Central Coast Mariners 0 Wellington Phoenix 1 (Appiah 17’)
The run down:
A record FFA Cup Round of 32 crowd was in attendance to watch the Central Coast Mariners fight valiantly, but ultimately go down to the Wellington Phoenix in a tight 1-0 clash at Central Coast Stadium.
6,111 fans braved the cold on a night that saw five Mariners make their competitive debut along with plenty of positive signs heading into the new campaign. Kwabena Appiah provided the difference after what can only be described as a dominant opening stage by the home side.
The Yellow and Navy looked certain to take the proceedings into extra time after winning a penalty in the dying stages but unfortunately Roy O’Donovan’s strike in the 82nd minute of play smashed into the crossbar.
17’ APPIAH GOAL: A mix-up in the backline allowed Kwabena Appiah to snatch the ball from Paul Izzo’s feet and finish from close range.
8’ CRAFTY CAPTAIN: Nick Montgomery charged down the left touchline to beat several Phoenix shirts on the way to pick out Josh Rose with a pinpoint pass.
11’ CACERES VISION: Central Coast’s creative midfield ace almost set up debutant O’Donovan for the opening goal, but his chip through ball skidded away off the turf and just eluded the Irishman.
13’ FERRIERA FLAIR: The Portuguese flyer made it look too easy on the near touchline, to make the most of a Phoenix turnover and find space for the shot. Glen Moss proved up to the challenge however, and parried the ball wide for a corner.
48’ FERRIERA FIRES: Debutant Jake McGing was brought down in a dangerous area and Caceres and Ferreira eyed off the dead ball. It eventually fell to Ferreira, but his sizzling strike was straight at Moss.
52’ PASS & MOVE: Some neat interplay down the left saw Mickey Neill link up with Josh Rose who flicked on to Nick Fitzgerald towards the Phoenix 18-yard box. Fitzy’s run was brought to a halt by the astute Wellington backline.
58’ FABULOUS FABIO: Ferreira broke intelligently down the right to beat Manny Muscat and cross into Caceres, who nodded the ball over the bar.
67’ PACE & POWER: It was Ferreira again who proved dangerous as he sprinted down the right side and crossed low and hard across the face. Unfortunately the ball managed to elude even the pace of Mitch Austin on the back stick, to roll wide for a goal kick.
72’ CAC’ GOES CLOSE: Caceres leaped above the pack but just failed to reach a precision cross from the left touchline. Fitzgerald made space for the ball, but it eventually fell to the keeper.
82’ MCGING FOULED: A tantalising cross by Liam Rose saw Jake McGing rise above the Wellington back four and a chance to take the match into extra time. The 21-year old centre back was pulled to the ground that resulted in a penalty.
It was O’Donovan who stepped up to the mark to hit the penalty with real purpose that rattled the cross bar in the final 10 minutes of play.
“We could see a lot of room for improvement in a lot of areas. There were some positives tonight: good forward momentum, a few good opportunities, a missed penalty and it could have been better so I’m just disappointed that so many people turned up and we couldn’t get them a result.”
“There were some good performances for this early in the season. It was a very young backline for an experienced Wellington line up but there were some lessons to be learned and a lot of room for improvement.”
“Caceres and Fitzy are two of our lynchpins – when they’re fully fit they’re going to be a real handful for any defence.”
“Now we go back to training, we’re in Canberra next week for a very intense camp and the emphasis will be on speed development. At times we looked a little bit laboured and I think once we get through Canberra you’ll see a shift in dynamics of the team physically.”
“Roy was lively, you can see the potency in Roy. It’s going to be a case of knowing where to deliver the ball and when to deliver the ball to get the best out of him. It’s great that he took responsibility for the penalty and I’m just sad for him that he couldn’t notch a goal on his debut.”
Central Coast Mariners 0
Wellington Phoenix 1
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Referee: Steve Lucas
Central Coast Mariners: 1.Paul IZZO (gk), 2.Storm ROUX (16.Liam ROSE 78’), 3.Josh ROSE, 5.Harry ASCROFT, 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Nick FITZGERALD, 21.Michael NEILL (6. Mitch AUSTIN 61’), 22.Jake MCGING
Substitutes not used: 15.Matt SIM, 17.Jake ADELSON (NYL), 30.Adam PEARCE (gk) (NYL)
Yellow Cards: 5. Harry ASCROFT, 8. Nick MONTGOMERY
Wellington Phoenix: 1.Glen MOSS (gk), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 4.Roly BONEVACIA, 10.Michael McGLINCHEY, 11.Kwabena APPIAH (14.Alex RUFER 56’), 13.Albert RIERA, 16.Louis FENTON, 18.Ben SIGMUND, 21.Roy KRISHNA (17. Vince Lia 75’), 22.Andrew DURANTE, 23.Matthew RIDENTON (19.Tom DOYLE 45’)
Substitutes not used: 20.Lewis ITALIANO (gk), 31.Andrew BLAKE
Yellow Cards: 13.Albert RIERA, 16.Louis FENTON, 18.Ben SIGMUND