Magic of the FFA Cup arrives in Gosford

In it’s second instalment, the Westfield FFA Cup is capturing the imagination of the Australian football public with Hyundai A-League giants travelling the nation to mix with small suburban clubs consisting of part-timers.

After observing the buzz already generated by the knockout competition, Central Coast Mariners’ Head Coach Tony Walmsley is eagerly anticipating his side’s Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32 clash against the Wellington Phoenix at 7:30pm Tuesday night at Central Coast Stadium.  

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The match poses a tough challenge for the Central Coast, with Wellington coming off a Hyundai A-League finals appearance in 2014/15, however Walmsley believes the Mariners have the personnel and tactical approach to get past the Phoenix.

“What we do know about Wellington is they’re a good team, a top team. They’ve lost a bit of their cutting edge with Cunningham and Burns having moved on. It looks like former Mariner Kwabena Appiah will probably start for them, so we know what his attributes are,” Walmsley said.

“They’re going to be good, they get into pockets well, they’ve got Bonevacia and McGlinchey who are good technical players, very mobile.

“But we’ve got pace. We’ve got pace at the back and we’re going to continue working on our pressing game and we’re going to continue to be inventive and positive with the ball so it should be a good night.”

Walmsley cited new central defensive additions Harry Ascroft and Jake McGing as players to watch in this area, after seeing the pair impress at training and recent pre-season friendlies.

The ‘Gaffer’ went on to express his praise for the format of the Westfield FFA Cup, with its competitive nature providing a welcome challenge to build confidence in his squad ahead of the Hyundai A-League season.

 “[The Westfield FFA Cup] is an opportunity to build some belief. The coaching staff and the support staff have got a great belief in how the boys have been turning up, how they’ve presented at training,” Walmsley said.

“The FFA Cup’s an early opportunity to actually put some proof around what we think they’re capable of. If you get through the first round, which is our ambition, we don’t know where we’re going to play, we don’t know who we’re going to play against and there’s some excitement around that. It makes pre-season far more enjoyable than if we were just playing friendlies every week.”

In 2015, the Mariners will be looking to go one better than last year when they were eliminated by Adelaide United at the Semi-Final stage. 

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Tickets will be on-sale to the general public with adults paying $15, concessions $10, kids $5 or a family pass for $35*.

FFA Cup Provisional Squad (two to be omitted):

1.Paul IZZO (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Josh ROSE, 5.Harry ASCROFT, 6.Mitch AUSTIN, 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Nick FITZGERALD, 15.Matt SIM, 16.Liam ROSE, 17.Jake ADELSON (NYL), 20.Anthony KALIK, 21.Michael NEILL, 22.Jake MCGING, 23.Eddy BOSNAR, 30.Adam PEARCE (gk) (NYL)

Match details
Tuesday 11 August 2015

Match: Central Coast Mariners vs. Wellington Phoenix
Venue: Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Kick-off: 7:30pm (AEST)
Online Broadcast: Streamed online at FOX SPORTS and Apple TV via FOX SPORTS Now
Radio: Live on 96.3 Coast FM
Twitter: Join the match conversation using #CCMvWEL