Western Sydney Wanderers proved too strong for the AIS in Canberra in Round 15 of the National Youth League claiming a 4-1 victory over the hosts.
The Wanderers, who were one off the bottom of the table coming into the match, breathed new life into their finals hopes as they clinically punished any AIS errors to take home three valuable points.
The visitors took the lead just 35 seconds into the match after some a horrendous error from AIS goalkeeper Lucas Spinella. He miscued a routine backpass, which allowed Wanderers striker Joseph Gibbs with the simplest of tasks of rolling the ball into an empty net with his first touch of the contest.
Western Sydney was looking hungry for more and they duly doubled their advantage in the 10th minute. From the AIS point of view it was another soft goal as full-back Reece Caira dribbled down the left flank and cut infield before planting a finish past Spinella at the near post.
The AIS gradually came to terms with the pace and centre-forward Marc Marino was desperately unlucky to see a glancing header off a Marc Ochieng cross graze the outside of the post with Wanderers' number one Aaron Liddell frantically scrambling across goal.
Marino went close again moments later, latching onto a precise through ball from Alexander Gersbach but dragging his left-footed shot across the face of goal.
The AIS continued their good work after the break as they looked for a way back into the contest, however it was the Wanderers who found that fortune favoured them as they increased their lead to 3-0 fourteen minutes after the resumption.
Jake McGing made the inroads down the wing and sent in a vicious low centre that defender Rocco Pizzata could only deflect past Spinella for an own goal.
Facing a three-goal deficit the AIS made some changes and finally found a way through the Wanderers defence as Anthony Kalik cracked a thunderous drive beyond the dive of substitute goalkeeper Thomas Manos whose first involvement was to pick the ball out from the back of his net, less than 60 seconds after donning the gloves.
Manos was involved again with 20 minutes to play as he rushed from goal to smother a Dylan Smith shot as the AIS searched for the goal that would give them some hope of salvaging an unlikely draw.
But the Wanderers have some impressive young talent in their ranks and they looked dangerous on the counter. And it was on one such break that the visitors made the game safe at 4-1.
Daniel Barac sent the ball wide and another superb cross was swept into the net from close range by McGing to seal a fine result for the Wanderers.
AIS 1 (Anthony Kalik 63’)
Western Sydney Wanderers 4 (Joseph Gibbs 1’, Reece Caira 10’, Rocco Pizatta (og) 59’, Jake McGing 76’)
AIS: 30. Lucas Spinella, 5. Matthew Schmidt, 6. Matthew Ntoumenopoulos (15. Liam Youlley 57’), 7. Steve Kuzmanovski, 11. Marc Marino, 12. Marc Ochieng, 16. Jordan Pudler (10. Dylan Smith 62’) , 17. Anthony Kalik, 18. Alexander Gersbach (9. Todd Norris 57’), 21. George Timotheou, 23. Rocco Pizzata
Western Sydney Wanderers: 1. Aaron Liddell (20. Thomas Manos 62’), 2. Alastair Quinn, 3. Jacob Williams, 4. James Baldacchino, 5. Reece Caira, 6. Zachary Mackenzie (14. Jayden Koulizakis 46’), 7. Nicholas Olsen (13. Mark Cindric 62’), 8. Yianni Perkatis, 9. Joseph Gibbs (12. Daniel Barac 62’), 10. Jake McGing, 11. Zakeriya Elrich
Yellow Cards: 6. Matthew Ntoumenopoulos, 7. Steve Kuzmanovski, 17. Anthony Kalik (AIS), 5. Reece Caira (Western Sydney Wanderers)