Wellington Come From Behind To Down Coast

by Jeremy Ruane:

with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com

Hyundai A-League Season 10 – 2014/15 – Round 2
5:00pm, Saturday 18 October, 2014 – Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (og. Thomas Doyle 12′)
lost to
Wellington Phoenix FC  2
(Michael McGlinchey 35’, Nathan Burns 54′)

Wellington Phoenix scored a come-from-behind 2-1 win at Central Coast Mariners on October 18 to kick-start their Hyundai A-League campaign in front of 7,237 fans at Central Coast Stadium.

The visitors scored all three goals in the match, and should have opened the scoring in the third minute of play, when Alex Rodriguez slipped Jeremy Brockie through the inside-left channel. Liam Reddy was miles out of his goal, but the striker, instead of chipping the stranded goalkeeper, simply lobbed the ball straight into his gloves.

Both teams struggled to employ their usual game in the early stages of the match, the bobbly pitch making life rather challenging where accurate passing was concerned, but it was a different story when it came to balls being delivered into the penalty area.

Such as that delivered by Brockie in the eighth minute, a delightfully measured cross to the far post which had Reddy beaten all ends up. Storm Roux rescued the situation for his ‘keeper, albeit at the expense of a corner, which Michael McGlinchey delivered onto the head of Andrew Durante.

Reddy greedily grabbed his header, and instantly sparked a counter-attack which resulted in a corner which should never have been given – Joshua Rose clearly handled the ball in Wellington’s penalty area.

Referee Ben Williams, who made a few odd calls of this nature throughout this match – although it must be said this was one of his better displays, awarded a corner, which Kim Seung Yong delivered to the near post.

Glen Moss prevented Mitchell Duke from capitalising on it on this occasion, but in the twelfth minute, Wellington’s goalkeeper was beaten – by his own team-mate. Matt Sim and Seung Yong looked to work a one-two on the edge of Wellington’s penalty area.

As Sim homed in on the return pass, Moss raced out of goal, anticipating the danger. Racing back with the same intention was Thomas Doyle, who got to the ball first and prodded it past his own ‘keeper, the ball rolling agonisingly into the net despite Ben Sigmund’s despairing efforts to prevent it from doing so.

Central Coast swiftly took charge of the match following this twelfth minute gift, and proceeded to dominate the exchanges for the next fifteen minutes. Seung Yong and Duke both saw shots blocked by Albert Riera and Durante respectively, as the home team looked to turn the screw and give their resident jazz band further reason to play on.

Half-way through the half, a nice Central Coast move culminated in Roux picking out Duke, who neatly controlled the ball then jinked inside before unleashing a swerving shot which Moss was forced to tip across the face of his goal and round the far post.

The resulting corner from Seung Yong was flighted to the far post, where Eddy Bosnar was lurking with intent. He headed the ball down, and it ricocheted off Durante’s arm for a corner. Central Coast, of course, pleaded for a penalty – referee Williams wasn’t having a bar of it.

At this stage of proceedings, Wellington were feeding off crumbs, so when the chance to do so came along, they had to make the most of it. Cue a peach of a pass from McGlinchey to slip Brockie in through the inside right channel in the 26th minute.

Quite what some people see in this player which prompts them to sing his praises at almost every opportunity escapes my footballing vision. Frankly, he’s probably the most over-rated player I’ve witnessed kicking a football in anger in over twenty years of providing coverage of men’s football! (Which is saying something, because there are a fair few contenders for that description, make no mistake!)

There is no way on earth a professional footballer should even come close to hitting the far corner flag rather than the back of the net with a shot from the position Brockie found himself in on this occasion. But he pulled his attempt so badly that the ball crossed the dead-ball line beyond the far edge of the penalty area …

Amazingly, worse was to come from the All Whites striker. But not before he’d made a telling contribution to a 29th minute raid sparked by Nathan Burns’ sharp turn and surging run from half-way.

He played Brockie through the inside left channel, and the striker steered it back behind the on-rushing Burns into the stride of Roly Bonevacia, whose rasping first time drive cannoned to safety off Bosnar.

Central Coast failed to heed the warning, and after Bosnar had blocked Burns’ progress on the edge of the penalty area – once more, spot-kick claims were waved away, Wellington were finally given the chance to level the scores in the 34th minute.

Brockie was offside when he raced through onto a Rodriguez pass, and as he entered the penalty area, a despairing lunge from behind by Jacob Poscoliero brought him to ground.

Even Ben Williams had to give a penalty for this one, and he did so, unhesitatingly. But why he chose not to brandish the red card, given Poscoliero was the last defender, only the official will know.

