The Central Coast Mariners have recorded back-to-back wins for the first time under Head Coach Paul Okon thanks to strikes by Fabio Ferreira, Kwabena Appiah & a man of the match performance by Paul Izzo.
Central Coast Mariners 2 (Ferreira 37’ & Appiah 79’) Adelaide United 1 (O’Doherty 90+’)
The Run Down
It’s the second time the Mariners have faced Adelaide this season and both matches have ended 2-1 in favour of the Yellow & Navy. On a steamy afternoon in Canberra Okon’s men played out of their skin to earn a crucial three points.
Ferreira was the first one to feature on the score sheet with an impressive strike from distance in the first half before Appiah made his presence known off the bench to provide a one goal buffer with 10 minutes to go.
It was a cagey first half that saw both teams rocked by injury early. Blake Powell succumbed to a knee injury in the warm up which brought Josh Bingham onto the substitute list. Just on the half an hour mark Eugene Galekovic was substituted for John Hall in between the sticks who picked up a shoulder injury.
Despite the warm conditions, the weather didn’t look like it negatively impacted on the high tempo match that was played by both teams.
In the opening exchanges both teams traded blows and Trent Buhagiar created several chances on the right wing with his blistering pace.
It was the home team who had the best chance of the first half only to be pulled up by the linesman’s flag. Liam Rose made a marauding run from centre back and played a precision ball through the Reds’ defence which released Roy O’Donovan on goal.
With just the keeper to beat after making the perfect run, O’Donovan was pulled back by an offside call that replays showed may have been incorrect.
Adelaide came out firing in the second half and the Mariners shot stopper, Paul Izzo was called into action twice in the first 10 minutes who made two impressive saves to keep his side in front.
The Mariners would go on to hold their lead in the nation’s capital and result in the Yellow & Navy’s second consecutive win after last week’s 2-0 win over Perth Glory.
Full attention now turns to Hyundai A-League Round 19 that will see the Mariners travel to Western Sydney to face the Wanderers.
1-0 Mariners: Fabio Ferreira 37’
The Central Coast Mariners were the first team to strike in Canberra and it was Fabio Ferreira who netted for the third time against his old club. After some impressive build up on the right by Trent Buhagiar the young winger whipped in a precision cross. The cross brought Adelaide’s keeper, John Hall off his line to make a save from Connor Pain’s shot. The ball then fell to the feet of Ferreira who finished from distance.
2-0 Mariners: Kwabena Appiah 79’
The substitute of Appiah proved to be a game change. The 24-year-old lit the right wing up with his pace which started and finished the Mariners second goal of the night. After burning two Adelaide players for pace he whipped a cross into Bingham who’s shot was originally saved by Hall. Appiah waited on the edge of the box for the follow up and his strike was pin point.
2-1 Adelaide: Jordan O’Doherty 92’
The Reds failed to give up and that was evident when O’Doherty fired home from distance in stoppage time. O’Doherty’s shot with the inside of his foot curled into the top corner giving Izzo no chace.
Paolo in the press
“It feels good,” Okon said. “The last time we were here in round seven our performance wasn’t great so to come back here again and get three points is obviously great.
“We had to work hard, there were some tired legs out there – it was hot but in the end we probably could have scored a couple more goals to make the finale a little bit more relaxing.
“Before the game we spoke about not focusing on back-to-back wins or looking where we are on the ladder it was about playing the football we want to play, perform and hoping that delivers three points.
“Normally with negative results the belief starts to go a bit but that’s never wavered.
“When we’ve gone back and reviewed games we’ve seen moments where we were competitive and should have had more points so we’ve continued to work hard at training and fight as much as we can to change that.
“Izzo made a great save just before half time and in the second half of Cirio from three metres away and that can change a game. That’s what he’s there for and that’s why he’s one of the best young goalkeepers in the country.
“The finals are not something we even talk about. It’s two wins, two good performances and next week we face the Wanderers away which is a difficult fixture for any A-League team. We will go there with confidence, we will go there with a plan, work hard, play our football and see if that delivers us some points.
“Josh [Bingham] was actually not named on the bench due to the balance of the squad and it was a real uncomfortable conversation I had to have with him this week but I couldn’t let emotion get the better of me. It had to be what was best for the team, Josh accepted it like a professional. He, along with Kabs [Kwabena Appiah] did what a lot of our subs have done all season and that’s come on and change the game.
“We’re delighted for Kabs because he’s been around the A-League for a while now and that’s his first goal and we’re happy it was in a Mariners jersey. We know what he gives us when he comes off the bench, if you’re a defender I reckon he would be the last person you would want running at you.
“Kabs gets the reward for his hardwork and they’re the type of selection headaches the coach wants.
“Fabio was again brilliant tonight – he made a few assists that we could have scored from, he scores a great goal, that’s two in two weeks for him and that’s why we have him in that position,” Okon said.
“The only disappointing thing is that we didn’t’ score more, take our chances and kill the game off but we’ve got back to back wins which we haven’t done for I don’t know how many years. It’s a long drive home, we go back with three points in my pocket and I couldn’t be happier,” Okon said.
Central Coast Mariners: 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 4.jacob POSCOLIERO, 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 9.Roy O’DONOVAN (17.Josh BINGHAM 76’), 12.Trent BUHAGIAR (13.Kwabena APPIAH 65’), 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 11.Connor PAIN, 16.Liam ROSE, 22.Jake McGING
Substitutes not used: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI, 5.Harry ASCROFT, 14.Adam BERRY
Yellow cards: Poscoliero 73’
Subtitutes not used: 5.Taylor REGAN, 13.Marc MARINO, 16.Jesse MAKAROUNAS,
Sunday 5 February, 2017
GIO Stadium, Canberra
Central Coast Mariners vs. Adelaide United
Referee: Shaun Evans