Western Sydney Wanderers captain Mitch Duke was once again the difference in a Sydney Derby as his late headed goal handed his side a 1-0 win over Sydney FC at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Friday night.
A Duke header was all that separated the two sides in Round 3 and this time the story followed the same plot, as the Wanderers soaked up a barrage of Sky Blue pressure to score late in the contest and hand their bitter rivals a second defeat in as many games this season.
A goalless first half was not without its exciting moments as both sides stuck to their individual game plans to fashion a number of chances at either end.
Adam le Fondre was first to threaten the visitor's goal with a sharp turn and shot which flew over the bar; then it was Nicolai Muller's turn to try and open accounts down the other end with two chances in quick succession.
His first shot was blocked by Brattan but nobody could get close to his second attempt from long range which dipped late to cannon off the crossbar and out for a goal kick.
There were chances for both sides late on in the half as Duke headed an unmarked attempt wide, and just moments later Sydney fashioned their best chance of the half when le Fondre floated a perfect cross to Kosta Barbarouses at the back post, who fell backwards when guiding a volley toward goal which failed to hit the target.
The Sky Blues moved well into the ascendancy in the second half as they created a number of chances but the Wanderers stayed solid in defence, unwilling to let the hosts establish a worthy advantage.
But with less than fifteen minutes to play the Wanderers began to forge the better of the chances; Simon Cox took too many touches in the box to waste what seemed a certain goal, then Redmayne denied Jordan O'Doherty from long range before another stop minutes later from Muller running free into the box.
The visitors were threatening to break the Sky Blues' resolve and eventually the goal came through their captain Duke, who rocked back to nod a perfectly weighted header into the bottom right corner of goal with ten minutes left to play.
A late red card to Daniel Georgievski for a cynical kick-out at the face of Sydney substitute Marco Tilio fired up the home crowd and gave the Sky Blues the advantage in the final stages, but much like in their Round 3 clash the Wanderers were able to hold on to shock the league-leaders and continue their ascent toward a place in the Hyundai A-League Finals Series.
Le Fondre with the early sighter
Sydney FC dominated first half possession with Luke Brattan looking particularly comfortable on the ball, and it was the Sky Blues midfielder who picked the Wanderers' defensive lock to provide le Fondre an early sighter on goal which he ultimately spurned.
Le Fondre gathered the ball with a sharp turn and fired a strike on goal which was always rising over the bar.
Muller rattles Redmayne's crossbar
Allowed far too much time to receive the ball and turn, Muller almost took advantage of the defensive lapse when he struck a curling effort off the crossbar.
Redmayne was alert to the danger but couldn't get near the attempt, saved only by the height of the shot which ensured the scores stayed level - but only just.
Baumjohann mis-hit causes Lopar trouble
Baumjohann almost caught Lopar off guard looking to curl a cross to the back post; the lobbed attempt forced Western Sydney's goalkeeper to scramble back and tip the ball over the bar.
Duke wins it for the Wanderers
Cometh the hour, cometh the man.
When his side needed him most, Western Sydney's captain arrived to head home a cross from Tate Russell to give the visitors a shock lead.
Duke had it all to do with the ball drifting behind him, but his nodded effort back across goal was perfectly placed as it stumped Redmayne in Sydney's goal and dropped into the bottom right corner.
Brisbane Roar v Western Sydney Wanderers
Friday, 6 March
Kick off: 7.30pm local, 8.30pm AEDT
Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC
Saturday, 7 March
Kick off: 7.30pm AEDT
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