So, a penalty to Wellington, and who should step up to take it but Brockie, who has recent previous when it comes to missing from twelve yards, and now has another addition to make to his growing catalogue of spurned spot-kicks.

His 35th minute effort hit the crossbar. Thankfully for the visitors, McGlinchey had his wits about him against his old club, and duly steered home the rebound before celebrating in subdued fashion, out of respect for the fans of a club where he spent the last five years of his career.

Wellington’s growth in confidence following the equaliser was matched by a sudden evaporation of same from Central Coast. And they still hadn’t recovered it by the time the game had reached the 53rd minute, at which point the visitors took the lead.

McGlinchey loped down the left and took on two defenders before ducking inside, then back-heeling the ball into the stride of the overlapping figure of Doyle. Without breaking stride, he pinged a curling first-time cross beyond the far post, where Brockie was arriving.

He headed the ball inside towards Burns, who turned the ball home from four yards to leave Central Coast with a bit of a mountain to climb, given the scoreboard now showed a 2-1 advantage to Wellington.

They sought a swift riposte, with Sim’s twenty-five yarder being tipped round the post by Moss before the hour mark. Referee Williams saw fit to award a goal-kick, rather than a corner, for this most obvious of in-flight deviations – definitely not his most accurate performance.

Nor was it Central Coast’s! Their passing accuracy was pathetic until about fifteen minutes from time, during which period Wellington could have put the game to bed with a third goal.

The closest they came to doing so was in the 66th minute, when Burns pounced on a stray pass and instantly combined with McGlinchey, Bonevacia and Rodriguez, who brought Muscat into play as the fullback raced up in support on the right. Defenders combined to curtail his progress, but the home team weren’t making a great deal themselves.

That was the case until their second half substitutes got up to speed. The introductions of both Nick Fitzgerald and Glen Trifiro gave the home team a new lease of life in the last fifteen minutes, during which time they pounded away in search of an equaliser.

But it wouldn’t come. The closest they got to levelling came in the 78th minute, when Fitzgerald started a move which also featured Rose and the overlapping Sim, whose cross found Fitzgerald arriving on cue six yards out from goal. His header crashed against the post, allowing Wellington to breathe again.

For all of thirty seconds, as Central Coast were very swiftly back on the attack, Sim combining with Duke, whose delightful first-time pass rewarded Trifiro’s well-timed run from midfield. Into the penalty area he strode before unleashing a drive which Moss tipped round his near post – Williams got it right this time!

The resulting corner was cleared to Sim, who unleashed a curling twenty-five yarder which left Moss stranded. The ‘keeper was greatly relieved to see the sphere swerve ever so narrowly past his right-hand post.

Amazingly, that was as close as the hosts were to come in the time remaining, for they ran out of ideas and initiatives soon afterwards, Wellington withstanding the best Central Coast could throw at them to ultimately hang on for a 2-1 win, their first A-League victory in nine games.

Crowd:  7,237

Central Coast Mariners FC
Player listing:  12. Liam REDDY (gk),  2. Storm ROUX, 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Jacob POSCOLIERO, 7. John HUTCHINSON (c), 8. Nick MONTGOMERY (10. Anthony CACERES +64’), 9. Mitchell DUKE, 14. Malick MANÉ (11. Nick FITZGERALD +72’), 15. Matthew SIM, 25. Eddy BOSNAR, 26. KIM Seung-yong (18. Glen TRIFIRO +55’)
Substitutes not used: 1. Matthew NASH (rgk), 5. Zachary ANDERSON

Coach:  Phil Moss

Yellow Cards:  Poscoliero 35′, Roux 48′, Reddy 90′
Red Cards:  Nil

Wellington Phoenix FC
Player listing:   1. Glen MOSS (gk), 2. Manny MUSCAT, 4. Rolieny BONEVACIA (16. Louis FENTON +71’), 8. Alex RODRIGUEZ, 9. Nathan BURNS, 10. Michael MCGLINCHEY (17. Vince LIA +85’), 11. Jeremy BROCKIE (7. Kenny CUNNINGHAM +79’), 13. Albert RIERA, 18. Benjamin SIGMUND, 19. Thomas DOYLE, 22. Andrew DURANTE (c)
Substitutes not used: 5. Michael BOXALL, 20. Lewis ITALIANO (rgk)

Coach:  Ernie Merrick

Yellow Cards: Brockie
Red Cards:  Nil


Referee: Ben Williams    5/10

Pitch rating:   5/10
Game rating: 6/10

3  Andrew Durante (WP)
2  Matt Sim (CCM)
1  Nathan Burns (WP)

By Jeremy Ruane

Photo:  Archive photo by Lowenna Rappo, for BOTN