Whistle while you work

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

Hyundai A-League – Season 11 – 2015/2016 – Round 5
5:15pm, Sunday 8 November, 2015 – Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (Roy O’Donovan 76′)
drew with
Wellington Phoenix FC 1 (Michael McGlinchey 8′)


Central Coast Mariners deservedly held Wellington Phoenix to a 1-1 draw at a soggy Central Coast Stadium on 8 November, 2015 – where 6,460 fans saw a former Mariner come back to haunt them early on in proceedings.

Michael McGlinchey opened the scoring for Wellington with the first chance of the match, in the eighth minute. Debutant Justin Gulley caught Joshua Rose in possession and instantly released Roy Krishna, who picked out the All White with a splendid cross-field ball.

McGlinchey controlled the sphere superbly, then turned inside an opponent before curling home a beauty to leave goalkeeper Paul Izzo clutching at thin air, much to the delight of the boisterous Wellington supporters in attendance.

This stunned the Central Coast team, who were fortunate not to go two goals down eight minutes later – Izzo required two attempts to keep out Roly Bonevacia’s twenty yarder.

Three minutes after that, Alex Rodriguez and Albert Riera linked with Krishna, who played the ball inside for Jeffrey Sarpong. The Dutchman slipped it into the stride of the overlapping McGlinchey, whose low first-time cross flashed across the bows of the fast-arriving figure of Krishna, who was just a stride away from letting fly.

As a spectacle, this match was not pretty viewing, and the contribution of referee Chris Beath certainly left its mark in this regard. He appeared to be very fond of the 1937 song “Whistle While You Work” throughout the duration of this match – he never stopped blowing the blessed thing!!!

In fairness to him, when the teams involved are committing fouls every two minutes on average, as referee you have to adjudicate accordingly. But the stop-start nature of the game contrasted starkly with Wellington’s last match, a free-flowing affair against Melbourne Victory in which referee Shaun Evans could have spent half his night watching from the stand, so infrequently did he get involved in proceedings.

Sadly, not all games are like that, and this one most definitely was not! But in amongst the fouls and the numerous other stoppages, football made the odd cameo appearance to remind us all of the prime reason for this encounter’s occurrence.

Central Coast contributed a great deal in this regard, with the distribution of Anthony Caceres and the left flank raids of Mitch Austin in particular catching the eye. Fabio Ferreira would have far better served his team by following Austin’s lead in getting to the by-line at every opportunity, rather than cutting inside and effectively ending up in a cul de sac of his own creation.

Occasionally, things worked out for him, such as in the twentieth minute, when he combined with Storm Roux to present Nick Montgomery with a chance which was blocked by Andrew Durante. Two minutes later, Ferreira ran across the top of the box before unleashing a shot which Glen Moss smothered greedily.

In between these efforts, Caceres produced some delightful skill to beat three players on the edge of the penalty area, only to drag his shot past the post, while on the half-hour, the offside flag curtailed Roy O’Donovan’s celebrations, moments before a monsoon-like downpour swept in from the Tasman.

Six minutes before half-time, Moss took no chances when punching away a Liam Rose drive, four minutes after which Ferreira fired wide under pressure from the redoubtable Ben Sigmund, who was yet again his side’s anchor in stormy seas.

Both teams spurned chances to affect the scoreboard inside the first four minutes of the second spell. Caceres picked out Austin with a 47th minute free-kick to the far post, but the fleet-footed flank player struck the stanchion rather than the netting it supported.

Two minutes later, an awful attempted clearance by Central Coast defender Jake McGing ricocheted off Manny Muscat, who was already in nosebleed territory on the edge of the home team’s penalty area. From an acute angle, he smacked a rising drive narrowly over the bar.

The home team rode their luck around the hour mark, with Montgomery blocking a Bonevacia shot before Izzo saved at the feet of Krishna. The Fijian then led a counter-attack in which he picked out Bonevacia, who picked out a beauty from twenty-five yards – a screamer which Izzo, at full stretch, just managed to tip onto the post.

Had that gone in, Wellington would surely have gone on to record a victory which would have propelled them into a share of third spot. But they had to settle for ending the round in seventh place, a result of Central Coast producing a concerted effort to earn a deserved share of the spoils.

McGing headed a Caceres corner past the post in the 68th minute, while the in-roads made by Austin prompted an almighty scramble in Wellington’s goalmouth five minutes later.

Central Coast had but three minutes more to wait for their equaliser, and it came as no surprise to discover that Caceres was the architect – the quality of his passing and set-piece work in this match was excellent. This corner picked out the head of O’Donovan, and he fair rammed the ball home over the head of Moss to level the scores in the 76th minute.

That set up a stirring finale, with Moss requiring two attempts to keep out a Daniel Heffernan header nine minutes from time, three minutes after which Izzo saved well at the feet of Krishna after McGlinchey and Alex Rufer had combined to good effect.

Krishna was in again two minutes later, this time thanks to Bonevacia’s pass, and he initially had the beating of Izzo. But the ‘keeper eventually prevailed, as did Moss in stoppage time, tipping the ball over the bar after another Caceres corner had caused consternation in Wellington’s rearguard.

Central Coast will probably be wondering how they failed to win this match, as they certainly had their chances to do so, aided in part by Wellington easing off after their dominant opening stanza brought them one goal, and very nearly another.

In the end, the result was about right, but thank heavens there will be the best part of a week before we get to hear referee Chris Beath’s whistle again – without question, the soundtrack to this match.

Match details

Crowd: 6,460

Central Coast Mariners FC: 1. Paul IZZO (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Josh ROSE, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 6.Mitch AUSTIN (20.Anthony KALIK 82’), 7.Fabio FERREIRA (19.Josh BINGHAM 72’), 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (C), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 10.Anthony CACERES,16.Liam ROSE (14.Daniel HEFFERNAN 56’), 21.Michael NEILL, 22.Jake McGING
Unused substitutes: 30.Adam PEARCE (GK), 23.Eddy BOSNAR

Yellow cards: O’Donovan 9’; Red Card: Nil

Coach: Tony Walmsley

Wellington Phoenix FC: 1. Glen MOSS (gk), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 3.Justin GULLEY (16.Louis FENTON 76’), 4.Roly BONEVACIA (23.Matthew RIDENTON 75’), 7.Jeffrey SARPONG (14.Alex RUFER 45’), 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ, 10.Michael MCGLINCHEY, 13.Albert RIERA, 18.Ben SIGMUND, 21.Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c)

Unused substitutes: 20.Lewis ITALIANO (GK), 12.Blake POWELL
Yellow cards: Bonevacia 6’, Sigmund 36’; Red Card: Nil

Coach: Ernie Merrick

Ratings and points

Referee 3/10 – Chris Beath
Match  5/10
Pitch  7/10

3.  Anthony Caceres (CCM)
2.  Ben Sigmund (WP)
1.  Mitchell Austin (CCM)

By Jeremy Ruane
Photo:  Corinthian