Central Coast Mariners 0 Melbourne Victory 2 (Berisha 12’ & Ben Khalfallah 90’)
The Run Down
A 10-man Central Coast Mariners have fallen to Melbourne Victory with Besart Berisha and Fahid Ben Khalfallah netting at Central Coast Stadium.
The Yellow & Navy were a man down just moments into the second half when Mickey Neill was shown his second yellow card of the evening.
It was the first time this season that the Central Coast Mariners boasted the same back four in consecutive matches and Walmsley’s squad had their work cut out for them with Gui Finkler and Ben Khalfallah fresh in the attacking stocks.
In the front third, it looked to be an all guns blazing formation with Roy O’Donovan, Mitch Austin and Fabio Ferreira starting alongside one another for the first time since New Year’s eve with the added flare of Luis Garcia. Unfortunately the three-pronged attack was broken up on the half an hour mark when Austin subsided due to back complaints.
Full focus turns to Hyundai A-League round 23 where the Central Coast Mariners face the tough task of taking on Perth Glory away from home.
12’ BERISHA GOAL: Melbourne Victory produced three pinpoint passes that resulted in the first goal of the afternoon. Delpierre landed a diagonal ball onto the feet of Jai Ingham who controlled and crossed to Berisha. Berisha’s clinical finish from close range gave Izzo no chance.
90’ BEN KHALFALLAH GOAL: Again, it was Ingham who played creator for Melbourne Victory. The former Hume City man played the ball in for Ben Khalfallah who doubled the away side’s lead at the death
“We needed to execute much better in the second half, even down to 10 men you could see that Victory were going and they needed their fresh legs to come on off the bench and help them out,” Walmsley said.
“O’Donovan had a great chance in the first half, it was quick thinking, well executed and it’s a different game if that goes in. You’re 1-0 up with the wind behind you in the second half, that gives you a different shape to the game.
“Poscoliero did a great job when he came on and the reason he didn’t start was because we defended well last week and we gave the same back four an opportunity to repeat.
“For me there were far too many yellow cards, I can’t defend the disciplinary record that we’ve got but there was no need for anyone to be sent off that pitch today.
“It was a tough afternoon, we played too many balls down Delpierre’s throat, he’s the biggest guy on the field and a classy defender. Our pass selection was way off the mark today, if it had of been better I think we could have tamed Victory because with 20 minutes to go they were gone but we didn’t execute well enough,” Walmsley said.
Central Coast Mariners: Izzo (GK), J.Rose, Ascroft, Austin (McDonald 35’), Ferreira (C), O’Donovan, Garcia (Bingham 78’), L.Rose (Poscoliero 53’), Neill, McGing, Uskok
Subs: Bray (GK) & Stella
Melbourne Victory: Vukovic (GK), Geria, Galloway, Broxham (c), Finkler (Makarounas 85’), Berisha (Thompson 71’), Ben-Khafallah, Mahazi, Delpierre, Ingham, Deng
Subs: Thomas (GK), Georgievski, Gallifuoco
Yellow cards: Neill x 2, Deng, Garcia, J. Rose, O’Donovan, Galloway
Red cards: Neill
Attendance: 5032 @ Central Coast Stadium