With the 2022/23 A-Leagues season drawing to a close, Western United can reflect on a campaign full of ups and downs and celebrate a number of special moments.
While the season didn’t go completely according to plan for United’s Isuzu UTE A-League Men squad, there was still plenty to celebrate over the course of the campaign.
From young players shining to spectacular goals and big rivalry wins, United can reflect on the positives from this season and look ahead to a bigger and better campaign in 2023/24.
Boxing Day triumph over Melbourne Victory with 10 men
Coming out of the FIFA World Cup break, United was looking to build on a 1-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers heading into a Boxing Day battle against Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park.
After an even opening, the game threatened to break open when Nikolai Topor-Stanley was sent off just after the half hour mark.
But the Green and Black kept its cool with the numerical disadvantage and took an unlikely lead on the stroke of half-time as Josh Risdon rose to meet James Troisi’s corner with his head at the back post.
John Aloisi’s men defended superbly throughout the second half to hold onto the win, securing another big three points against its rivals.
Alessandro Diamanti sparkles in Hobart
Match tied at 0-0, 86 minutes on the clock. Who better to call upon to provide a piece of magic than Alessandro Diamanti.
Western United’s captain came off the bench and within six minutes produced one of the greatest pieces of individual brilliance ever seen in the Green and Black shirt to give the side a win over Sydney FC.
Taking one touch to get the ball out of his feet, Diamanti barely needed to look up to know exactly where he was, exactly where the goal was and exactly how to put the ball in the back of the net.
With one swing of his magical left boot, Diamanti sent the ball sailing over Andrew Redmayne’s head and into the net from just inside the halfway line before wheeling away in delirious celebration
Noah Botic’s first ever professional goal
After making his first professional start in that match against Sydney, Noah Botic continued his development as a senior player and started once more against Adelaide United in early February.
Having come close to scoring his maiden professional goal in previous weeks, Botic looked menacing against the Reds and found himself in the perfect position just before half-time.
Botic was on hand in the penalty area to meet Neil Kilkenny’s cross with a deft header, flicking the ball beyond Joe Gauci just before the Adelaide goalkeeper arrive to punch clear.
The No.38’s celebration was a special outpouring of emotion for a moment that seemingly kickstarted his breakout season, as the young gun went on to win the side’s Golden Boot award with six goals across the season.
First away win in Adelaide since Season 1
Needing a win with three matches to go, Western United faced an improbable task in the form of an away trip to face Adelaide United again.
Not only were the Reds in the midst of a 12-game unbeaten run, but United had not beaten Adelaide at Coopers Stadium for three years and would have to break its hoodoo to secure a win.
Aloisi’s side performed admirably throughout the 90 minutes and took the lead just before the break after a well-worked move culminated in Connor Pain’s close-range finish.
The Green and Black came close to finding a second before Adelaide increased the pressure late on, but some heroic defending ensured United would hold on to claim a significant victory.