If there was one game that highlighted the best and worst of the A-League this week it was Western Sydney Wanderers' showdown with Brisbane Roar.
With a top six spot on the line, the red and black stepped up big time with Oriol Riera and Chris Ikonomidis on the score sheet as the Wanderers secured a crucial 3-0 win at ANZ Stadium.
Josep Gombau's dominant attacking style is finally reaping some reward with Western Sydney having 28 shots to Roar's 10 on Saturday and actually converting a better fraction of those superior chances.
Scoring the Wanderers third goal with a fine header after a great cross from Raul Llorente, Ikonomidis was a shining light for his side as Riera lead the way up front.
— Chris Ikonomidis (@chrisikonomidis) April 8, 2018
While plenty was originally made of Ikonomidis when he joined Western Sydney on loan from Italian giants Lazio, the 22-year-old Australian has quickly slipped back under the radar.
As Daniel Arzani continues to dominate the headlines, Ikonomidis has put in consistently strong performances away from the limelight.
In a recent piece for Players Voice , he revealed before his Socceroos debut against Macedonia that then coach Ange Postecoglou reassured him with a simple message.
"Chris, all you have think about is getting out there and understanding you have nothing to lose," Postecoglou said.
"Get the ball and go forward. You’re a young player so there’s no expectations on you, you only have things to gain."
That advice has clearly steered Ikonomidis well as he rightly backs his ability and puts the Wanderers within touching distance of a finals appearance.
Ikonomidis has four goals from nine games, and that only tells half the story of his promising performances for the red and black.
Aloisi and Franjic's night to forget
As the Wanderers sprung to life, Brisbane slumped after a surprisingly strong end to their season.
Post-match John Aloisi took some blame for the defeat saying he had to pick a number of players that weren't 100 percent fit.
Ivan Franjic was one Roar player lucky to still be on the field after he somehow escaped a VAR intervention for this shocking challenge on Ikonomidis who was a constant menace for the former Socceroo.
That's a disgrace https://t.co/xkRuRcYqL6
— Paul Ifill (@PaulIfill) April 8, 2018
Just saw this Franjic foul on Ikonomidis again this morning. Referees need to protect players from this sort of thing. Only resulted in a free kick and no card. #WSWvBRI #elbow pic.twitter.com/zvAYfpk9ot
— Chris Jack (@chrisjackis) April 7, 2018
While adjudged a foul on the night, the fact this wasn't deemed worthy of a card by the referee or VAR but Wellington Phoenix's Alex Rufer saw red for kicking out late against Melbourne Victory once again highlights the inevitable inconsistencies of the system.
A night to truly forget for Aloisi, Franjic and Roar who may have just let a finals spot slip through their fingers.
Though they may miss out on a top six spot, both coach and club do deserve some credit for salvaging what could've been a truly horrific season.