Hyundai A-League - 2011/2012 - Season 7

Mariners take home Plate with win at Wellington
By Jeremy Ruane
with the compliments of

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 25
4pm, Sunday 25 March, 2012
at Westpac Stadium Wellington, NZ

Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Leo Bertos 80')

lost to
Central Coast Mariners FC 2 (John Sutton 44', Bernie Ibini-Isei 51')

The Central Coast Mariners completed a clean sweep of wins over Wellington Phoenix in the Hyundai A-League this season on March 25, downing the locals 2-1 at Westpac Stadium to take out the Premiers Plate as first place-getters in the competition.

It was the second time the minor premiers had beaten the New Zealand contenders on their own patch this season, and their fifth consecutive victory in matches between the two teams, although there was little of note to write home about in the opening fifteen minutes of this encounter.

That changed on the quarter hour when Central Coast contrived the game’s best move so far, a slick interchange of passes between John Hutchinson, Michael McGlinchey and the overlapping Pedj Bojic.

The fullback picked out Tomas Rogic with a near post cross which the striker met on the volley, and had it been on target, Mark Paston would have known little about it - the ball was a blur as it flashed past his left-hand post.

Wellington responded to this with their best passage of play in the first half, ignited by a 23rd minute free-kick which saw a clever routine culminate in Paul Ifill rifling a shot on the turn narrowly over the bar from twenty yards.

Three minutes later, Central Coast ‘keeper Matthew Ryan was twice forced to save from Ifill in a forty-second spell, his parried denial of the latter effort causing a wee scramble to unfold in the visitors’ penalty area until Chris Greenacre directed his snapshot straight at the ‘keeper.

After Paston had dashed off his line to block well at the feet of the well-performed Bernie Ibini-Isei just after the half-hour mark, the home team threatened Central Coast on the counter-attack, Manny Muscat and Leo Bertos combining to present Ifill with a chance which was denied him by the covering figure of Patrick Zwaanswijk.

Greenacre squandered a glorious chance to open the scoring in the 34th minute, when played through by Ifill. The number nine found himself one-on-one with Ryan, but lost control of the ball at the vital moment, allowing the ‘keeper to prevail.

Claims for a Wellington penalty, for a handling offence by Zwaanswijk as he looked to give Ifill’s boots a quick polish in the area, went unheeded by referee Strebre Delovski, whose next involvement of consequence was to signal the game’s opening goal on the stroke of half-time.

Wellington captain Andrew Durante, on the occasion of his one hundredth game for the club, directed a clearance straight to Ibini-Isei, who ran at the retreating defender before bringing Oliver Bozanic into play through the inside-left channel.

He clipped a cross into the stride of John Sutton, whose glancing header left Paston beaten all ends up, not to mention achieving that rare feat of silencing the Wellington Phoenix fans, who were hoping their team would win this match by three clear goals to finish third in the final standings.

Now they had to score four goals to achieve that objective, the first of which was mere inches away from being realised in the 51st minute. Ben Sigmund, Muscat and the overlapping Vince Lia combined on the right, with the last-mentioned firing a low cross inches too far in front of Greenacre as he arrived at pace at the near post.

Two minutes later, Wellington’s hopes of improving on a certain fourth-placed finish were dashed by the inspirational McGlinchey, whose darting run in off the right flank took him past four opponents before a slide-rule pass pierced the Wellington defence.

It allowed Ibini-Isei, who timed his run to latch onto it to perfection, to coolly steer the ball home beyond Paston into the bottom corner of the net - 2-0, and the Plate was Gosford-bound.

Tim Brown started and finished a 55th move which also featured just-introduced substitute Mirjan Pavlovic and Bertos, the latter’s well-flighted cross picking out the hard-working midfielder, whose header careered past Ryan’s left-hand post as the home team looked to get back into the game.

It wasn’t to be for Wellington, however, and after Sutton’s bullet-like header from a Joshua Rose corner had ricocheted to safety off Paston just before the hour mark, Ibini-Isei’s downward header bounced up and hit the crossbar in the 71st minute, after fine combination play involving McGlinchey, substitute Mustafa Amini and Bozanic, whose cross to the far post was sumptuous.

Pavlovic spurned a glorious chance to drag his team back into the game fifteen minutes from time. Lia and Nick Ward - a delightful ball over the top - combined to send their team-mate dashing through the inside left channel with just Ryan to beat. But Pavlovic’s atrocious touch was akin to a pass-back to the ‘keeper.

Ryan gratefully accepted this gift, but was beaten all ends up ten minutes from time by Bertos, whose free-kick from wide on the left arced over the flailing ‘keeper’s fingertips and into the top far corner of the net.

Intentional or not, it gave Wellington a lifeline into a contest in which they had rarely threatened. But they made amends in the final ten minutes, only to find Zwaanswijk and his team-mates in such resolute mood that Ryan wasn’t forced into making a save in Wellington’s desperation to snatch a late leveller.

2-1 it remained, however, a repeat of Central Coast’s previous winning scoreline at this ground in November. This time, their efforts gained greater reward, in the form of first place, automatic qualification for the 2012-13 AFC Champions League, and the Premiers Plate, even though the trophy wasn’t on hand to be presented to the Hyundai A-League’s round-robin winners.

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 25
4pm, Sunday 25 March, 2012
at Westpac Stadium Wellington, NZ

Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Leo Bertos 80')

lost to
Central Coast Mariners FC 2 (John Sutton 44', Bernie Ibini-Isei 51')

    Crowd: 9,802


    Wellington Phoenix FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Mark PASTON (gk), 2. Manny MUSCAT, 3. Tony LOCHHEAD (24. Alex SMITH +73’), 6. Tim BROWN, 7. Leo BERTOS, 8. Paul IFILL, 9. Chris GREENACRE (14. Mirjan PAVLOVIC +54’), 17. Vince LIA, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 21. Dani SANCHEZ (12. Nick WARD +60’), 22. Andrew DURANTE
    Substitutes not used: 20. Tony WARNER (rgk)

    Coach: Ricki Herbert

    Yellow Cards: Tim Brown
    Red Cards: Nil

    Central Coast Mariners FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Mathew RYAN (gk), 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 9. Bernie IBINI (12. Troy HEARFIELD +82’), 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 14. Michael MCGLINCHEY, 17. Tomas ROGIC (22. Mustafa AMINI +62’), 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. John SUTTON (23. Adam KWASNIK +72’)
    Substitutes not used: 20. Justin PASFIELD (rgk)

    Coach: Graham Arnold

    Yellow Cards: Nil
    Red Cards:Nil

    Referee: Srebre Delovski 6/10
    Assistant Referees: Scott Edeling, Ryan Gallagher; Fourth official: Matt Conger

    BOTN Player Points:
    3. Michael McGlinchey (CCM)
    2. Patrick Zwaanswijk (CCM)
    1. Vince Lia (WP)

    Pitch rating: 8/10

    Game rating: 5/10

    Match Report and ratings: By Jeremy Ruane

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 implicitly supplied by FFA and used by assumed permission.

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