Mariners wander to second

By Chris Dunkerley:

Hyundai A-League 2013/14 season, Round 25
5:30pm, Saturday 29 March, 2014 – Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Central Coast Mariners FC 2
(Joshua Rose 32‘, Bernie Ibini-Isei 90′)
drew with
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1
(Nikolai Topor-Stanley 40′)

Central Coast Mariners FC and Western Sydney Wanderers met again on Saturday evening in front of a crowd of 13,157.

In an exciting game it was the reigning Champions who shaded last year’s Premier’s by 2 goals to 1 after pulling the Wanderers apart late in the game.

The first half saw both sides looking for an early goal, with Mateo Poljak hitting one well over in the 2nd minute, while Mariners Kim Seung-yong’s 4th minute free-kick could have done some damage if his team-mates had been more switched on.

In the 26th minute he visitors had a good opportunity to take the lead with a firm rising strike from Aaron Mooy that alas hit the woodwork.

The Wanderers never like to have to chase the game, so a quick response was anticipated.

It looked like the Wanderers were starting to control the game, when Joshua Rose decided to take a solo goal; zig-zagging into the visitors final-third and steering the ball inside the far post with Ante Covic grasping. 1-0

After the break the home side tweeked their formation and pushed higher, and when retiring ex-Socceroo Mile Sterjovski was clapped from the field in the 56th minute, his substitute Bernie Ibini-Isei’s change of pace worried the Wanderers defence.

The Mariners had the best of the second-half chances, with repeat MOM (from round 1) Storm Roux hitting an angled screamer from the right in the 87th minute that forced Covic to parry, and he had to scramble to take the follow up strike from Mitchell Duke.

The yellow expanses of the crowd erupted when Bernie strided forward just on regular time to side-volley the ball past Ante Covic. 2-1

“I was obviously delighted with the performance first and foremost,” Mariners coach Phil Moss said post-match. “The three points is very handy at this time of the year, but I am just so proud of the players, they really deserve all the credit that’s coming their way.”

He continued, “I think tonight we made a statement that we’re here and that we’re here for keeps, and we can achieve whatever it is we want to achieve – if we can perform like that on the big stage against a quality side like Western Sydney. “No one deserves to be on the bench and no one deserves to be in the grandstand, every single player who is a Mariners player at the moment deserves to be in the starting eleven so it’s a very tough job every week picking the team and picking the bench.”

“The focus inside the dressing room is on the process and getting the little things right and if we do that week in week out then [positive] will be a by-product of that”, he added.

A big well done to both sets of fans who make it a colourful and loud spectacle in a safe family environment.

The Mariners seem to have just coasted in past weeks to second on the ladder after round 25, but with two rounds to go it will be a ding-dong battle for that coveted finals spot.

An Asian Champions League home game on Tuesday night against Beijing Guoan FC follows, with a trip to Perth for penultimate round 26 of the A-League next weekend.

Crowd: 13,157

Central Coast Mariners FC:
Player listing: 12. Liam REDDY (gk), 3. Joshua ROSE, 5. Zachary ANDERSON, 23. Eddy BOSNAR, 7. John HUTCHINSON (c), 17. Anthony CACERES (8. Nick MONTGOMERY +80′), 11. Nick FITZGERALD (9. Mitchell DUKE +67′), 15. Storm ROUX, 21. Mile STERJOVSKI (20. Bernie IBINI-Isei +56′), 19. Matt SIMON, 26. KIM Seung-yong
Substitutes not used: 1. Justin PASFIELD (rgk), 6. Brent GRIFFITHS, 4. Marcel SEIP
Coach: Phil Moss
Yellow Cards: John Hutchinson 61′, , Liam Reddy 90’+2
Red Cards: Nil

Western Sydney Wanderers FC:
Player listing: 1. Ante COVIC (gk), 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 5. Michael BEAUCHAMP (c), 6. Jerome POLENZ, 9. Tomi JURIC (11. Brendon SANTALAB +61’), 8. Mateo POLJAK, 10. Aaron MOOY (21. Shinji ONO +75’), 17. Youssouf HERSI (14. Kwabena APPIAH-KUBI 87′), 19. Mark BRIDGE, 18. Iacopo LA ROCCA, 22. Dean HEFFERNAN
Substitutes not used: 20. Jerrad TYSON (gk), 2. Shannon COLE
Yellow cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil

Rating and points:
Referee: Sebre Delovski 8/10
Assistants: Paul Cetrangelo, Nathan Macdonald; 4th official: Adam Gehrig
Pitch rating: 8/10
Game rating: 8/10

BOTN Player Points:
3. Storm Roux (CCM)
2. Aaron Mooy (WSW)
1. Joshua Rose (CCM)

By Chris Dunkerley

Photos: Lowenna Rappo for BOTN