Hyundai A-League - 2011/2012 - Season 7

Simon's send off Victory
By Chris Dunkerley

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 13+ Midweek
7:45pm, Wednesday 4 January, 2011
at Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Central Coast Mariners FC 2 (Matt Simon 1', 85')
defeated
Melbourne Victory FC 0


(Photo by Lowenna Rappo)

Central Coast Mariners went 6 points clear at the top of the league after an impressive 2-0 win over Melbourne Victory in front of 12,284 fans on Big Wednesday in Gosford. Matt Simon iced the cake with a brace for his club on his last game before heading to South Korea.

With star defender Patrick Zwaanswijk suspended and pivotal midfelder Royston Griffiths failing a late post-injury fitness test, Mariners coach Graham Arnold rung more changes to the surprise of the large crowd. Youngster Trent Sainsbury was given the job to replace Zwaanswijk and help his captain Alex Wilkinson contain Harry Kewell and Archie Thompson, but starlets Mustafa Amini and Bernie Ibini-Isei were on the bench. Victory's Mehmet Durakovic for his part was still without captain Adrian Leijer, and also shuffled his pack after consecutive losses.

The Victory defence was immediately pressured from the start of play, with Petar Franjic unable to cover Troy Hearfield as he lept onto a ball played into the area. Hearfield shrugged off Franjic's challenge and slipped the ball back into the path of Matt Simon who blasted it past Melbourne's custodian Ante Covic. By the scoreboard clock it was 17 seconds. 1-0

Victory's striker Archie Thompson, wearing the armband, put through Carlos Hernandez, but the Costa Rican's powerful shot from wide was saved by Coast's 'keeper Matt Ryan.

Kewell and Thompson looked dangerous but each raid was thwarted by Wilkinson and Young Socceroo Sainsbury. Then quick distribution by Ryan would lead to raids down the flanks, especially launched by Pedj Bojic and implemented by Hearfield, who had his best game since sinking Celtic FC pre-season. Victory looked slow at the back, particularly out wide.

It was a good contest, with play end to end, fast and gave good entertainment.

The Coast could have had five or more if shooting by several players, Daniel McBreen the main culprit, hadn't been so astray, or the posts had not been in the way.

It could have been two for real as Bernie Ibini-Isei's shot at 75 mins came back off the upright, and Michael McGlinchey's follow up but over the crossbar.

The inevitable goal came in the 85th minute with Matt Simon picking up a pass from midfield on the left and still bursting with life he rounded the unfortunate Franjic and calmly slotted the ball into the goal inside the left upright giving Covic no chance. 2-0

Another substitute Mustafa Amini was given far too much space as he brought the ball out of midfield, and unleashed a shot from 25m that clattered of the left post with all the Victory defence at sea.

A feature of the evening was the interesting idea to give a minute of applause before the games in this HAL Big Wednesday round in memory of Murray Barnes, the Ku-ring-gai boy who made his name with Hakoah/Sydney City in the NSL and a stalwart of the Socceroos, but who died sadly last week at 57. The large crowd obliged.

“It was a fantastic night, and I think the performance of the season. A fairytale finish for Matty, and the crowd enjoyed it. It was great to play in front of a good crowd,” Mariners coach Graham Arnold said after the game. Arnold added that the win highlighted the depth he has in his squad. “It’s not a rotation system at all. We want to look after the youngsters. The kids have done fantastic, but three games in a week is a very heavy workload for them. Both Musti and Bernie pulled up sore after the Gold Coast game".

Matt Simon had been playing his final game under his contract with the Central Coast Mariners after accepting a deal with K-League side Chunnam Dragons FC, and his brace, the win, and the warm send-off by the many fans at the stadium was fitting theatre for the lad from East Gosford who gave up painting work to train un-paid with the Mariners in the hope former coach Lawrie McKinna would sign him. A big journey taken already, and more to come for him.



2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 13+ Midweek
7:45pm, Wednesday 4 January, 2011
at Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Central Coast Mariners FC 2 (Matt Simon 1', 85')
defeated
Melbourne Victory FC 0

    Crowd: 12,284

    MATCH STATS:

    Central Coast Mariners FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Mathew RYAN (gk), 2. Daniel McBREEN, 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 12. Troy HEARFIELD (9. Bernie IBINI-ISEI +62’), 14. Michael McGLINCHEY (5. Brad PORTER 90'+1), 16. Trent SAINSBURY, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON (22. Mustafa AMINI +88’)

    Substitutes not used: 20. Justin PASFIELD (rgk)

    Coach: Graham Arnold

    Yellow Cards: Trent Sainsbury 53’
    Red Cards: Nil

    Melbourne Victory FC :
    Player listing:
    21. Ante COVIC (gk), 2. Matthew FOSCHINI, 4. Petar FRANJIC, 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 8. Grant BREBNER, 10. Archie THOMPSON (c), 12. Rodrigo VARGAS, 13. Diogo FERREIRA, 16. Carlos HERNANDEZ, 19. Isaka CERNAK (11. Marco ROJAS +67’), 22. Harry KEWELL (18. Daniel ALLSOPP +76’)

    Substitutes not used: 20. Lawrence THOMAS (rgk), 3. FABIO

    Coach: Mehmet Durakovic

    Yellow Cards:
    Red Cards: Nil


    Referee: Peter Green 8/10
    Assistant Referees: 1. Lance Greenshields, 2. Sarah Ho; Fourth official: Kurth Ams

    BOTN Player Points:
    3. Matt Simon (CCM)
    2. Alex Wilkinson (CCM)
    1. Trent Sainsbury (CCM)

    Pitch rating: 6/10 - still patchy despite little use!

    Game rating: 8/10

    Match report, ratings: By Chris Dunkerley. Photos Lowenna Rappo

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