Hyundai A-League - 2012/2013 - Season 8

Chris Dunkerley also reports from Gosford
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Mariners maul woeful Wellington
By Jeremy Ruane
with the compliments of

2012/2013 Hyundai A-League - Round 20
7pm, Thursday 7 February, 2013
at Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Central Coast Mariners FC 5
(Bernie Ibini-Isei 30’, 86’, John Hutchinson 65’, Daniel McBreen 69’, Mitchell Duke 90’')
Wellington Phoenix FC 0

Central Coast Mariners, the Hyundai A-League leaders, maintained their grip on top spot in emphatic fashion at Bluetongue Stadium on 7 February, delighting the 6,774 fans present by handing out a 5-0 mauling to a woeful Wellington Phoenix side, the second time in three weeks the Kiwi combination has been on the wrong end of a hiding.

What makes it worse for New Zealand football fans is that the Wellington team is perceived by those whose interest in the round ball code is, at best, passing, to be the best team in the country, because they are seen playing in a televised professional league each week.

Yet far more competitive performances by New Zealand teams than the embarrassment to the code which this country’s only professional club is fast becoming can be seen in the local ASB Premiership competition each week.

Indeed, this writer has witnessed two closely fought five-goal thrillers inside the last seven days which, when compared with the two games Wellington Phoenix have played during the same period … chalk and cheese!

It’s fair to say that, right now, the leading teams in the ASB Premiership would defeat the country’s supposed “shop window” club side. And lest readers scoff at the idea, a gentle reminder that one of those teams, Auckland City, defeated Central Coast 3-1 in a pre-season friendly in 2011 …

The visitors were a distinct second-best from the outset in this encounter. Initially competitive, once Central Coast got their measure, it was a matter of time before the home team made it count on the scoreboard.

They threatened to do so in just the fifth minute, the outstanding Joshua Rose playing an early ball in behind Wellington’s under-strength defence - three regulars were absent through a combination of illness, injury and suspension - for Bernie Ibini-Isei to dart onto.

He lobbed the ball straight into the hands of Mark Paston, who was relieved to see Rose’s rasping drive rattle the hoardings to the right of the goal eight minutes later, following the combination play of Michael McGlinchey and John Hutchinson on the left.

The league leaders had strong penalty claims turned away by referee Kris Griffiths-Jones in the sixteenth minute when Ibini-Isei’s driven cross struck the hand of Ian Hogg at close quarters, while moments later, Daniel McBreen’s shot on the turn was parried to safety by Paston, whose night was to get decidedly busier.

By the half-hour mark, Central Coast were piling on the pressure. Andrew Durante’s timely block thwarted one opening, while the referee again waved play on following an incident in the penalty area which saw McGlinchey kissing the turf and appealing in vain.

A Central Coast goal seemed almost inevitable, however, and when McGlinchey sent Rose surging to the by-line on the half-hour, the fullback’s low cross ricocheted off Paston straight to Ibini-Isei, who was perfectly placed to stab home the opener.

Having scored one, they wanted more, and only Paston’s timely punch prevented Nick Montgomery’s cross from reaching its intended target in the 34th minute, after which Wellington briefly threatened an equaliser.

Mathew Ryan plunged to his right to turn a thunderous Isaka Cernak drive to safety, after the midfielder had won the ball and worked an opening with Louis Fenton some twenty-five yards from goal in the 36th minute.

The resulting corner was delivered by Paul Ifill, and picked out the head of Jeremy Brockie, whose header required the combination of the crossbar and the head of Trent Sainsbury, perfectly place on the goal-line, to prevent the visitors from stealing Central Coast’s thunder.

That was the cue for the home team to pick up the tempo once more, and after a thumping drive from the well-performed Pedj Bojic had cannoned to safety off Durante late in the first spell, the second half was almost entirely one-way traffic.

Paston punched out a McGlinchey free-kick before Michael Boxall stepped in to deny McBreen from opening his account for the evening. The Wellington defender went close at the other end soon after, his header from a Hogg corner being deflected to safety, but by this time Paston had produced a super save to spare his side’s blushes.

In the 51st minute, McGlinchey played the ball wide to Rose, who worked a wonderful one-two with Mile Sterjovski which allowed the fullback to race into the area with just the ‘keeper to beat. The advancing Paston blocked with his legs - but for his efforts, and the assistance of the woodwork, the scoreline in this match could well have ended up nearer double figures.

Central Coast came within the width of a post from adding to their tally in the 57th minute. McBreen’s ball in behind McGlinchey sent Rose rampaging forward once more.

He slipped a pass into the stride of the All Whites’ midfielder, McGlinchey getting to the by-line before drilling a cross beyond the far post where Bojic was arriving on cue, only to see his header cannon to safety off the upright.

Central Coast were carving Wellington’s right flank open at will throughout this match, with stand-in fullback Manny Muscat looking every inch a square peg in a round hole as Rose exploited his shortcomings time and time again.

In the 59th minute, the home team’s star turn was at the heart of a scintillating move which also featured Montgomery, McGlinchey and Sterjovski. Cernak stepped in to thwart this particular attack, while Hogg’s timely tackle brought Bojic’s buccaneering run to a halt inside the area five minutes later.

