Tomorrow evening the Central Coast Mariners will take on Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium in Wellington. The squads are in so let’s take a look at how our clash across the ditch is shaping up. Kick-off is scheduled for 5:30pm (AEST).
Jacob Poscoliero returns from a hamstring injury and 17-year-old Anthony Kalik will look to capitalise on the back of his impressive first start in the Hyundai A-League with an assist in the first two minutes of play against Western Sydney Wanderers.
Finals hopes are all but over for the Central Coast, however with only four points separating first placed Melbourne Victory from the fifth placed Phoenix, the Mariners will play a crucial role in determining the final layout of the six with consecutive encounters against the pair.
Three points will go a long way for the ‘Nix to ensure a home final and the Mariners will be doing all they can to prevent that on a chilly Friday evening in New Zealand.
Last week the yellow and navy claimed three points in a pulsating 1-0 win at home over the Wanderers. Most pleasing was the manner in which it was done, with the Mariners applying constant forward pressure and pouncing on turnovers with slicing counter attacks.
Now that Tony Walmsley has been appointed Head Coach for the 2015/16 Hyundai A-League campaign, the Mariners will look at the Phoenix encounter to continue the building process for what lies ahead next season
The ‘Nix meanwhile have found life at the top hard in their last three games, losing 3-0 in respective games against Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory, and their last result finished a 0-0 stalemate with Melbourne City. The goal drought has frustrated the Phoenix and it is the first time they have been kept scoreless in three straight games since 2008.
Also on the Mariners side will be their imposing record across the Tasman. The away side have not lost a match in New Zealand since August 22nd 2010.
While they have pressed high in recent weeks, the Mariners have not excelled in laying the finishing touches and a number of chances have gone begging. The Central Coast have only scored 18 goals in the penalty box this season and they will need to make the most of their opportunities in the front third to overcome the Phoenix
The key for the Mariners will be nullifying the Phoenix’s attacking threats in Nathan Burns, former Mariner Michael McGlinchey and Dutchman Roly Bonevacia. If let loose, the trio could provide some headaches for the Mariners defence, with Burns having scored 13 goals in the 2014/15 Hyundai A-League season, while Bonevacia and McGlinchey have been strong contributors.
ANTHONY KALIK - After a shock selection by Tony Walmsley to throw Anthony Kalik into the heat of battle against Western Sydney last weekend, the 17-year-old repaid his coach’s confidence with an impressive assist before the match could even reach the two minute mark.
If called upon in New Zealand, Kalik will be looking to stamp his name on Walmlsey’s starting 11 to round out this season and put himself in strong contention when it comes to the newly appointed Head Coach’s attacking plans for the 2015/16 season.
LAST TIME WE MET - December 13 2014
The Central Coast Mariners last hit out against Wellington Phoenix was played out at Auckland’s Eden Park where the points were shared over a 1-1 draw. Matt Simon’s first half goal was cancelled out by a Roy Krishna equaliser in the 76th minute. On fire for the Mariners that day, was shot stopper Liam Reddy who made a number of high quality saves against a Phoenix side that had more than double the chances the Mariners had.
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Matthew NASH (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Josh ROSE, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5.Zac ANDERSON, 7.John HUTCHINSON (c), 8.Nick MONTGOMERY, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Nick FITZGERALD, 12.Liam REDDY (gk), 16.Liam ROSE, 18.Glen TRIFIRO, 19.Matthew SIMON, 20.Anthony KALIK, 22.Tom SLATER, 23.Isaka CERNAK, 25.Eddy BOSNAR, 26.Fabio FERREIRA ***two to be omitted***
Round 26 Friday 17 April 2015
Match: Wellington Phoenix vs. Central Coast Mariners
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 5:30pm (AEST)
Television: Live on FOX SPORTS 505
Radio: Live on 96.3 Coast FM & ABC Grandstand
Twitter: Join the match conversation using #WELvCCM #CCMFC