Central Coast Mariners 1 (Pain 58’) Melbourne Victory 1 (George 66’)
The run down
The Central Coast Mariners have played out a 1-1 draw with Melbourne Victory thanks to stunning strikes to Connor Pain & Victory’s Leroy George at Central Coast Stadium.
Pain was back to haunt his former club with a sensational opener and almost took the headlines completely when his second strike hammered into the woodwork that would have given his side all three points.
But the Mariners and Victory would finish the 90 minutes on even terms in a match that the home side went agonisingly close to claiming with a flurry of chances in the dying stages.
A crazy start to the match saw both teams with a chance in just the first minute of play. George played Mark Milligan who shot from close range but Tom Glover made an impressive save to keep the scores locked. The Mariners returned serve straight away with a counter of their own which resulted in a set piece opportunity that Victory defended well.
Just moments later there was a defensive mix up that saw Danny De Silva almost steal the ball from goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas but the away team escaped unpunished.
The Mariners continued to impose themselves on the match with majority of possession and chances in the opening stages. The damage from the home side in pink was being done predominantly on the right side through Storm Roux who broke free on numerous occasions.
But it was Andrew Hoole’s ball from the right that went closest to putting the Mariners on the scoresheet who ran onto a through ball from Roux. In the 24th minute Hoole’s ball flew into the area but Thomas Deng reached just in time to clear for a corner.
The final 15 minutes of the first half saw the Victory edge themselves back into the contest, earning more possession and time in the front third but both teams went into the sheds locked at 0-0.
Unfortunately for the Mariners, they would be without Roux in the second half who left the field in the final minute of the first half with an ankle injury to be replaced by Jake McGing.
Victory came out of the blocks flying in the second half and went close to taking the lead when Troisi broke on the left before playing Barbarouses but the shot was wide.
But from then on, it was all Mariners and the team in pink hit the lead in the 58th minute when Pain cut in from the left and let rip on a stunning shot that flew into the top corner.
Less than 10 minutes later, George levelled the scores for Victory with a precision free-kick.
With 25 minutes left to play, the Mariners threw everything they had at Muscat’s Melbourne Victory and looked certain to claim three points at home.
In the 72nd minute, Pain put his laces through a powerful volley that looked bound for the top corner, but sent the goalposts shaking when it bounced off the apex.
Then, in the dying stages substitute Kwabena Appiah rounded Thomas before pulling the trigger on what looked to be the winner. Appiah’s shot also thumped off the upright and the score stayed locked at 1-1.
With almost the final play of the game in the 95th minute a cross came in from the right to Appiah who connected well with a header but Thomas was on hand to make a save.
The Central Coast Mariners focus now turns to next Sunday’s away fixture against Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium.
58’ PAIN (1-0): After some very patient build up by the Mariners, the ball found its way to Pain on the left. Pain cut in, giving himself enough time to shoot in stunning fashion. His strike flew straight into the top corner, giving Thomas no chance to make a save.
66’ GEORGE GOAL (1-1): Melbourne Victory responded with a set piece. George stepped up to the dead ball and curled it straight into Glover’s top corner.
Paolo in the press
“No-one probably would have begrudged us if we had of won it in the end,” Okon said. “We had some really, really good chances to score. An open goal. Sometimes they go in and tonight it hits the post.
“Performance wise I am happy for the players and I think both teams really turned it on tonight.
“That’s probably the closest we’ve come to a complete 95+ minutes which is why we were in a really good chance of winning. We knew Melbourne Victory would come at us hard, they still haven’t won their first game and they are a team that likes to really lift the tempo and try to muscle you out of it but I think we held our own and throughout the game played some really good football.
“Everyone who goes out there in a Mariners jersey has earned the right. Kabsy [Kwabena Appiah] came on and could have won it in the end with an open goal and a header. It wasn’t easy for Jake McGing to come on a minute before half time so everyone contributes.
“I was asked about the defensive performance. We’ve had some moments in games where we’ve made some bad decisions which have cost us. I think throughout our four games our defence has done its job. Certainly tonight.
“Some people might say there are draws that feel like a loss and some feel like a win. I’m not sure how to take this one. Confidence and belief has not wavered, everyone is on board and we know that our first win will come but we want to make sure that we keep performing and working hard with the football we’re playing.
“Storm Roux got kicked in the ankle that he broke. Hopefully it’s not too bad, he’s been selected for New Zealand. He is unavailable for us for the next two weeks so hopefully he can travel and represent his country.
“That’s what Connor Pain can deliver. We spoke to Painy during the week and challenged him. We knew Melbourne Victory were coming and it’s never easy coming up against your old club. He scores a great goal, the one that could have gone in would have been an even better goal. His work rate was great, Geria hardly got forward. Painy had a job to do not only with the ball, but when we didn’t have the ball and he can be really proud of his performance,” Okon said.
Central Coast Mariners: 18.Tom GLOVER (gk), 2.Storm ROUX (4.Jake McGING 45’), 3.Josh ROSE, 5.Antony GOLEC, 6.Tom HIARIEJ, 7.Andrew HOOLE, 9.ASDRUBAL (17.Josh BINGHAM 90’), 10.Danny De SILVA, 11.Connor PAIN (13.Kwabena APPIAH 75’), 15.Alan BARO, 23.Wout BRAMA
Substitutes not used: 20.Adam PEARCE (gk) & 16.Liam ROSE
Yellow cards: Asdrubal 31’, Hoole 90’
Melbourne Victory: 20.Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 2.Jason GERIA, 4.Rhys WILLIAMS, 5. Mark MILLIGAN, 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.James TROISI, 11.Mitch AUSTIN (23.Jai INGHAM 70’), 14.Thomas DENG, 21.Carl VALERI (c) (18.Matias SANCHEZ 84’), 41. Leroy George (31.Christian THEOHAROUS 79’)
Substitutes not used: Yellow cards: 1.Matt ACTON (GK) & 22. Stefan NIGRO
Yellow cards: Deng 48’, Broxham 70’, Valeri 74’
Sunday, 29 October 2017
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Central Coast Mariners vs. Melbourne Victory