Mariners still hold wood over Melbourne City

By Corinthian (Paul Green):

Hyundai A-League – Season 10 – 2014/2015 – Round 20
3pm, Sunday 8th March 2015 – Central Coast Football Stadium, Gosford

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CENTRAL COAST MARINERS FC 1 (Fabio Ferreira 73′)
defeated
MELBOURNE CITY FC 0

 

The Mariners found the form they’d last displayed against Melbourne City at their previous meeting at Central Coast Stadium to record a 1-0 win on Sunday for Interim Head Coach, Tony Walmsley, who took over from the deposed Phil Moss the previous Friday.

It was not exactly a replica of the teams’ first meeting, prior to the Asian Cup, but there were several similarities.

On that occasion Mitchell Duke’s late brace had done the trick while this time the late winner came from recent signing Fabio Ferreira.

Ahead of those winners, each time Melbourne City had looked the more confident side and created most of the chances, especially before the break.

They’d played before on a very warm evening with a 5pm kick off, but it was even earlier here, the 3pm kick off at least coming in March when autumn is supposed to be kicking in.

There were no drinks breaks so clearly the temperatures were not debilitating this time and the two sides fought out an enterprising fixture on a near billiard table-smooth surface.

The Mariners’ hero was not only the goalscorer, Ferreira, but goalkeeper, Liam Reddy, whose shot-stopping abilities came to the fore several times in the game, most notably during stoppage time when the Blue and Navy clung to their 1-0 lead, precariously.

City had thrown on Harry Novillo in he 55th and he made an appreciable difference to their attack and finally, probably too late, sent on Iain  Ramsay with five minutes to go, having already put faith in Jason Hoffman to drive them forward more purposefully.

While Novillo showed some classy touches and got through on goal several times, he was denied when firing at goal, more than once, until Ramsay got on the end of a cleared ball to volley spectacularly towards goal as stoppage-time clicked on.

Reddy somehow kept the ball out, but there would have been some relieved Mariners’ defenders, not to mention supporters and a new (interim) coach.

This was a game where many wanted to see what the Mariners looked like post-Moss.

The differences were subtle.

Mainly in terms of personnel, with Isaka Cernak handed a starting berth again and impressing most of the time as he and a newly-inspired Anthony Caceres traded blows with a strong City midfield.

At the back Zac Anderson and Eddy Bosnar made life a misery for former Socceroo, Josh Kennedy, as he endeavoured to make his presence felt as the lone target man.

Jacob Poscoliero, at right back again where he has excelled before, got forward often and contributed plenty. His defensive work at times was more ragged, but he did cover plenty of ground on the flanks and had some lively players to compete against.

Just as Kennedy was under a stranglehold by the Mariners’ defence for almost the entire game, Central Coast’s former Adelaide United star, Ferreira, had some solid opposition, often tagged by two players every time he got near the ball.

City’s two experienced men in the middle of defence and just in front, Patrick Kisnorbo and Erik Paartalu respectively, gave Ferreira little peace and when he went down the flanks there was stern opposition from Connor Chapman on one flank and Safuwan Baharudin on the other.

It was City who had the better chances in the first half, with Aaron Mooy the main creator in the middle. David Williams, later replaced by Novillo, ran hard as did Massimo Murdocca, but when presented with a really good chance in the 22nd, he could not get the better of the alert Liam Reddy after a lofted through pass from the left by Safuwan Baharudin that his team mate did well to read and run onto, only to be foiled by the intervention of the Mariners’ keeper.

The winner came from a free-kick in the 73rd minute, the second that had been won on the edge of the penalty area and right in front, the other sent narrowly over the bar by dead ball specialist Eddy Bosnar.

This time Bosnar and a few others stood around he ball, but it was Ferreira who elected to take it and his sweetly-struck shot whistled through the defensive wall and past Tando Velaphi into the bottom left corner of the Melbourne City net.

Asked post-match what was it about Central Coast Mariners that made it so difficult for his team, having lost twice in Gosford in nine weeks, City coach, John van’t Schip, was perplexed to offer an explanation.

“Not just here, but in Melbourne as well,” he said, recalling his team’s frustrating 2-2 draw against the same opponents back in mid-November.

On that occasion City had scored twice in the first half only to slacken in the second with the equaliser arriving via John Hutchinson four minutes into stoppage-time.

Tony Walmsley, the club’s Technical Director and Interim Head Coach was beaming post-match.

He’s hoping his team can dig deep again in Adelaide on Thursday, with a new-found team spirit taking the side a long way on Sunday.

He’s also of the belief that a Finals’ place is still possible, though certainly looking a long-shot at this late stage. The win(s) over City may yet prove even more valuable than merely avoiding the bottom two spots this season.

Match details

Crowd:  6,079

Central Coast Mariners FC:  12 Liam REDDY(gk); 4 Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5 Zac ANDERSON, 25 Eddy BOSNAR, 3 Joshua ROSE; 7 John HUTCHINSON (C), 23 Isaka CERNAK (2 Storm ROUX 86),  8 Nick MONTGOMERY, 10 Adrian CACERES (18 Glen TRIFIRO 86); 26 Fabio FERREIRA (14 Travis MAJOR 86), 11 Nick FITZGERALD
Subs Not Used: RGK 1 Matthew NASH, 16 Liam ROSE

Yellow Cards: Eddy Bosnar 19′; Red Cards: Nil

Acting Coach:  Tony Walmsley

Melbourne City FC:  20.Tando VELAPHI (gk) ;  4.Connor CHAPMAN (7.Iain RAMSAY 85),  24.Patrick KISNORBO (C), 29.Safuwan BAHARUDIN;  27.Kew JALIENS,  5.Erik PAARTALU (17.Jason HOFFMAN 68);  6.Aaron MOOY, 8.Massimo MURDOCCA; 10.Robert KOREN, 15.David WILLIAMS (9.Harry NOVILLO 55),  16.Josh KENNEDY
Subs Not Used: RGK 1.Andrew REDMAYNE, 18.Paulo RETRE

Yellow Cards: Safuwan Baharudin 52, Jason Hoffman 70, Connor Chapman 72; Red cards: Nil

Coach: John van’t Schip

Ratings and points

Players:

3.  Liam Reddy (CCM)
2.  Isaka Cernak (CCM)
1.  Massimo Murdocca (MC)

Match 7/10
Pitch 9/10
Referee: Jarred Gillett  7/10
Assistant Referee 1: Leigh Pigram, Assistant Referee 2:Owen Goldrick; Fourth Official:Matthew Cropper

Photo: Archive shot of Central Coast Stadium during a Mariners game (By Lowenna Rappo for BOTN)