it over the crossbar.
Substitute Corey Gamiero had the chance to win it late for Brisbane as he surged on the counter-attack but Wellington gloveman Lewis Italiano closed down his space and blocked his shot.
It was the Roar’s only attempt on target for the whole match.
For the Phoenix, it was a good response after last week’s 3-2 comeback defeat at home to Melbourne Victory.
The visitors dominated possession and territory but could not find a way past goalkeeper Jamie Young, who made five strong saves to keep his side in the contest.
With Lang Park hosting a Paul McCartney concert on the same night, the match was staged on the Gold Coast.
Only 5,192 supporters braved the rainy, stormy conditions to make the trip south for the first A-League clash held at the venue since the demise of Gold Coast United.