The Central Coast Mariners took the lead twice in their first home match of 2018 but were forced to split the points with Melbourne City after goals to Alan Baro & Jake McGing were cruelly cancelled out by an equaliser at the death by City’s marquee man Marcin Budzinski.
Central Coast Mariners 2 (Baro 13’ & McGing 50’) Melbourne City 2 (McCormack 42’ & Budzinski 87’)
The run down
Budzinksi’s goal added to the first half strike from Ross McCormack which saw the first and second halves both end on even terms.
Both Mariners’ goals were a result of set pieces by homegrown hero, Lachie Wales who stepped up to set piece duties on his starting and Central Coast Stadium debut.
After some end-to-end action, the Mariners were handed a set piece opportunity on the right wing in the 13th minute. The ball in from Wales couldn’t have been better, finding the head of a City defender before deflecting off the crossbar and falling to Johnny-on-the-spot centre back, Alan Baro who poked it over the line
to give his side a 1-0 lead.
An exciting first half came to a head when Melbourne City’s Harrison Delbridge was shown red for a late challenge on Blake Powell, reducing the away side to 10-men.
But that wouldn’t deter the City attack, with McCormack levelling the scores just before half time with a tidy finish into Kennedy’s bottom corner.
Wales and Appiah out wide created several chances in the first half, with Asdrubal coming agonisingly close to finishing but the Yellow & Navy couldn’t double their lead before the break.
Dutch midfielder, Tom Hiariej let rip on an audacious strike from distance in the 37th minute. Hiariej’s strike was a laser beam, just sailing over Bouzanis’ crossbar.
With a one-man-deficit, City did enough to head into the break on even terms with the Mariners, shaping up for a big second half.
Five minutes into the second stanza, the Mariners took the lead back in similar fashion to their first goal. Wales whipped in another impressive cross that was headed off the crossbar by Powell before McGing expertly lobbed his header over the line to make it 2-1.
In the final twenty minutes the Mariners had multiple occasions to put the game to bed, but they just couldn’t seem to find that killer blow.
The best chance of the second half fell to Asdrubal who skipped away from defenders in the 68th minute, looking certain to score. Just before he could manage a shot, he was pick pocketed for possession by City defender Michael Jakobsen.
Then in the 87th minute the Mariners’ worst dreams came true, City hit back through substitute Budzinski. The goal was originally ruled to be interfered with by players in an offside position but the VAR overpowered the decision and ruled that the goal would stand.
Paul Okon’s Mariners now turn their full attention to an away match against Sydney FC next Saturday night at Allianz Stadium.
13’ BARO (1-0): It was an unlikely goal scorer who bagged the opener. Captain, Baro surged forward and headed home a Lachie Wales set piece. The original ball in firstly came off a City defender, then the crossbar where Baro was on hand to head home from point blank range.
42’ McCORMACK (1-1): McCormack scored a real striker’s goal. Creating something from nothing, Scott Jamieson's ball in from the wing found the feet of McCormack who turned and shot with precision into the bottom corner.
50’ McGING (2-1): The Mariners regained the lead five minutes into the second half with an almost identical goal to the first. It was a Lachie Wales dead ball that smashed off the crossbar from a Powell header, this time it was McGing who headed home.
87’ BUDZINKSI (2-2): With less than five minutes remaining the Mariners conceded their lead when Melbourne City’s marquee substitute, Marcin Budzinski fired home from distance to finish the match on even terms.
Paolo in the press
“It very much feels like that [two points lost instead of one point gained] it was tough. We probably had too many out there that couldn’t go the distance which forced us to make changes too early.
“That being said, we had the chance to make it 3-1, kill the game off. I wouldn’t even call that a chance, that’s a goal. It should be a goal. It leaves the game open, it gives the opposition a bit of hope, even with 10 men. In the end, we concede.
“It was no different last Tuesday night. We’re not blaming anyone, it certainly cost us, it’s an area that, if we can improve on we can beat any team in the competition.
“We know Lachie Wales can put a ball in. He’s certainly one for the future. We’re delighted for him, it was a big ask but I think he was a big plus for the team and for the club being a local boy. I know we will be seeing more of him in the future.
“Belief amongst the group is not an issue. There’s still a lot of football to be played, a lot to be won so we will approach it game-by-game. Our depth will be tested up until our boys are back from China. Hopefully the reason Tom Hiariej came off isn’t too serious, we will probably have Wout back for our next game.
“It’s a tough period for everyone, not just us. Hopefully we can continue to perform,” Okon said
Central Coast Mariners: 1.Ben KENNEDY(gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 4.Jake McGING, 5.Antony GOLEC, 6.Tom HIARIEJ (16.Liam ROSE 64’), 8.Blake POWELL, 24.Lachlan WALES (21.Kye ROWLES 73’), 13. Kwabena APPIAH (17.Josh BINGHAM 64’), 15.Alan BARO (C), 22.Jacob MELLING, 24.Lachlan WALES
Substitutes not used: 20.Adam PEARCE (gk) & 25.Peter KEKERIS
Yellow cards: Golec 45’, Hiariej 64’, McGing 83’
Melbourne City FC: 1. Dean BOUZANIS (GK), 3. Scott JAMIESON, 4. Harrison DELBRIDGE (s/o 27’), 5. Bart SCHENKEVELD, 6. Osama MALIK, 10. Dario VIDOSIC (27. Marcin BUDZINSKI 72’), 14. Daniel ARZANI (7. Nick FITZGERALD 51’), 22. Michael JAKOBSEN (C), 26. Luke BRATTAN, 37. Nathaniel ATKINSON (34. Connor METCALFE 85’), 44. Ross McCORMACK
Substitutes not used: 18. Eugene GALEKOVIC (GK), 2. Manny MUSCAT
Yellow cards: nil
Red cards: Delbridge 27’
Sunday, 14 January 2018
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Central Coast Mariners vs. Melbourne City