Can the Wanderers sneak into the top six?
Heading into Friday night’s clash with Wellington Phoenix, there wasn’t many people expecting Western Sydney Wanderers to get the result to help them mount a charge for the top six.
Jean-Paul de Marigny’s troops hasn’t win in their last four matches and were coming up against a Phoenix outfit in form and desperate for the points to consolidate second spot on the ladder.
There hopes took another blow when the influential Nicolai Muller was poleaxed by Louis Fenton on 20 minutes, stretchered from the pitch heavily concussed.
Thankfully the German didn’t need to go to hospital, suffering a heavy concussion, badly cut lip and a swollen cheekbone.
It was his substitute Kwame Yeboah that turned out to be the hero, scoring with a classy header 17 minutes from time to secure a priceless three points.
Yeboah has been the player that has threatened to explode since joining the Red and Black midway through last season, but has struggled for consistency.
But the 26-year-old showed just how devastating he can be in an eye-catching, man-of-the-match display at Bankwest Stadium.
The victory has propelled the Wanderers up to eighth spot, four points behind sixth-place Adelaide United but with a game in hand.
If they can win their remaining three matches – against Perth Glory, Western United FC and Melbourne Victory – it might just be enough to secure finals football.
“That’s our goal,” Yeboah told Fox Sports post-match.
“We’re taking every game as it comes and not looking to the future. We’re just concentrating on the next [game].
“We’ve worked hard for these three points so we’re very happy.”
While there was joy for the Wanderers, it was nothing but disappointment for the Phoenix who just never got going after a bright start that saw David Ball hit the woodwork inside four minutes.
Their chances of victory evaporated 25 minutes from the end when defender Luke DeVere was shown a red card after two bookable offences.
Phoenix Skipper Steven Taylor had no complaints over the result, telling Fox Sports:
“We’ve got no arguments, [the Wanderers] were the better side on the night.
“We have to regroup and look at that, have a look at the mistakes and try and put that to bed.
“We were too slow in our build-up play. We just didn’t make our passes like we normally do.”
Wellington’s next match comes on Wednesday, August 5 when they take on Brisbane Roar at Bankwest Stadium. Kick-off is 6pm AEST.