The Central Coast Mariners battled hard against likely Minor Premiers, Sydney FC at Allianz stadium but an early Filip Holosko goal was enough to earn the Sky Blues a narrow 1-0 win in Hyundai A-League Round 23
Sydney FC 1 (Holosko 8’) Central Coast Mariners 0
The Run Down
It was a first half that saw Sydney FC take an early advantage through Holosko when a precision ball from Michael Zullo set the scene for a close-range volley. The Slovakian volleyed home from point blank, giving Necevski no chance to make a save in the 8th minute.
Just one minute before the Mariners went agonisingly close to taking the lead when Kwabena Appiah fired from the edge of the six-yard-box but Danny Vukovic was positioned well to block his near post.
But the Mariners weren’t without their chances in the first half who found space on the flanks through Appiah on the right and Fabio Ferreira from number 10 who managed to break through the Sydney backline on several occasions.
The best chance of the opening stanza came via a Storm Roux cross from the right side. The right-back whipped in a dangerous ball that found the head of Ferreira who couldn’t manage to generate enough power to beat Vukovic.
Just before half time the Mariners went close with an attack from the right side, again from Roux. This time the ball was directed to the head of Roy O’Donovan at the near post who flicked his header to the back post where Josh Bingham was lurking but the ball was just cleared before he could volley home.
The second half settled with both teams waiting patiently for an opening and the Yellow & Navy could sniff an equaliser.
The big talking point came in the 75th minute when Liam Rose was ruled, very harshly, to have fouled Bernie Ibini in the box which awarded Sydney with a penalty.
Ibini stepped up to the spot kick that he won and Ivan Necevski went the right way and his big left glove kept the Mariners in the contest and ultimately earned him man of the match plaudits. Necevski made several crucial saves in the dying stages – including another with his left hand to thwart a one-on-one strike from Bobo and a big diving save to block a Brandon O’Neill free kick.
With Hyundai A-League round 23 being a split round, the Mariners have next weekend off before hosting Adelaide United at Central Coast Stadium on Saturday March 25.
1-0 Sydney: Filip Holosko 8’
After Appiah went inches from scoring at the other end, Zullo made space on the left to send in a cross. His ball to the back post was perfectly placed for Holosko to volley home at point blank.
Paolo in the press
“In the end it wasn’t enough but that’s certainly not through lack of effort or intention,” Okon said. “A few weeks ago everyone was throwing their arms up about the results of Australian teams in the Asian Champions League but I think if you’re going to deliver a pitch like that we’ve got bigger problems – that was embarrassing. I haven’t been in Europe for a long time but I don’t think that happens, where another sport plays 24 hours before the game. You just had to walk through that middle corridor of the pitch and you could tell that it was impossible to play football.
“That’s not the reason why we didn’t win, I’m not having a whinge. certainly, after giving away a sloppy goal, Sydney is the best structured team when they don’t have the ball so it was always going to be difficult to make our way forward in a controlled manner without risking losing the ball with it bouncing.
“We turned it over far too often in the first half. We got into a spell just before half time where we got into dangerous areas and looked more dangerous and that was off the back of our playing style.
“In the second half Sydney are in control even though they don’t have the ball, they’re winning 1-0 and in the end, they may have gotten one or two more in the second half so no complaints with the result.
“It’s great to have [a goalkeeping selection headache] Paul Izzo has been very good this season and Ivan Necevski is a big reason as to why Paul’s been good because he’s been pushing him. I’m really happy for Ivan, he’s waited patiently and it’s never easy to come back to your old team in an important game and he really stepped up.
“In the off season we will assess our year and make the necessary decisions where we must strengthen but I think every A-League team will do that. I said at the start that every player will be given an opportunity – we have a number of players off contract and in the coming weeks we will look at what needs to be done and I can guarantee that we will be better next season,” Okon said.
Sydney FC: 20.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 4.Alex WILKINSON, 5.Jordy BUIJS, 6.Joshua BRILLANTE, 7.Michael ZULLO, 9.BOBÔ (18.Matt SIMON 82’), 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 13.Brandon O’NEILL, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 21.Filip HOLOSKO (11.Bernie IBINI, 69’), 23.Rhyan GRANT
Subtitutes not used: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 17.David CARNEY
Yellow cards: nil
Central Coast Mariners: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO (5.Harry ASCROFT 80’), 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 17.Josh BINGHAM (11.Connor PAIN 62’), 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 13.Kwabena APPIAH (12.Trent BUHAGIAR 79’), 16.Liam ROSE, 22.Jake McGING
Substitutes not used: 30,Adam PEARCE & 14.Adam BERRY
Yellow cards: Montgomery 86’
Friday 10 March, 2017
Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Sydney FC vs. Central Coast Mariners
Referee: Shaun Evans