The Western Sydney Wanderers have ended a week surrounded by turmoil in disappointing fashion, succumbing to the very impressive Wellington Phoenix by a 5-2 result.
The Wanderers endured a difficult week following the outburst of backlash regarding the illegal use of flares by members of the Wanderers support group, the RBB.
Former Sydney FC forward, Blake Powell was the most decisive player on the park, producing an amazing four goal haul. Powell scored his first in the fourth minute with a superb diving header off a well executed Tom Doyle cross.
The Wanderers looked most likely to score after, however constantly failed to deliver any first half goals after Mark Bridge and Romeo Castelen both scuffed their lines off clear goal-scoring opportunities. The Wanderers also lacked intensity within large periods of the game and it proved costly as Wellington's smaller amount of chances were well taken.
Powell doubled his account in the 20th minute after Hamish Watson flicked on another spectacular Doyle cross, for Powell to control and lash home with his left foot into the top left corner.
Calamitous defending allowed Powell to get the better of Scott Jamieson before beautifully dinking the ball over the poorly positioned Andrew Redmayne to secure a 'perfect hatrick' (header, left footed and right footed goals).
Heading into halftime in front of a silent home crowd, the Wanderers were in need of an attacking change and manager Tony Popovic duly responded, bringing on the lethal substitute Brendon Santalab in place of defensive-minded player, Jacob Pepper.
The Wanderers continued their rather frustrating passing display after the resumption of play in the second half and missed some crucial clear-cut chances to reduce the deficit.
Blake Powell astonishingly wasn't finished in his man of the match display, heading Michael McGlinchey's cross into the roof of the net to supposedly put the result beyond the grasp of the Wanderers.
Western Sydney weren't ready to lie down however, with a thunderbolt from in-form Mitch Nichols sailing into the top right corner of the net to restore faint hope in the hearts of the Wanderers faithful.
Mark Bridge added to the goal-fest sliding his shot beneath Glen Moss to lift his season tally to nine alongside Nichols.
In the end, it was never the Wanderers' day, with Peter Green awarding Wellington a penalty early in added time and giving young Jonathan Aspropotamitis, his marching orders with a red card before McGlinchey dispatched home Wellington's fifth of the game.
The absence of the vital Spanish trio, Andreu, Alberto and Dimas had a large impact on the Wanderers performance, as they lacked the key passing accuracy and composure in general play that they so desperately needed in the match.
Blake Powell more than doubled his season's goal tally from 3 to 7 and outlined his importance to the Wellington side in place of the injured Roy Krishna.
The result ultimately means that since the Wanderers' seven game win streak ended after Round 10, their last nine matches have produced three wins, three draws and three losses. They now sit one point behind the Brisbane Roar who have scraped to the top following a home draw with the Newcastle Jets.
The Wellington Phoenix finally ended a string of poor results in a nine-game winless streak, while still remaining in ninth place. This comprehensive performance allows the side to gain much more confidence ahead of their late season fixtures.
Western Sydney face their rivals, Sydney FC on the 20th of February, while Wellington head to Newcastle earlier in the afternoon.
Wellington Phoenix 5 (Blake Powell 4', 20', 33', 71', Michael McGlinchey (pen) 90') defeated.
Western Sydney Wanderers 2 (Mitch Nichols 75', Mark Bridge 84') at Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta.