Late Calver equaliser piles more frustration on Wanderers
A late equaliser from ex-Sydney FC defender Aaron Calver piled more frustration on Western Sydney Wanderers after a 1-1 draw with Western United on Friday evening.
Calver – who joined the Hyundai A-League’s newest club from the Red and Black’s arch rivals during pre-season – came up with a back-post header in the 87th minute to extend the Wanderers’ winless run to seven matches.
The Wanderers last win came in October’s Sydney derby victory over the Sky Blues, and Markus Babbel’s men looked on course for a priceless three points when Patrick Ziegler nodded home the opening goal in the 79th minute after Keanu Baccus had flicked on Nicolai Muller’s corner.
However, Calver’s late goal resulted in a share of the spoils and ensures the Wanderers remain adrift of the top six. United, meanwhile, stay in third position but will be leapfrogged by Adelaide United should the Reds defeat Central Coast Mariners on Sunday.
Prior to kick off, the Wanderers had previously lost five matches in a row - only one time in their history had the club been on a worse run of consecutive defeats.
And although they were bailed out by a super Daniel Lopar save from Panagiotis Kone in the match's opening seconds, the home side enjoyed long spells in the ascendancy in Parramatta. Baccus headed Pirmin Schwegler’s corner straight at Filip Kurto, while Kwame Yeboah fired Mitch Duke’s cutback over the bar in the first half.
The arm-wrestle threatened to burst into life in the second stanza on several occasions. Muller was hauled down by Pain on the hour mark, resulting in Alex Meier’s free kick drawing a parry from Kurto, and the Polish shot stopper gladly saw Muller’s volley sail past the post minutes after.
Lopar denies United early lead
Wanderers gloveman Daniel Lopar has been a standout for the Red and Black this season and the Swiss 'keeper came to the rescue inside the opening seconds.
Lopar stopped Panagiotis Kone from point-blank range after Connor Pain found the Greek international unmarked. It was a decisive save of huge importance - going behind so early in would've ramped up the pressure around Bankwest Stadium, but the Wanderers would go on to dominate possession and territory.
Yeboah skies a big chance
Although the hosts held the majority of possession and saw more sights of goal it took Babbel's side 42 minutes to create the best opportunity of the half. But it was a chance horribly wasted by Kwame Yeboah.
Yeboah - the scorer of Western Sydney's first-ever goal at Bankwest Stadium - had earlier flashed efforts wide of Kurto's goal and spurned this shot far over the crossbar after the forward was picked out by Mitch Duke's barnstorming run and centre.
Ziegler breaks the deadlock
The Wanderers eventually made the breakthrough via an unlikely source.
Ziegler, who was making just his 10th Hyundai A-League start for the Wanderers, made himself the Red and Black's saviour by nodding home Baccus' flick on at the back post.
Calver rescues a point
But the Wanderers' elation would be cut horribly short.
Pain, outstanding again at left wing-back for United, burst up the field and delivered an enticing cross for Calver, who made no mistake and secured a precious away point for United.
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