Three memorable moments from your club's 2018/19 season: Western Sydney Wanderers

Teething problems - that's one way of describing year number one of the Western Sydney Wanderers under the tutelage of ex-Liverpool and Bayern Munich defender Markus Babbel.

But while Babbel's squad often flitted from one disaster to the next in the form of late collapses and injury nightmares, the Red and Black still managed to come out of 2018/19 optimistic about the future.

And with the Wanderers returning to the new Bankwest Stadium at their Parramatta home next season older and wiser from last campaign's roller-coaster rider - with some impressive new recruits in tow - the glory days could be set to return for Western Sydney.

But for now, let's take a look back at three of the club's most memorable moments from 2018/19.

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Elrich’s last-minute equaliser against Perth

Tarek Elrich’s 95th-minute equaliser against Tony Popovic’s Premiers-elect did not, like many last-gasp efforts of its genre, bear dramatic ramifications for the seasons of the Wanderers or Perth Glory.

However, few goals sparked wilder celebrations for Western Sydney fans, who endured a roller-coaster 2018/19 campaign, than the defender’s stoppage-time strike back in February.

One of the three inaugural players Popovic signed for the Red and Black’s debut season back in 2012/13, Elrich’s curling effort was the very last throw of the dice at Spotless Stadium, one which snuck underneath the dive of Glory keeper Liam Reddy, and ruined what would have been a successful homecoming for the former AFC Champions League-winning coach.

It was also a thoroughly merited moment in the sun for Elrich. He had only played 121 minutes for Adelaide United the season before after recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament rupture sustained in 2017 but became the pillar of the Wanderers defence last season.

WATCH: Elrich steals a point for the Wanderers at the death

Riera's wonder-goal in rout of Brisbane

Markus Babbel’s side were at their best in March’s 4-1 trouncing of Brisbane Roar, a rare night in 2018/19 where the Wanderers ruthlessly dispatched the opportunities they created.

Roly Bonevacia and Mitch Duke – who cancelled out an opener from Dylan Wenzel-Halls - tore Brisbane apart at Suncorp Stadium, but it was Spanish striker Oriol Riera who stole the show.

The ex-La Liga striker ended his two-season stint in Western Sydney with 25 goals in 49 matches, and arguably none were sweeter than his emphatic volley that regained the lead for the Wanderers.

Riera sealed a double five minutes later, and Bonevacia iced the impressive outing in the 90th minute.

WATCH: Riera's wonder goal against Brisbane

Mitch Duke’s impact

It took just 21 seconds for Duke to score on his Hyundai A-League return against Newcastle Jets having put pen to paper for the Wanderers in January, and the four-year stint he spent honing his craft in the J-League helped the club finish the season with a far sunnier outlook.

That glanced header against the Jets was one of four goals the former Central Coast Mariner scored for Babbel’s men in 11 appearances, earning him a call-up to Graham Arnold’s Caltex Socceroos squad as an injury replacement for Chris Ikonomidis in June’s friendly against Korea Republic.

Duke instantly became a leadership figure for a young Wanderers team on low confidence, and he could be a key man in reversing the club's fortunes in 2019/20.

WATCH: Duke's flexibility across the front line will help the Wanderers kick on next season
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