Wanderers academy graduate’s first goal in 588 days fuels Western Sydney win over Glory

Check out the highlights from a thrilling match between Western Sydney Wanderers and Perth Glory in the Isuzu UTE A-League.

Western Sydney Wanderers have continued their unbeaten start to the Isuzu UTE A-League season, with full-back duo Jack Clisby and Tate Russell finding the net in a 2-0 victory over Perth Glory on Saturday evening.

Clisby opened the scoring against his former side with a lovely volley just after half-time, before Russell smashed home a second minutes after to wrap up the victory for the Wanderers at CommBank Stadium.

It was Russell’s first goal since returning from a torn ACL, which sidelined him for the entirety of last season, and his first in 588 days (last goal coming on April 2 2022).

Marko Rudan’s side have now taken home eight from a possible 12 points to start the season, taking their record to two wins and two draws heading into the men’s international break.

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Glory – who were without star striker Adam Taggart due to injury – had their chances throughout the contest and put the Wanderers defence under duress on multiple occasions, but were made to pay for their lack of cutting edge.

It means Perth’s struggles on the road continue, having only won one of their last 24 league matches outside of Western Australia (drawn four, lost 19). They currently sit on one win, one draw and two losses to begin the season.

Glory started strongly and it was Bruce Kamau who came close to opening the scoring against his former side, flashing an effort just wide of the post. In the lead-up, Perth had a penalty shout when Daniel Bennie was brought down by Marcelo, but it was waived away by the referee.

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Kamau’s evening ended prematurely, however, going down with a suspected hamstring injury and was replaced by the red-hot Stefan Colakovski.

The Wanderers started to build into the game as the first-half wore on, with Clisby trying his luck from range with a well-hit volley that flew just past the post.

Colakovski’s impact back the other end was immediate and he came close to adding a third goal of the season, forcing a smart save from Lawrence Thomas.

His strike partner David Williams rattled the post with an effort minutes later, before Western Sydney went straight back down the other way and almost found the opener through Marcus Antonsson, who smashed the crossbar with a well-hit strike from the edge of the box.

But the Wanderers wouldn’t be denied again after the break as Josh Brillante fed a lofted pass to Clisby, who beat the challenge from his direct marker in Bennie and volleyed the ball past Cameron Cook at the near post.

Glory responded well and it was Williams who again found himself in space, but the 35-year-old could only turn Johnny Koutroumbis’ cross wide of the mark.

And Western Sydney made them pay, as Clisby’s cross was nodded to the back post by Darryl Lachman, and Russell was there to chest it down and slam it towards goal, which cannoned into teammate Brandon Borrello, who thankfully was standing behind the goal line, meaning the goal stood after a quick VAR check.

With time running out, both Colakovski and Bennie had chances to pull one back, but were unable to spark a late fightback, with the former denied by Thomas and the latter blasting over from close range.

The Talking Point

A moment of friendly fire almost cost Tate Russell his first goal in over a year-and-a-half!

The Wanderers full-back fired a stinging effort at goal, which cannoned into his teammate Brandon Borrello’s chest, who was luckily standing just over the line.

After a nervous few seconds, the goal stood, meaning Russell doubled their lead in the 57th minute – much to the relief of the 24-year-old and the Socceroos attacker!

The Star

Tate Russell, what a story.

The Wanderers full-back has returned in a big way since missing the entirety of last season through a torn ACL suffered just over a month before the campaign got underway in September 2022.

Prior to injury, Russell had emerged from the Wanderers Academy, debuting in the senior side in the 2018-19 season and making 69 appearances, playing under the likes of Markus Babbel, Jean-Paul de Marigny, Carl Robinson and Marko Rudan.

During his rehab and in a show of faith from the Wanderers hierarchy, Russell was awarded with a two-year contract extension and fought his way back into the side in the off-season.

Injuries to full-back duo Gabriel Cleur and Aiden Simmons also opened the door for him to break back into the team and he hasn’t looked back since returning in Round 1 against Wellington Phoenix for his first match since May 2022.

“Coming back from such a long time, you never really know what you’re going to expect in that next year,” Russell told Paramount +.

“To be able to play the games that I have already is quite the privilege, especially for this team, just coming and score.

“My first goal back is such an unreal feeling and now putting ourselves in a good position [ahead of] this break now and then the Derby up next.”

Rudan also paid tribute to Russell and the way he’s battled back from a serious injury in the last few months.

“It’s a great story. I mean, he’s been in this club ever since he was in his nappies, basically,” the Wanderers boss said on Paramount +.

“A real tough one for him, last year in pre-season, he went down with an ACL and he bided his time. He was very professional, he was headstrong as well. We got around him and football’s got a funny way of paying dividends and respecting you, if you respect it.

“It just so happens that both full-backs Gabby Cleur and ‘Simmo’ (Aiden Simmons) went down with an injury in pre-season, and the door opens with someone, and you need to be ready and he’s been ready.

“He now understands that Gabby’s had a full week of training, Simmo’s back for the next game as well. It’s his to lose.

“I’ve got to give a lot of credit for his durability, his persistence, his positivity over the course of the last 12 or 14 months or so and he deserves all the good things that come his way.”

What it means

Western Sydney go into the international break flying high and undefeated to start the season after four games. The Wanderers have been blistering going forward, scoring nine goals and are still yet to concede in any of their three home games.

A Sydney Derby awaits Marko Rudan’s side on the other side of the break, when they come up against Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium on November 25.

Meanwhile, Perth go into the break with plenty of positives. They have been a touch unfortunate to not come away from with more than four points from their opening four games, conceding late goals in their 2-2 draw with Newcastle Jets and 2-1 defeat to Wellington Phoenix.

Alen Stajcic will be hoping to regain Adam Taggart from injury on the other side of the break, when they come up against Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on November 26, as they embark on the second game of a three game road trip.