The Wanderers remain winless this season after a goalless draw with Central Coast Mariners at Pirtek Stadium on Wednesday night.
The respective coaches handled the short-turn around in contrasting fashion with Tony Popovic making nine changes to the side that lost to Perth Glory on the weekend, with Brendan Hamill and Mateo Poljak the only two to retain their places.
Meanwhile Mariners boss Phil Moss stuck with the same starting XI that fought gallantly back from two goals down to salvage a point at the death against Melbourne City.
The Wanderers had the better opportunities on goal with Vitor Saba showing his class on the ball and linking up well with Tomi Juric who had numerous chances to open the scoring.
As has been their habit in recent weeks the Mariners looked a much more attacking threat after the break with Matt Sim, Nick Fitzgerald and John Hutchinson all having shots on goal from inside the box.
WHAT THEY SAID
“It was a tough game tonight and I thought we kick started our season tonight. Hopefully we can get three points on Saturday. I’m sure we’ll improve each week and be okay.”
“We’ve been trying to build something over the last few weeks. We’ve had some really disappointing results but we drew a line in the sand the last few weeks and kept some clean sheets. We’re heading in the right direction.”
Western Sydney had the best chance of the first-half on the stroke of half-time when Vitor Saba waltzed through the Mariners defence and played Tomi Juric through on goal.
The Wanderers’ No.9 had a clear one-on-one chance but failed to pick his spot with Reddy equal to the task and able to deflect the danger away for a corner.
The resulting set-piece saw Nikita Rukavytsya head the ball towards goal but it was blocked by the congested numbers in the box and the Mariners were able to clear their lines till the break.
OPTA DATA KEY STATS
The Wanderers brought a halt to their five-game losing streak in the domestic competition, while the Mariners failure the find the back of the net meant they’ve still only scored one first-half goal from their six matches this season.
Mark Bridge almost covered himself in glory seconds after being deployed off the bench. The Wanderers frontman getting a goal bound touch on a set-piece but a desperate Liam Reddy was able to bat the ball to safety.
The Wanderers seemed destined to score in injury-time with Tomi Juric and Romeo Castelen both having strong chances but losing their footing at the critical moment.
THE FINAL WORD
The Wanderers will be happy to get their first point of the season but will feel they should of got all three in a match that could have kicked started their season. Tony Popovic will be glad with the way his side controlled the tempo of the match but too often their final effort on goal was undone by players losing their footing.
The Mariners were not without their chances and again looked a different side after the break. Phil Moss will be glad to bank another point but the question remains where are the goals going to come from for the Mariners?