Central Coast Mariners will sit in sixth place on the Hyundai A-League ladder this Christmas after Phil Moss’ men suffered a 2-0 defeat to NSW rivals Western Sydney Wanderers at Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta on Monday.
Central Coast Mariners will sit in sixth place on the Hyundai A-League ladder this Christmas after Phil Moss- men suffered a 2-0 defeat to NSW rivals Western Sydney Wanderers at Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta on Monday.
First half goals to Tomi Juric and Youssouf Hersi earned the Red & Black all three competition points infront of a boisterous crowd of 15,786 supporters at the venue often referred to simply as ‘Wanderland-.
Urged on by their vociferous support, Wanderers started the game brightly with shots from Hersi and Japanese maestro Shinji Ono aimed at the Mariners- goal in the opening minutes of the match.
Michael McGlinchey, who is now confirmed to be heading to J.League outfit Vegalta Sendai on a season long loan from mid-January, bent an effort just wide of Ante Covic-s woodwork in the 15th minute following a classy move involving Marcos Flores and Daniel McBreen.
But Western Sydney would take the lead just five minutes after McGlinchey-s foray forward through quite brilliant play from Juric. After Iacopo La Rocca-s strike took a wicked deflection, Juric leapt and cracked a stunning overhead kick beyond Liam Reddy from six yards to give the Wanderers the advantage.
Keen to restore parity to the contest the Mariners created two good chances to score in the 23rd and 26th minutes respectively. First Josh Rose made a good run forward before seeing his strike deflected away for a corner, before Flores went within a whisker of finding the net. Only desperate, goal line defending by former Socceroo Matthew Spiranovic denied the Argentine ace his first goal for Central Coast from open play.
Wanderers extended their lead in the 33rd minute through the boot of the impressive Hersi. Receiving the ball wide on the right, Ono sent an inch perfect low cross into the box which the Dutch-Ethiopian rocketed into the back of the net at the first time of asking.
Juric had a chance to grab his second and Wanderers- third in first half stoppage time, however good keeping from Central Coast custodian Reddy kept the youngster at bay.
The two teams continued to share the opportunities after the interval with Western Sydney-s German right back Jerome Polenz coming closest in the early stages of the half. In the 54th minute the former Union Berlin defender latched on to a well weighted cross from the left, only to see his audacious volley fly wide.
Moss introduced pacey attacker Mitchell Duke into the game with half an hour to play and Duke almost had an instant impact on proceedings. Receiving the ball in the box less than a minute after he was subbed in, Duke swivelled before sending a low strike at goal. Covic, however, wouldn-t be beaten as he showed cat-like reflexes to claim Duke-s attempt.
While the Mariners toiled and stayed committed through to the end, they could not quite manage to fashion many more obvious opportunities to reduce the deficit created by the efforts of Juric and Hersi in the first 45.
Indeed, the final clear-cut chance of the clash fell to Wanderers marksman Labinot Haliti in second half added time, however he saw his low strike from the edge of the area cannon off Reddy-s legs.
Despite tasting defeat to Tony Popovic-s charges, Central Coast Mariners boss Moss preferred to look on the bright side following the game, noting that his team had performed stronger in the second stanza courtesy of some “honest words” at half time.
“I was very happy with the reaction second half,” Moss said. “We had some good honest words at half time, and I thought the boys showed some real character second half.”
“(But) the first thing we need to do is improve with the ball and make sure we stop shipping cheap goals.”
“We have to tighten up but it-s not a structural problem, it-s a transitional problem. We-re coughing the ball up too cheaply and not getting a chance to get our defensive structure in place early enough.”
Moss was clear that his team needed to maintain its famed spirit leading into the mid-way points of Hyundai A-League season nine.
“We-ve just got to keep forging forward, keep the belief and stick together, and we will,” he said.
Central Coast Mariners will have the chance to return to the winner's list on Tuesday 31 December when Perth Glory visit Gosford-s Bluetongue Stadium for the Club-s annual New Year-s Eve fixture. Kick-off is 6:00pm with tickets from www.Ticketek.com.au and fireworks over the Brisbane Water following the match at 9:00pm.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (Juric 20-, Hersi 33-) Central Coast Mariners FC 0 Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta
Central Coast Mariners FC: 12. Liam REDDY (Gk), 2. Daniel MCBREEN (19. Matthew SIMON 77-), 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Marcel SEIP, 7. John HUTCHINSON (C), 8. Nick MONTGOMERY, 10. Marcos FLORES (9. Mitchell DUKE 61-), 14. Michael MCGLINCHEY, 15. Storm ROUX, 16. Trent SAINSBURY, 21. Mile STERJOVSKI (11. Nick FITZGERALD 30-) Substitutes not used: 1. Justin PASFIELD (Gk), 5. Zachary ANDERSON Yellow cards: Montgomery, Rose Red cards: Nil
Western Sydney Wanderers FC: 1. Ante COVIC (Gk), 3. Adam D-APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (C), 6. Jerome POLENZ, 8. Mateo POLJAK, 9. Tomi JURIC (7. Labinot HALITI 68-), 12. Tahj MINNIECON (14. Kwabena APPIAH-KUBI 53-), 13. Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 17. Youssouf HERSI, 18. Iacopo LA ROCCA, 21. Shinji ONO (23. Jason TRIFIRO 73-) Substitutes not used: 20. Jerrad TYSON (Gk), 22. Dean HEFFERNAN Yellow cards: D-Apuzzo, Juric, Poljak Red cards: Nil
Attendance: 15,786 Referee: Strebre DELOVSKI