The Mariners went agonisingly close to defeating Sydney FC at Central Coast Stadium on January 8 where they fell 3-2 and became the only team this season to score two goals against them in one match and still stand as the only team to score a second half goal against them in 2017.
After an impressive performance in front of more than 11 000 supporters, the Mariners put on a show against Sydney FC where Roy O’Donovan & Scott Galloway scored but the Mariners were left to rue a missed penalty and a dubious offside call that allowed Sydney to take home three points.
This week the Mariners players and supporters will look back on that performance fondly with the belief that they can do battle with the league leaders.
However, the suspension of Paul Izzo paves the way for Ivan Necevski or Adam Pearce to make a start in between the sticks against the potent attacking force of Sydney FC.
Sydney FC moved a step closer to the A-League Premiership last weekend, their 1-0 Big Blue triumph over second-placed Melbourne Victory opening an 11-point gap with just five games to play.
Paolo in the press
“You have less time to prepare with these short turnarounds but when we’ve experienced that this season we’ve always performed and picked up results,” Okon said. “We’re certainly not complaining – it’s a game that we’re looking forward to, it’s a game against the side who has been the benchmark in the competition in every aspect of the game this season.
“But we go down to Sydney, we certainly won’t be sitting back – we’re going to play the style of football we’ve been playing all season which will give us a chance of getting something from the game.
“Sometimes it’s better to have a quick turnaround after a loss but on Sunday I thought we were outstanding against Melbourne City and the only real disappointment was the result. Apart from that we were the dominant team. Watching that game you would not think we are in second last and they are in third spot because the difference was not there to be seen so we take confidence from that and know that we will need to have a similar performance with and without the ball if we want to take anything from this game against Sydney FC.
“We’re happy with the way we’re playing, we’ve improved a lot – we certainly have those attacking threats. Unfortunately, whenever we’ve made fundamental mistakes this season we’ve always paid.
“You know when you go to Sydney you need to play a mistake free game and have a little bit of luck but on top of that we know we can also play football so that’s what we will do.
“When you make a mistake Sydney counter so we need to make sure that we don’t over commit in those situations.
“This is a big test for our back four and probably a good measure of where our defence is and certainly for Posco & Rosey. If I were those two boys I would certainly be looking forward to this game to match up against Brosquey, Bobo, Ninkovic and Holosko – four players who have been in form for most of the season.
“There’s no lack of motivation, I haven’t had to say much. When we look back at our last game we all agreed that we should have won that game, we certainly shouldn’t have lost it and we consider Melbourne City to be one of the best teams in the competition,” Okon said.
FORM LINES (last five games)
- Sydney FC: DWLWW
- Mariners: WWLDL
Sydney FC squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 4.Alex WILKINSON, 5.Jordy BUIJS, 6.Joshua BRILLANTE, 7.Michael ZULLO, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.BOBÔ, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 11.Bernie IBINI, 12.Aaron CALVER, 13.Brandon O’NEILL, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 17.David CARNEY, 18.Matt SIMON, 19.George BLACKWOOD, 20.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 21.Filip HOLOSKO, 23.Rhyan GRANT
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 12.Aaron CALVER (promoted), 19.George BLACKWOOD (promoted)
Unavailable: 22.Seb RYALL (hamstring – 2-3 weeks)
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5.Harry ASCROFT, 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 13.Kwabena APPIAH, 14.Adam BERRY, 16.Liam ROSE, 17.Josh BINGHAM, 19.Jacques FATY, 21.Michael NEILL, 22.Jake McGING, 30.Adam PEARCE (gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 19.Jacques FATY (promoted), 21.Michael NEILL (promoted), 30.Adam PEARCE (gk)
Outs: 20.Paul IZZO (gk) (suspended 1 – match)
Unavailable: 10.Mickael TAVARES (ankle injury – indefinite), 23.Jake ADELSON (ACL – indefinite)
Hyundai A-League 2016/17 – Round 23
Friday 10 March 2017
Sydney FC vs. Central Coast Mariners
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Official hash-tags: #SYDvCCM & #CCMFC
TV Broadcast: Fox Sports 505 & SBS VICELAND
Radio Broadcast: 96.3 Coast FM & 92.5 ABC Central Coast