On a lovely Saturday evening up in the coast, 5,059 spectators were lucky enough to witness Matt Simon at his finest. By looking at the crowd, at least 1,000 of those were Wanderers fans.
Matt Simon you ask? Yes Matt Simon! Matty ‘Break Yer Legs’ Simon kept some of that angst he held on to during his Sydney FC days while versing the Western Sydney Wanderers.
Props to Babbel who decided to play Greenwood in goals, with no announcement of where Vedran Janjetovic was, I’m sure he was just a little under the weather, no need to speculate. The boys from the West also had Mark Bridge on the bench who was preparing to appear for his 250th game which is a blessing for anyone to play for Wanderers for such a long time!
It was a moderate start to the game with a few strong challenges. Gallifuoco got involved early on as he just lets Clisby know he’s there with a kind tap that brings him down. Within the first 20 minutes we saw a large quantity of corners, with both teams wanting to win this game.
Both teams with little love taps here and there, it is Jack Clisby who receives the cheese in the 27th minute from a charming challenge on Kamau.
Only 5 minutes later Brendan Hamill too receives a yellow and is very fortunate to still be on the pitch after a dangerous challenge on O’Neill just outside of the box. Matty ‘Break Yer Legs’ Simon steps up to take the free kick. Matty goes for a low, strong ball in which tricks the jumping wall and finds its way to the back of the net. The wall was probably just practicing their dance routine for next weeks end of season’s party, no biggie.
The second half kicks off with Mahazi trying from distance but missing the goal, very uncharacteristic from Mahazi.
In the 51st minute, keeper for the night, Greenwood, gets much of the man and less of the ball as he comes out for a save and concedes a penalty. Greenwood is also shown a yellow card for his miscalculation. Again, Matty Simon steps up to take the kick and again he slots it home for the Mariners. Unfortunate for young Greenwood as he did jump the correct way but could not save the angst of that kick. I’m sure Janjetovic would have definitely saved that and not done anything stupid at all.
A few minutes later, Jack Clisby on corner duties, finds Rowles’s head as he pulls away from Elrich who finds an opportunity of an empty back post to put it in the back of the net. We shouldn’t be too judgemental of the lack of man on the post, I’m sure it just wasn’t part of their game plan.
The Wanderers trail 3-0 so what best than a triple sub from the manager. We see three key players taken off and replaced by Bridge, Majok and Baccus.
Fortunately for the red and black, Melling has a lapse in judgement and fouls Mahazi in the box in which the Wanderers are awarded a penalty. Mr 250, Mark ‘King’ Bridge, steps up to take the penalty and in true Mark Bridge style, gives the Wanderers fans something to smile about to make it 3-1.
As we thought the game’s aggression had slowed down, we witnessed a nauseating challenge from Kye Rowles who slides into Alex Baumjohann with both feet raised and studs into the back of his legs. The referee only saw a yellow in it but thankfully the delightful creation that is VAR overturned this yellow and gave Rowles a red to watch the remainder of the match from the dressing room. Who are we to comment on the inability of the referee who was having a pretty good night other than this lapse? Maybe he was thinking about dinner.
The Wanderers attempt to take advantage of the Mariners one man handicap however are unable to do so. The thousand Wanderers spectators are forced to head home after witnessing their team concede twice to Matt Simon and the 21 thousand viewers at home can’t believe they just saw Matt Simon score a double. The 3-1 win will do great things for Stajcic’s contract proposal and the 3-1 loss will only build character for the Wanderers.
By Rose Valente