In between these efforts, Bojic found himself just inches away from getting the goal his performance deserved. McBreen, whose target man play throughout proceedings was exemplary, got the better of Durante on half-way and fed McGlinchey, who instantly brought Rose into play once more.

His angled ball in behind the defence found fellow fullback Bojic racing in to meet it. Wellington were fortunate he failed to do so on this occasion, but their luck ran out in the 65th minute.

McGlinchey fired over a corner which McBreen flicked on beyond all-comers to Sterjovski. His driven low cross careered across the goalmouth and found Hutchinson stealing in on the far post completely unmarked - 2-0.

There was no way back for Wellington now, and after substitute Tyler Boyd had cleared narrowly past his own post after Rose had worked a one-two with McGlinchey upon being released by Hutchinson, Central Coast increased their advantage still further.

On this occasion, McBreen lost his marker in the penalty area, and when McGlinchey’s corner picked him out, his bullet header was of the “pick that one out!” variety - 3-0, with twenty minutes still to play.

Still they pressed, Boxall being forced to clear past his own post with McBreen hovering dangerously as substitute Mitchell Duke’s low cross zoomed into the danger zone. Soon after, Muscat blocked a shot from Duke to safety, before Bojic’s twenty-five yard free-kick cleared the defensive wall but arced straight into the hands of Paston.

Wellington’s ‘keeper produced a superb save in the 82nd minute to keep out Ibini-Isei’s headed effort, after Montgomery had sent Rose racing down the left yet again. Paston blocked with his legs from Duke soon after, Bojic sending the substitute through a visiting rearguard which, by now, boasted more holes than a colander!

Seconds later, Montgomery hit the post with the goal at his mercy - the miss of the night! But the Mariners had but seconds to wait for their fourth goal, and a beauty it was, with Bojic and McBreen combining to present Ibini-Isei with the chance to smash the ball into the top far corner, a feat he accomplished in emphatic fashion with four minutes still to play.

Taunts of “Can we play you every week?” cascaded down from the terraces as Wellington wilted in the face of their opponents’ onslaught, the crowning glory of which was applied in the 89th minute.

Amazingly, it started from a Hogg throw-in. Ifill’s cross picked out the head of substitute Benjamin Totori, whose glancing header was grabbed greedily by Ryan, but not for long.

For the ‘keeper launched the ball downfield, picking out McBreen, whose first-time pass sent Duke dashing through on goal with just Paston to beat, a feat the substitute accomplished in fine fashion, nutmegging the ‘keeper to make it 5-0.

A cheeky, long-range effort from substitute Dani Sanchez, who had spotted Ryan off his line in stoppage time, flew past the post as the ‘keeper beat a hasty retreat, but there was to be no consolation goal for Wellington, not that they deserved one.

They were poor, and on this occasion the league table, which shows a 22-point gulf between Central Coast and the team they conquered in this match, accurately reflects the key differences between the two sides, only one of which is a credit to the nation they represent.

2012/2013 Hyundai A-League - Round 20
7pm, Thursday 7 February, 2013
at Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Central Coast Mariners FC 5
(Bernie Ibini-Isei 30’, 86’, John Hutchinson 65’, Daniel McBreen 69’, Mitchell Duke 90’')
Wellington Phoenix FC 0

    Crowd: 6,774


    Central Coast Mariners FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Mathew RYAN (gk), 2. Daniel MCBREEN, 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK (5. Zachary ANDERSON +90’), 7. John HUTCHINSON (c), 9. Bernie IBINI, 14. Michael MCGLINCHEY (29. Nicholas FITZGERALD +79’), 16. Trent SAINSBURY, 18. Nick MONTGOMERY, 21. Mile STERJOVSKI (19. Mitchell DUKE +69’)

    Substitutes not used: 20. Pasfield (rgk)

    Coach: Graham Arnold

    Yellow Cards: Patrick Zwaanswijk 7', Hutchinson 32'
    Red Cards:Nil

    Wellington Phoenix FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Mark PASTON (gk), 2. Emmanual MUSCAT, 4. Isaka CERNAK, 5. Michael BOXALL, 8. Paul IFILL, 10. Stein HUYSEGEMS (12. Tyler BOYD +60’), 11. Jeremy BROCKIE (9. Benjamin TOTORI +69’), 14. Ian HOGG, 16. Louis FENTON (21. Dani SANCHEZ +78’), 17. Vince LIA, 22. Andrew DURANTE (c)

    Substitutes not used: 20. Glen Moss (rgk)

    Coach: Ricki Herbert

    Yellow Cards: Jeremy Brockie 50', Tyler Boyd 80'
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Kris Griffiths Jones 7/10
    Assistants 1: Rodney Allen, 2: Leigh Pigram; 4th Official: Adam Gehrig

    BOTN Player Points:
    > 3. Joshua Rose (CCM)
    2. Pedj Bojic (CCM)
    1. Michael McGlinchey (CCM)

    Pitch rating: 8/10

    Game rating: 6/10

    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, are as attributed.

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