Kwabena Appiah came on as a substitute against Adelaide United to score his maiden Hyundai A-League goal in his 11th appearance for the Mariners which proved to be a match winner.
In his 11 appearances with the Mariners that includes two starts, Appiah has been desperate to find the back of the net and that chance came begging which he took with both hands in Canberra on Sunday afternoon.
Appiah, who started his professional football career with the Central Coast Mariners Foxtel National Youth League team in 2011 said that scoring his first Hyundai A-League goal in a Yellow & Navy kit made it all the more special.
The 24-year-old was a part of the Mariners Foxtel National Youth League squad that won the 2011/12 competition and said that ever since he left the club it has always held a special place in his heart.
“It’s something special, you know,” Appiah said. “I’ve always had something for this club. When I left after the youth team I still kept in touch with the boys here and even the staff here as well so this club means a lot to me and I’m happy to get my first goal, especially for the Mariners,” Appiah said.
In sweltering Canberra conditions Appiah substituted on in the 65th minute for Trent Buhagiar and made an immediate impact, scoring a goal that would eventually be the match winner less than 15 minutes after stepping onto the pitch.
“I was a bit buggered by then,” Appiah said. “It was really, really hot and I couldn’t catch my second wind. The ball was in the air and Monty started screaming at me saying ‘Kabsy just take it and run,’ so I kind of had no choice. I tried setting up Bingaz [Josh Bingham] and fortunately enough it fell to me and I just put my foot through it,” Appiah said.
The former Western Sydney Wanderer Asian Champions League Player of the Year and Wellington Phoenix speedster has featured in 52 Hyundai A-League games and was starting to think he may have been cursed. With the “monkey off his back” Appiah hopes that the floodgates will now open.
“Yeah, way too long, way too long,” Appiah said. “I started to think I was cursed, I was going to start going to a psychiatrist to see if there was something wrong with me. I just couldn’t believe that I scored and I’m happy to have got the monkey off my back”
“Yeah, definitely, hopefully that will open the floodgates. I’ll see if I can hopefully get a few more goals. We’ve got nine games left so plenty of time there to get to the target that I wanted to achieve at the start of the season
“If you don’t keep the faith then what else do you have? I’ve got to be honest. I kind of did lose a bit of faith here and there but I guess perseverance paid off.
“It’s always good to help the team out. Coming on as a sub’ is not an easy thing to do but Paolo’s put a lot of faith in me and coming on and helping us get the three points and first back to back wins in a long time is a great feeling,” Appiah said.
When asked about the performance of Paul Izzo, Appiah couldn’t praise the shotstopper high enough and also credited the competition for places in the Mariners’ front third.
“Yeah he’s feeling fine,” Appiah said. “The guy’s a legend, an absolute freak of a keeper. He’s been the sensation of the season. For me, the best player for us this season and I can’t be happier for him to be playing the way he’s playing this season.
“Yeh it’s very difficult to break into the starting side but it’s a good thing to have competition because if you have no competition then who’s going to push each other to get that spot? Me, Connor, Fab and Trent have all been doing the hard yards at training and it’s up to the coach to pick who starts on the wings and it’s good to give him a selection headache, I guess,” Appiah said.
Sitting just five points out of the top six, this Sunday the Mariners face sixth placed Western Sydney where a win could see them move to just two points behind them and lodge a late finals charge.
“Yeah finals are still in our sights, 100%,” Appiah said. “If we get three points this weekend against Western Sydney Wanderers who have come off the back of a top win against Wellington, we’ll only be two points off and that’s when we can start thinking we can really make something happen,” Appiah said.
‘Kabsy’ as he is affectionately known dedicated his Batman goal celebration to his 10-year-old brother!
“My brother, he’s only ten years old and we were watching Batman the other week and Bane’s apparently his favourite character so it was kind of a little tribute to him,” Appiah said.