Western Sydney Wanderers deserved every one of the three points they earned on Sunday with a 3-1 win over Perth Glory at Pirtek Stadium. Brendon Santalab, Aaron Mooy and Mark Bridge scored for the home side, breaking a two-game losing streak and bounding back into second place on the A-League ladder.
Santalab scored the opener after a perfect cross from Bridge, giving the Wanderers a lead just before the half hour. Six minutes later, Mooy doubled the advantage when his free kick deflected off the Perth wall and past a helpless Danny Vukovic. Western Sydney took that 2-0 lead into halftime and looked dominant in doing so.
Shane Smeltz gave the visiting Glory a fighting chance when he poked in a brilliant Chris Harold cross in the 56th minute. Yet Shannon Cole split two defenders in the box and was taken down fifteen minutes later, giving the Wanderers a penalty and ultimately the restoration of a two-goal lead thanks to Bridge. That was enough for the home side to stave off Perth's late advances and win for the first time since the derby on January 11. The three points also send the Wanderers back into second place, though third place Central Coast Mariners do have a game in hand.
The Wanderers will try to make up ground on first place Brisbane Roar in visiting Newcastle Jets on Saturday February 1 at the Hunter Stadium. Perth will be looking for a rebound in hosting suddenly terrible Melbourne Victory at the nib Stadium on Friday night January 31.
WSW Santalab (Bridge) 28;
WSW Mooy 34'
PER Smeltz (Harold) 56'
WSW Bridge (pen) 71'
Western Sydney Wanderers: Covic; Heffernan (Alessi 90'), Topor-Stanley, Beauchamp, Cole; Spiranovic, Mooy; Bridge, Ono, Hersi (Minniecon 82'); Santalab (Haliti 78')
Unused substitutes: Tyson, Trifiro
Perth Glory: Vukovic; Woodcock, Thwaite, Gallas (Clisby 78'), Risdon; Burns, McGarry; Sidnei (Maclaren 67'), C. Edwards (Marinkovic 60'), Harold; Smeltz
Unused substitutes: Duncan, Davies