Hyundai A-League Season 6

All White condemns Countrymen
to another road loss
By Jeremy Ruane
with the compliments of

A-League 2010/2011 - Round 22
5pm, Sunday 9 January, 2011 - Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Central Coast Mariners FC 1
(Michael McGlinchey 41')

Wellington Phoenix FC 0

All Whites midfielder Michael McGlinchey scored the only goal of the game to go with his man-of-the-match display as Central Coast Mariners downed Wellington Phoenix 1-0 in front of 6,844 fans at Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford, on the evening of Sunday January 9.

Still buzzing from the confidence-boosting battering they handed Melbourne Victory four days earlier, the visitors hit the ground running from the moment Matthew Breeze blew his whistle, and could well have had a couple of goals in the net inside the first seven minutes.

Just sixty seconds into what was a keenly fought contest, Mathew Ryan produced a superb save to thwart a first-time drive from Dylan MacAllister, after Manny Muscat had released Marco Rojas down the left to allow the winger to whip in an inch-perfect first-time cross into the striker’s stride.

Patrick Zwaanswijk - he had an outstanding game at the heart of the Central Coast defence - scrambled the ball out for a corner, which Rojas delivered onto the head of Ben Sigmund. The defender’s bullet header flashed a foot the wrong side of the upright from a Wellington perspective.

Two minutes later, another Rojas corner found Tim Brown lurking beyond the far post, but the midfielder’s volley was blocked to safety. Then it was the turn of Rojas himself to cause Central Coast consternation, Vince Lia’s slide-rule pass splitting the home team’s defence and playing in the youngster, who brought the best out of Ryan once more.

Matt Ryan launched a counter-attack which led to a free-kick for Coast. McGlinchey clipped it onto the head of Zwaanswijk, who directed his header straight at Wellington goalkeeper Danny Vukovic.

The visiting custodian saved at the feet of Matt Simon just ten minutes into a frenetic affair, and was relieved to see Joshua Rose send a rasping drive narrowly over the crossbar four minutes later, after Simon had played in the overlapping fullback on the left.

After Patricio Perez had lashed a shot across the face of goal upon being released on a surging run by McGlinchey, the Australian-based All White reminded his national coach, Wellington gaffer Ricki Herbert, that he was rather keen on being part of New Zealand’s next internationals against China and Japan in March by unleashing a vicious twenty yarder which Vukovic did well to tip round his right-hand post.

The resulting corner saw McGlinchey pick out the head of Danny McBreen, who headed this effort over the bar, and followed it up by directing another header straight at Vukovic, after McGlinchey had cut a swathe through the right-hand side of Wellington’s rearguard before whipping in a cross to the near post.

Wellington were far from happy with referee Breeze in the 26th minute, when Rojas was pulled back in the penalty area by Zwaanswijk after working a one-two with Lia down the right. If not a penalty, then certainly a corner, but the official made like an Australian cricket selector and carried on as if nothing had happened!

After Rose and Perez had combined to set up McGlinchey - Vukovic saved at his feet, and a super Lia cross intended for MacAllister was headed to safety by the well-performed Pedj Bojic, the deadlock was broken five minutes before half-time.

Perez powered through the middle before feeding the overlapping Rose on the left, the fullback evading the challenge of Troy Hearfield before cleverly pulling the ball back from the by-line, avoiding the gathered throngs in the goalmouth.

McGlinchey, steaming up in support, didn’t even break stride as the ball rolled invitingly into his path. He thumped it towards the target, and while Vukovic got a hand to it, the shot had too much power behind it to be diverted from its intended destination.

After the ferocious clip in which the first half had been played, it was understandable that the second spell wasn’t as impressive. Sadly, it was rather scrappy at times, with Central Coast initially dominant, only for Wellington to introduce some fresh legs which rejuvenated their hopes of recording a rare result on the road.

A brilliant turn and go by McGlinchey on the right left Tony Lochhead standing as the midfielder engineered some space from which to deliver a cross. It was cleared to McBreen, who picked out Zwaanswijk with his cross and looked on as the defender rattled Wellington’s crossbar with a thumping header seven minutes into the second spell.

Perez then scythed inside past three opponents before sending a twenty-yarder narrowly over the crossbar, while a surging run and cross just after the hour mark from Bojic culminated in McBreen firing over at full stretch as he lunged to meet the ball and steer it home.

By this time, Wellington had utilised their full compliment of substitutes, and the fresh legs of Daniel, Leo Bertos and Chris Greenacre saw the visitors finish the stronger combination.

Sadly for Wellington, they failed to make the most of their share of possession in the final twenty minutes, wayward delivery all too often their downfall. Indeed, they created just one genuine opening as they sought to level the scores, with Ryan denying MacAllister’s twenty-yarder after a free-kick was awarded due to Brown being hauled back by Rostyn Griffiths just outside the penalty area.

Central Coast, with this win, have all but secured a play-off place, something they should confirm over the next fortnight, in which they have four games scheduled, including a big clash with leaders Brisbane midweek. The Kiwi combination, meanwhile, have a straightforward formula to follow - do better than both Melbourne clubs over the course of their last six games and they’ll secure a top-six finish!

And if they can improve on their five-point haul from road trips in the weeks remaining, their cause will certainly improve!

A-League 2010/2011 - Round 22
5pm, Sunday 9 December, 2011 - Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Central Coast Mariners FC 1
(Michael McGlinchey 41')
Wellington Phoenix FC 0

Disclaimer: The content of this report is the responsibility of the writer. Stats are either as recorded by the writer at the game, or as supplied by FFA, or a mixture - no responsibility can be taken for their compete accuracy although we do strive for that. Any photos used here, unless attributed, are as supplied by FFA and used by permission.

Crafted lovingly by hand
By fans, for fans
© Magic Llama 2000 - 2011