Upsets, thrashings and wonder goals. This FFA Cup has been one of the most thrilling in the cup’s short history and finally, we’re down to the quarterfinals.
Western Sydney’s dream debut A-League season continued as they climbed to second spot with a 2-1 win over Newcastle on Saturday night at Campbelltown Stadium.
Youssouf Hersi and Mark Bridge scored in either half as the Wanderers registered their fifth-straight win, the best streak of any team this season.
The win in front of 10,589 fans lifted the newcomers two points above Melbourne Victory, with the sides to meet at AAMI Park next Saturday.
The Wanderers trail leaders Central Coast by four points.
A change away from their regular home base at Parramatta did little to halt Western Sydney’s momentum, though they were made to work hard by the Jets.
The visitors had the best early chance when they hit the post in the 18th minute.
Sam Gallaway set up the opportunity with a brilliant piece of skill out wide and Emile Heskey looked certain to score only for Nikolai Topor-Stanley to deflect his close-range shot on to the crossbar.
Hersi also squandered an excellent chance in the 25 minute, shooting straight at Mark Birighitti after breaking on goal.
The Wanderers mounted pressure in attack but couldn’t finish a brilliant team move when Bridge was denied by Birighitti’s outstretched foot in the 38th minute.
But Western Sydney were finally rewarded for their dominance just before halftime however when Hersi made the breakthrough.
The Jets failed to clear a Shinji Ono free-kick and Hersi’s shot rebounded off Birighitti and dropped just inside the goal.
The visitors muscled their way into the game in the second half, but there were few genuine chances for either side until the late stages.
Tony Popovic withdrew Hersi and Ono but Bridge provided the spark to put the home side up 2-0 in the 83rd minute.
The striker collected the ball from Jerome Polenz and showed great strength to hold off the challenge of Josh Mitchell and finish brilliantly from a tight angle.
Jets captain Ruben Zadkovich ensured some nervous moments when he scored from outside the box in stoppage time.
There was a heated exchange as Heskey and Ryan Griffiths fought with Ante Covic to get a quick restart but the Jets ran out of time.