As 2019 draws to a close, we reflect on the first 12 games of our A-League journey and revisit some proud moments in green and gold history.
United end the calendar year in the top three. It’s been a strong start for such a new club.
After just eight pre-season games, the Green and Black kicked off their historic first season in Australia’s elite domestic competition. Here’s a brief recap of the story so far.
Round 1: History is made in New Zealand
October 13, 2019. An historic date.
And for those who were at a pristine Westpac Stadium in the New Zealand capital, a day you can tell your grandkids about.
Not even a bus that broke down the previous day or an astonishing 10 minutes of stoppage time could put a crimp in the Green and Black’s dream debut.
Besart Berisha, who else, with the history-making first goal set up by United’s superb wingbacks Pain and Risdon.
Robust defending late on and into stoppage time saw the visitors through for an emotional first-ever three points.
Round 2: The first home game and a Kone banger
Geelong was the venue for another historic day: the first home game. Against Perth Glory – the reigning Premiers – it was looking promising after a Pana Kone cracker from outside the box curled past Liam Reddy.
But the reigning premiers equalized to share the points. Unbeaten after two for the Green and Black and didn’t the home fans make some noise as the Western Service Crew also made their home debut.
Round 3: The one that got away
A red card to Melbourne City late in the game and at 1-1 hopes were high of another three points after Besart Berisha’s go-ahead penalty.
But a poacher’s effort on the break from Socceroo Jamie Maclaren consigned the hosts to their first loss of the season.
Onto another Melbourne derby next week against Victory…
Round 4: The night WUFC made Australia sit up and take notice.
Wow. That’s the only word to describe a night that will live long in green and black memory.
Under the roof in front of over 20,000 fans, United recovered from conceding twice in the opening 10 minutes to win 3-2 against the A-League powerhouse.
Emotions were high at game’s end, after one of the season’s most memorable games.
Round 5: Appiah-Kubi’s headline-grabbing goal
After the emotion of “that night at Marvel” Mark Rudan’s men were back in Geelong for the arrival of Markus Babbel’s Wanderers.
Andrew Durante’s power header put the hosts back on parity after Mitch Duke’s early goal.
But it was striker Kwabena Appiah-Kubi who stole the headlines with a superb winner against his an A-League club he’d joined seven years earlier.
Another win, 2-1, to the Green and Black as they sat proudly in the top three.
Round 6: Jets shoot down Green and Black
After the highs of the previous two weeks, Newcastle Jets shot down United with a 1-0 win in Geelong.
Round 7: Domination in Gosford but no points
United’s first trip outside Melbourne since Round 1 and despite dominating the stats, a deflected goal to the Mariners gave the hosts a 1-0 win.
Two tough losses.
Round 8: Champions show their class
Two goals to Sydney FC just before the break was too much for Western United, who despite a strong second half couldn’t drag the contest back.
A 2-0 loss at home but a chance for redemption a week later against United’s big Victorian rivals.
Round 9: Victory derby II in Geelong: back to winning ways
Victory wanted revenge for round 4 and it started well for them with Andrew Nabbout’s excellent early strike.
But in a stunning comeback to rival round 4, three goals before the break had the hosts in the driving seat. Berisha with a double and a Kone volley had the green and black 3-1 up at the break.
And a professional display in the second stanza as the heat told sealed the points with an eye-catching 3-1 result.
Back to winning ways as Brisbane loomed…
Round 10: More smiles, this time in the Sunshine State
Brisbane. Another first with United playing in the Queensland capital for the first time.
Roar’s post-match conduct coming under scrutiny but the Green and Black didn’t care, three more points after a superb, professional display in a 2-0 win. Goals to Berisha and a first in green and black from Connor Pain.
Round 11: Calver’s sensational equalizer at Bankwest
At the amazing home of Western Sydney Wanderers, Bankwest Stadium, United again showed their resilience fighting back from a late goal conceded to draw 1-1. Aaron Calver with his first for the club with a superb header as the Green and Black remain in the top three.
Round 12: Ballarat backs the Green and Black with a big crowd
The final game of the calendar saw a big crowd at Ballarat’s Mars Stadium (over 5,000) enjoy an entertaining clash in hot conditions.
The result didn’t go United’s way with a 3-1 loss but Ballarat’s historic first official A-League match was deemed a success.
As the year ends, Western United remain firmly in the top four after 12 games.
Even with all three byes to come, it’s been an excellent achievement for a new club.
Onwards and upwards in 2020, starting with this Friday night (Jan 3) at AAMI Park against another top-four side, Melbourne City.
See you there as we begin writing a new chapter in green and gold history.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Western United’s next home game is against the Central Coast Mariners on January 19 at GMHBA Stadium, Geelong.
CLICK HERE to buy tickets.
CLICK HERE to become a Western United member.