A late goal to super sub’ Jake McGing looked certain to seal a hard-fought point for the Central Coast Mariners but a heartbreaking winner to Matt Simon saw the Champions snatch three points with almost the final kick off the game.
Central Coast Mariners 1 (McGing 83’) Sydney FC 2 (Ninkovic 32’ & Simon 9 + 3’)
The run down
In an evenly placed match, both teams struggled to get a foot hold and it was the Mariners who looked like they were going to come home with a wet sail as the rain started to fall in the second half at Gosford.
It was a quiet opening 30 minutes of play, with the Mariners best chance of the match coming from a combination between Andrew Hoole & Danny De Silva in the box.
Brazilian striker, Bobo created the first opportunity for Sydney FC when his close range one-on-one opportunity was well saved by Ben Kennedy.
But then, in the 32nd minute the away side scored the only goal of the first half thanks to a Milos Ninkovic header. The Mariners were forced to play the second half without De Silva who was replaced by Trent Buhagiar due to a hamstring injury.
The second half took some time to come to life and Sydney FC had the first clear cut chance when a perfect through ball found a charging Bobo. With just Kennedy to beat, Bobo put his shot wide from close range.
That chance would be enough to spur on a flurry of chances to the Mariners who mounted pressure on the Sydney FC defence. Then, it was super sub’ McGing who did the damage in the 83rd minute to set up a grandstand finish at Central Coast Stadium.
McGing’s goal brought Gosford to life and the fans edged their team home who looked determined to push on for the winner. But 10 minutes after McGing’s goal, it was a former Mariner who made his presence known at the back post to claim it for the Sky Blues.
The Mariners’ full focus now turns to Hyundai A-League round 25 where they travel to Brisbane to take on the Roar.
32’ NINKOVIC (0-1): A pin point ball in from the right by Paulo Retre found the head of Ninkovic who was on hand to head home from just outside the six-yard-box.
83’ McGING (1-1): After a raft of Mariners’ opportunities it was Jake McGing who capitaised in the final 10 minutes of play. Pain slipped a tidy ball through to Wout Brama who then whipped the ball to the back post where McGing was positioned perfectly to fire home the equaliser.
93’ SIMON (1-2): A looping ball to the back post proved too hard for the Mariners’ defence to deal with and Matt Simon was on hand to capitalise and head home and claim three points.
Sully’s Say – Wayne O’Sullivan’s Press Conference
“That was a disappointing result given the boys gave so much in that second half,” O’Sullivan said. “They literally gave everything they had in the tank. To lose that way is always heartbreaking but to finish like that so strong in the second half and still lose that way is disappointing for the boys.
“At half time we adjusted up slightly with our structure and tried to get our wingbacks a little bit higher because in the first half we were a little bit hesitant to come forward. So we pushed people through the lines and in the second half the boys were brave with it, they did a good job and as we started to get more territory they gained more confidence.
“Clearly when you are where we are, confidence isn’t easy to come by but I thought in the second half the boys were really brave and almost got what they probably deserved in the second half.
“The risk to Danny at half time was high. He felt something so we made the decision to take him off because we don’t want him to be out for more than a game,” O’Sullivan said.
Central Coast Mariners: 1.Ben KENNEDY(gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Josh ROSE, 7.Andrew HOOLE, 10.Danny De SILVA (12.Trent BUHAGIAR 45’), 11.Connor PAIN, 15.Alan BARO (c), 16.Liam ROSE (4.Jake McGING 72’), 21.Kye ROWLES, 22.Jacob MELLING (24.Lachlan WALES 67’), 23.Wout BRAMA
Substitutes not used: 18.Tom GLOVER,, 8.Blake POWELL
Yellow Cards: Baro 16’
Sydney FC: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 4.Alex WILKINSON, 5.Jordy BUIJS, 8.Paulo RETRE, 9.BOBÔ (4.Jake McGING 83’), 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 11.Adrian MIERZEJEWSKI,13.Brandon O’NEILL, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c) (17.David CARNEY 70’), 19.Chris ZUVELA, 26.Luke WILKSHIRE
Substitutes not used: 20.Aleksander CISAK, 3.Ben WARLAND, 12.Fabio FERREIRA
Yellow Cards: nil
Saturday, 24 March 2018 Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Central Coast Mariners vs. Sydney FC