Wanderers thrash Reds 6-1 in A-League
Western Sydney Wanderers celebrate (AAP)
By Rob Forsaith
Western Sydney recorded the most impressive win of their short A-League existence, breaking the shackles and handing Adelaide United a 6-1 shellacking at Parramatta Stadium.
After 11 weeks of looking like a side capable of grinding triumphs, low-scoring draws and little more, the Wanderers banged in three goals before halftime to seal their third victory on the trot.
Striker Mark Bridge, sidelined from the side's past two wins, slotted a hat-trick including a cracking effort in the second half that curled into the top right corner.
To put the rout into perspective, the expansion franchise had scored a total of eight goals prior to the match and it was the first time they tallied more than two goals in a game.
Rather than go into their shell and protect the lead after the break, Western Sydney proceeded to embarrass Adelaide, a side also renowned for their defence that trailed league-leading Central Coast by one point at the start of round 12.
Japanese star Shinji Ono, who helped create two of his side's first-half goals, found the back of the net from a sharp chance in the 52nd minute before Bridge completed his hat-trick four minutes later.
More goals looked on the cards for the next 10 minutes as Reds goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic worked overtime to halt the red-and-black blitzkrieg.
The visitors struggled to complete basic passes in defence under the immense pressure of the Wanderers, who were dismissed as likely wooden spooners at the start of the season after their rushed entry to the league.
However, Wanderers coach Tony Popovic ended the carnage soon after when he brought off Ono and Dino Kresinger in the space of five minutes.
Ono and Kresinger had combined beautifully for the Wanderers, typified by the latter's goal in first-half stoppage time after an Ono one-two put him through.
The pace of Dutchman Youssouf Hersi was also pivotal in the thumping, having released the pair and Bridge on countless occasions.
With Western Sydney minus their two most potent attackers, the spark went out of the game and Adelaide attacking midfielder Dario Vidosic slipped past the hosts' imperious defence and found the back of the net in the 68th minute.
As cheers of 'we want six' rang out around the crowd of 9,056, substitute Joseph Gibbs brought them to their feet in the 90th minute when he fired truly.
The only sour point for Popovic, whose charges climbed to third on the ladder to trail the Reds by only six points, was a leg injury to defender Adam D'apuzzo who was taken off prematurely in the 35th minute.