Scoreless stalemate brings year to a close

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

Hyundai A-League – Season 13 – 2017/2018 – Round 12
7pm, 31st December, 2017 – Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Central Coast Mariners FC 0
drew with
Wellington Phoenix FC 0

 

Central Coast Mariners and Wellington Phoenix, two of the least prolific scoring teams in this season’s Hyundai A-League, unsurprisingly produced a scoreless New Year’s Eve draw at Central Coast Stadium to bring the year to a close in far from memorable fashion.

The visitors enjoyed the better of the chances, but found Ben Kennedy to be equal to the best they could throw at him. The ‘keeper tipped a Roy Krishna grasscutter round the post in the third minute, then grabbed a header from the fit-again Fijian nine minutes later, as Wellington looked to strike on the counter-attack.

This followed the second of two Central Coast raids, both of which could have seen them opening the scoring. The first was sparked by Wout Brama’s defence-splitting pass in the seventh minute, which allowed Asdrubal to play in Connor Pain, who, instead of shooting, squared the ball across goal, only to discover no one in a striped shirt was on hand to turn it home.

Five minutes later, Asdrubal and Pain combined again, this time prompting Lewis Italiano to dash out of goal and block with his legs at the feet of the speedster, who hurdled the prone ‘keeper. Following in was Daniel De Silva, but he was unable to readjust his footing in time, allowing the recovering figure of Italiano to gather the ball and spark Wellington’s afore-mentioned counter-attack.

In the seventeenth minute, Wellington produced a tidy raid sparked by Daniel Mullen’s break out of defence. He released Michael McGlinchey down the right, from where he pulled the ball back to Matthew Ridenton.

His shot was blocked, but Andrija Kaludjerovic latched onto the rebound and forced a sprawling fingertip save from Kennedy, who tipped the effort round the post to keep the home team on level terms.

They came within inches of opening the scoring three minutes later. Brama again supplied the telling pass, this time releasing Pain down the left, from where he whipped in a cross to the near post which Asdrubal was poised to convert until the recalled Andrew Durante poked the ball off the striker’s toe to safety.

After Goran Paracki had sent a thirty yarder sizzling narrowly over the bar, a splendid one-two twixt Krishna and Kaludjerovic just after the half-hour mark opened up Central Coast’s defence.

The Fijian raced through the inside left channel before pulling the ball behind the defence for Kaludjerovic, who unselfishly squared it to the fast-arriving figure of Ridenton. From eight yards, he skied his shot badly – an awful miss, but one which probably sums up Wellington’s season to date.

In the shadows of the half-time whistle, Kennedy was twice more called upon to keep the home team on level terms. Krishna and Ridenton were the players denied, either side of a Central Coast raid which culminated in Asdrubal going down a little too easily in an effort to fool referee Daniel Elder into awarding a penalty, something in which the official wasn’t even remotely interested.

Three minutes into the second spell, Central Coast came close to opening the scoring via a charging run from Andrew Hoole and a complimentary overlapping run by Jake McGing, whose driven low cross to the near post found De Silva darting in on cue. Italiano grabbed it off his toes at the vital moment.

Sadly, that was the only noteworthy incident of the first twenty-five minutes of the second spell, which swiftly turned to custard creativity-wise, and made it very much a damp squib from a New Year’s Eve perspective – the fireworks were most definitely missing from this fixture!

The introduction of Storm Roux brought the home team to life from an attacking perspective, the All Whites’ fullback lashing a twenty-yarder wide eighteen minutes from time, to which McGlinchey responded instantly via a low drive narrowly past Kennedy’s right-hand post.

Roux ignited another Mariners’ raid in the 75th minute, linking with De Silva before Pain was presented with the chance to let fly. Italiano spilled his shot, but managed to retrieve possession under pressure.

Only a vital flicked clearance by Mullen prevented substitute Blake Powell from scoring against his old club nine minutes from time, before a dazzling run through five challengers by Kwabena Appiah-Kubi was only foiled at the death by Durante’s timely intervention.

Italiano then thwarted Powell in stoppage time after spilling a corner in front of the 9,110 spectators who sat through this uninspiring spectacle, one which it’s hoped the nearby 9pm fireworks show more than made up for.

Match details

Crowd: 9,110

Central Coast Mariners FC: Kennedy (gk); McGing, Baro, Golec, Rowles (Roux, 68); Hiariej, De Silva, Brama; Hoole (Appiah-Kubi, 77), Asdrubal (Powell, 68), Pain

Coach: Paul Okon

Wellington Phoenix FC: Italiano (gk); Mullen, Durante, Rossi (booked, 24) (Fox, 87); Galloway, Paracki, Ridenton (Singh, 90), Doyle; Krishna (Parkhouse, 79), McGlinchey, Kaludjerovic

Coach:  Darije Kalezić

Referee: Daniel Elder 6/10

Ratings and points

Match 3/10
Pitch 7/10

Players points:

3. Kennedy
2. Krishna
1. Brama