A lone first half strike to Connor Pain from distance was enough for the Central Coast Mariners to claim a 1-0 win over the Wellington Phoenix in a pre-season match at Pluim Park.
Central Coast Mariners 1 (Pain 7’) Wellington Phoenix 0
The Run Down
In a valuable pre-season hit out for the Mariners where the Yellow & Navy delivered a dominant performance, the Mariners created chance after chance which left Mariners fans feeling like their side should have finished with more than just the one goal.
Asdrubal earned his first start for the Mariners, Alan Baro donned the captain’s armband and the midfield combo of Daniel De Silva, Wout Brama and Tom Hiariej continued to build from strength-to-strength.
The home team were off to a flying start when three of their most dangerous attackers all chipped in to a very tidy goal. De Silva’s fancy footwork created enough time for a short pass to Asdrubal, the Spanish striker then played to Pain on the edge of the box.
In just the seventh minute of play, Pain fired with the inside of his right foot giving the Wellington keeper no chance to make a save and the Mariners a very early 1-0 lead.
Wellington returned with a series of attacks, Gui Finkler creating a few tense moments for the Central Coast defence, but defensive team work from the likes of Baro, Antony Golec and a sharp save from Glover ensured that the visitors went unrewarded.
Pain continued to look dangerous on the left wing and a powerful shot in the 33rd minute flew across the box to worry the Phoenix but unfortunately no one was on hand to fire home.
The Mariners continued their strong attacking play throughout the remainder of the first half but just couldn’t find the finishing touch to double their 1-0 lead before the break.
The Central Coast maintained their attaching mindset as they returned to the pitch for the second half. Half time substitute Josh Bingham made an immediate impact, working with Kwabena Appiah to keep the pressure on the Wellington defence.
As the Mariners starved Wellington for possession, frustratrion crept in and Finkler was awarded a yellow card for his late challenge in the middle of the park. As the match went on, Phoenix couldn’t make their mark on the scoreboard, despite strong chances from Kaludjerovic and Watson. Substitue goalkeeper Kennedy proved invaluable, neutralising the Phoenix attacking effort with some impressive saves.
Appiah proved a danger to the Phoenix again and again, bringing the Mariners within inches of scoring with a close range attack and a powerful header that went just over the crossbar.
A shot from Hiariej in the 68th minute gave Phoenix keeper reason to stretch, but the Dutchman’s strike flew just beyond the far post. Andrew Hoole also proved to be another attacking powerhouse for the home team after substituting on in the second half.
An exciting but ultimately scoreless second half ensured a 1-0 win for the Central Coast Mariners at full time.
7’ PAIN GOAL (1-0): What a start it was by the Central Coast Mariners when the attacking trio of Asdrubal, De Silva and Pain combined. When the ball found the feet of Pain, the dangerous right winger still had plenty to do. With little hesitation, Pain steadied himself before firing a bullet into Italiano’s bottom corner.
Paolo in the press
“Tonight, was a really good hit out, as we expected,” Okon said. “At this time of pre-season you want to be matching up against other A-League teams and that’s exactly what we did tonight.
“I thought the performance was excellent, we were really energetic when we didn’t have the ball and that’s an area we talk about a lot. With the ball, I think we created enough opportunities to score more than one but at the end we come away getting important minutes into the legs and no injuries.
“Tonight it was great for Asdrubal to get his first start, he was full of energy and linked up well with the front three. It was a really positive performance and hopefully there’s more of that to come.
“Kwabena Appiah is a nightmare for any opposition player, he doesn’t give you a second to rest. He’s on the right path, he’s a player who can play anywhere in the front line and I really see him being an important player for us.
“There’s competition everywhere. For me it’s not a problem, it’s what we need. If we have that competition than we know we’re going to be a strong team and it’s about winning football games so we need everyone to play their part.
“Last season when teams muscled up on us we struggled to go with them and now with Tom Hiariej and Wout Brama, they give us that steel in the midfield. Everyone else feeds off that which really helps.
“I for one know what Daniel [De Silva] is going to deliver for us. What’s important for him is that we introduce him gradually. There is that temptation to give him more minutes but he had 45 on the Gold Coast, 60 tonight so hopefully for round one he is as fit as everyone else. We’re looking to Daniel for 27 games, not for just one or two games,” Okon said.
Central Coast Mariners: 18.Tom GLOVER (GK) (1.Ben Kennedy 45’), 5.Antony GOLEC, 15.Alan BARO, 6.Tom HIARIEJ, 13.Kwabena APPIAH (12. Trent Buhagiar 74’), 11.Connor PAIN, 21.Kye ROWLES (2. Storm Roux 61’) 4.Jake McGING (16. Liam Rose, 61’), 10.Daniel De SILVA (7. Andrew Hoole, 61’), 23.Wout BRAMA (14. Adam Berry 74’), 9.ASDRUBAL (17. Josh Bingham 45’)
Head Coach: Paul Okon
Wellington Phoenix: 20. Lewis ITALIANO (30. Oli Sail 45’), 2. Daniel MULLEN, 3. Scott GALLOWAY, 4.Goran PARACKI, 7.Gui FINKLER( 14. Alex Rufer 81’), 8.Dario VIDOSIC, 10.Michael MCGLINCHEY, 11. Hamish WATSON (9. Andrija Kaludjerovic 61’) 18.Sarpreet SINGH (13. Marco Rossi 73’) 19.Tom DOYLE (15. James McGarry 73’), 21.Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (17. Ali Abbas 73’
Head Coach: Darije Kalezić
Tuesday, 12 September 2017
Pluim Park, Lisarow
Central Coast Mariners vs. Wellington Phoenix