FULL TIME: WANDERERS 2, beat MARINERS 0
The Wanderers have inflicted the Mariners’ second consecutive loss at Gosford Stadium, but all anyone will be talking about after this game is the VAR.
Twice in the second half, Mariners players were given yellow cards for challenges, before the referee referred the decision to the VAR and subsequently bumped the charge up to a red card.
It left fans and commentators alike critical - to say the least - of how the system is being used.
While the Mariners were reduced to nine men at full time, and at this stage will also be without the offending players - Brama and McGing - next week against Adelaide.
The referees left the ground to a chorus of boos from locals, while unsurprisingly the criticism continued in the press room from Mariners Coach Paul Okon.
“I just don’t understand it," Okon said.
"If both challenges were violent, I think we would have seen protests from the Wanderers players and bench, they were right in front of it.”
“I can’t logically explain it, other than… you know if you came to this game tonight and you left here no longer in love with football, who could blame you?”
“I don’t want to take anything away from the Wanderers, but yeah, disappointing.”
While Okon said the Mariners will consider challenges if the FFA decides not to review Brama and McGing's automatic suspensions.
Early in the match the Mariners looked a genuine chance of winning, with Hoole taking no less than eight penalties in the first half and Asdrubal, Pain and De Silva all getting big opportunities to score.
They were denied by some good keeping from the Wanderers' glovesman Janjetovic, while some bad defending let them down in the 26th minute, when Santalab capitalized on a cross from Bridge to score from beyond the box.
Santalab then set up Cejudo in the 50th minute for another.
"We were poor in those two moments," Okon said, "but other than that I reckon we could’ve probably handled the ball better in the first half."
"Every time we managed to keep the ball we looked dangerous and created opportunities."
The 0-2 result marks Josep Gombau’s first win as Wanderer’s coach, while it means the Mariners won’t jump into the top four at Adelaide’s expense, after United lost to the Jets 2-1 in Newcastle earlier today.
The Yellow and Navy now risk dropping out of the top six, if Brisbane beat Melbourne Victory tomorrow.
89': CHANCE MARINERS - Rose goes on an ambitious run and takes a shot on an angle just outside the inner rectangle, but it's high. 0-2. SIX MINUTES OF EXTRA TIME.
84': CHANCE. Baccus attempts shot from beyond the Wanderers' box but it's well over the crossbar. SUB WANDERERS. Clisby on for Kusukami.
81: SUB MARINERS. Appiah comes on for Pain.
77': More confusion, another VAR referral! McGing receives yellow card for a low challenge on Baccus. And again it's upgraded to a red card. Mariners down to 9 men. Crowd incredulous.
73': CHANCE - Antony Golec's header from a few metres saved by Janjetovic. 0-2.
72': SUB WANDERERS. Riera comes on for goalscorer Santalab. Other goalscorer Cejudo yellow carded for challenge on Hoole.
68': OFFICIAL CROWD - 7,191 people. SUB WANDERERS. Bonevacia comes off for Kearyn Baccus.
62-65': Confusion here after Brama mounts an illegal challenge on Bonevacia. He's issued a yellow card, before that's upgraded to a red card after VAR. Coach Paul Okon/supporters not happy!
Next minute, Wanderers' Llorente gets a yellow for a challenge on McGing, while for us Asdrubal and Liam Rose are subbed off for Storm Roux and Blake Powell.
60': CHANCE - Asdrubal finds De Silva in the inner rectangle, but Danny's shot just doesn't curl back enough. 0-2.
50': GOAL WANDERERS. Another end-to-end play. Baccus dispossess a Mariners player near our attacking box, and Western Sydney moves it up the field. A great pass on the edge of the box from Santalab sets up Cejudo, and he puts it past the keeper Kennedy. 0-2.
45': SECOND HALF UNDERWAY.
45+1: Wanderers player Risdon yellow carded for a lunging tackle on Pain. Hoole takes another corner which Janjetovic knocks away. It bounces around the box before the siren sounds. Half time.
45': 2 minutes extra time.
42': CHANCE - Again Janjetovic denies us! De Silva flicks it inboard to pain, whose tap is headed for the top left hand corner of the net before the diving goalkeeper knocks it away. 0-1.
37': CHANCE - Hoole with a clever pass to McGing, who curls it into the box looking for De Silva. Once again Janjetovic is there and gets a touch that spoils De Silva's attempt to tap it into the net. 0-1.
26': GOAL WANDERERS. A better corner from Hoole this time, but Janjetovic grabs it again, throws to Mark Bridge, who passes inboard to Santalab. Santa goals with a sweet strike from beyond the box.
Wanderers lead 1-0.
21': Another two corners to Hoole. Wanderers aren't clearing but we aren't capitalizing... 0-0.
18': Great play from De Silva, goes unrewarded...
12': The Wanderers are dominating possession at this stage. They've initiated a strong defensive press which the Mariners are struggling to break.
10': Baro passes from behind the centre line to Hoole, who runs onto the ball just before it reaches the goal line and centres. Wanderers Goalie Janjetovic saves it. 0-0.
5': Hoole takes 3 consecutive corners, all to the near post.
Wanderers' Santalab gets a yellow card for late tackle on Brama.
2': CHANCE - 100-gamer Hoole pounces on Aspropotamitis' pass and charges towards goal. Aspro recovers well and deflects his shot before it gets to the keeper. 0-0.
0': KICK OFF