Wellington spurn chances galore in Mariners draw

by Jeremy Ruane:
with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com

Hyundai A-League – Season 10 – 2014/2015 – Round 10
6pm, Saturday 13 December, 2014 –  Eden Park, Auckland


Wellington Phoenix FC 1 ( Roy Krishna 78′)
drew with
Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (Matt Simon 40′)

Wellington Phoenix spurned enough chances to win three Hyundai A-League matches as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Central Coast Mariners in front of a disappointing Eden Park, Auckland, crowd of 11,051 fans on 13 December, 2014.
Wellington enjoyed the better of the early exchanges, during which Central Coast appeared more intent on fouling their opponents than on making in-roads of an attacking nature. They paid the price for their approach in the form of an early injury to Nick Montgomery, whose departure from the fray was preceded by the game’s first two chances.
Albert Riera intercepted a pass and fed Michael McGlinchey, whose angled ball rewarded the similarly angled run in off the left flank by Roy Krishna. Jacob Poscoliero matched the Fijian stride for stride, however, and managed to block his shot as well, on the quarter hour.
Seconds later, Louis Fenton linked with Nathan Burns, and his cross was headed narrowly wide at the near post by Krishna, who played an influential part in another opportunity to open the scoring half-way through the first half.
After an Anthony Caceres corner had been scrambled to safety by Wellington, Roly Bonevacia’s driving run down the left saw the Dutchman play a one-two with Krishna before seeing his shot blocked at the near post by Central Coast ‘keeper Liam Reddy.
Seconds later, Alex Rodriguez and McGlinchey prised open the visitors’ defence to present Bonevacia with a glorious chance to fire Wellington in front. But he somehow contrived to send his shot soaring high, wide and far from handsomely into the eastern terraces.
Central Coast had four players booked in this match – theirs was a far from disciplined display – but from a 24th minute Glen Trifiro free-kick they came close to breaking the deadlock, Glen Moss doing well to tip the substitute’s twenty-five yarder over the bar.
Normal service soon resumed, with Wellington pounding away in search of the opening goal. A slick move down the left, featuring Riera and Bonevacia, culminated in Krishna taking on the defence before setting up Rodriguez.
He shot straight at Reddy, however, with the visitors’ ‘keeper soon called up to again deny the home team, Krishna’s piledriver specifically, after the striker’s pace had once more found Central Coast’s rearguard in need of an extra oxygen bottle just to keep up!
Wellington squandered a gilt-edged chance to break the deadlock nine minutes before half-time. Krishna’s pace again terrorised the visitors’ defence, while his low cross invited Burns to turn the ball home. Rodriguez was invading the same space, however, and prevented the league’s leading marksman from fully exploiting the opening, much to Reddy’s relief.
Five minutes before half-time, and very much against the general run of play, Central Coast opened the scoring. Ben Sigmund, in his 150th game for Wellington, blocked a deft Nick Fitzgerald flick following Michael Neill’s good work on the left.
But the home team failed to mop up adequately afterwards, and it wasn’t long before Neill and Fitzgerald combined again. This time, the latter’s drive was parried by Moss, but it was an effort he should have held onto. His failure to do so was punished by Matt Simon, who slammed home the rebound to silence the natives.
Right on half-time, Wellington came close to levelling the scores. Fenton and McGlinchey combined with Burns on the right, the last-mentioned delivering an angled cross which found Krishna roaring in to meet it.
Despite the attentions of the covering figure of Zachary Anderson, he managed to guide an effort goalwards which flashed past the stranded figure of Reddy but just past his left-hand upright.
It was more of the same from Wellington in the second spell, with Rodriguez and Burns combining inside the opening sixty seconds of the half. Burns pulled the ball back for McGlinchey, whose shot struck Joshua Rose’s arm and was cleared to safety.
Six minutes later, another golden chance to score was spurned by the home team. Manny Muscat did Richard Vernes a treat on the left before slipping a slide-rule pass into the stride of Krishna, who went for power rather than placement and sent the ball sailing into the western stand from ten yards, when scoring appeared the easier option.
On the hour, Central Coast squandered a glorious chance to double their lead. Vernes and Trifiro combined to leave Simon one-on-one with Moss, who got his angles spot on and blocked the striker’s effort at his near post.
That spurred Wellington on to renewed efforts to even things up on the scoreboard. McGlinchey and Rodriguez worked an opening round the edge of the area which culminated in Bonevacia’s shot being deflected to safety.
Four minutes later, McGlinchey picked out Sigmund with a free-kick which the defender headed narrowly past the upright. Soon after, Krishna’s through ball was just too far ahead of Burns for him to capitalise upon, while a driven low cross from Fenton fizzed behind all three of its intended targets as Wellington piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser.
In the 72nd minute, McGlinchey and Bonevacia teamed up to present Krishna with yet another chance. This time, the despairing lunge of Neill kept Central Coast’s noses in front, while Bonevacia achieved the same feat two minutes later, wrong-footing both himself and a defender after Burns’ buccaneering run had the visitors’ defence in all sorts of bother.
The equaliser finally came fourteen minutes from time, and there couldn’t have been a more deserving scorer. Krishna had carried Wellington’s attack in this match, and when McGlinchey picked him out with a delectable weighted ball behind the defence, the Fijian produced a composed finish to the delight of the gathered throngs, which, despite the lower than expected turn-out, is still Wellington’s biggest home gate this season.
Cue the redoubling of efforts to clinch a late winner, with both teams striving for glory. Wellington’s most likely threat materialised five minutes from time. The script was tailor-made for McGlinchey to nab the winner against his old club, but Reddy had other ideas, plucking the striker’s twenty-five yard free-kick from under the crossbar.
Four minutes later, Moss replied in kind for Wellington, denying Neill a winning goal the visitors’ display didn’t deserve – referee Alan Milliner could easily have dished out double the number of yellow cards he did brandish to visiting players, such was their desire to stop Wellington at all costs.
The sad part is, as the scoreline suggests, to some extent, they succeeded.

 Match details
Crowd: 11,051

Wellington Phoenix FC:       Moss (gk); Fenton, Sigmund, Durante, Muscat; Rodriguez, Riera (Cunningham, 86), Bonevacia; Burns (Brockie, 82), McGlinchey (Rufer, 89), Krishna

Central Coast Mariners FC:  Reddy; Poscoliero, Anderson (booked, 3) (Sim, 46), Rose, Neill; Caceres, Montgomery (Trifiro, 21), Hutchinson (booked, 84), Vernes (booked, 73) (Bingham, 82); Fitzgerald, Simon (booked, 49)

Points and ratings

Pitch:  9/10
Referee:            Alan Milliner 6/10
Match:  7/10
3  Krishna (WP)
2  McGlinchey (WP)
1  Reddy (CCM)