A loan first half goal to Wellington Phoenix striker Hamish Watson saw the ‘Nix take home a 1-0 win at Knox Grammar on Saturday afternoon in front of 1500 vocal supporters.
Central Coast Mariners 0 Wellington Phoenix 1 (Watson 38’)
The Run Down
Despite it being a pre-season friendly, Central Coast Mariners and Wellington Phoenix both started with strong sides in what was a crucial hit out for both Hyundai A-League outfits.
There were wholesale changes to both teams in the second half which gave Paul Okon a chance to see his whole squad in action during his first challenge against a Hyundai A-League opposition.
It was Wellington who had the ideal start away from home when they took the lead in the 38th minute as a result of some scrappy play in the Mariners’ box and Watson was there to capitalise from close range.
Throughout the first half there were plenty of promising moments for the Mariners, especially the attacking combinations between the likes of Connor Pain, Trent Buhagiar, Blake Powell and Roy O’Donovan.
After changing almost the entire squad in the second half, the Mariners pushed hard in the closing stages for an equaliser and came close on several occasions.
Second half substitutions in Fabio Ferreira, Kwabena Appiah and Josh Bingham were asking serious questions up front but Italiano made several crucial saves to keep the Phoenix ahead.
The Mariners put in a dominant display in the second half but unfortunately couldn’t find the equaliser and Wellington Phoenix finished with the bragging rights.
Unfortunately for Jake Adelson, who recently marked his return from a long-term ACL injury, the lightning fast right back was stretchered from the field grasping his knee. The Central Coast Mariners will provide an update when available.
Next weekend the Mariners will head to New Zealand to face Wellington Phoenix on their own turf for the next edition of pre-season.
The Central Coast Mariners would like to say a massive thank you to Knox Grammar for hosting us today along with the 1500 supporters in attendance.
38’ WATSON GOAL: Wellington took the lead from a Gui Finkler corner. After the Mariners failed to clear danger, the scraps fell to Watson who poked home from inside the area.
Paolo in the press
“Today was a step in the right direction, we probably didn’t deserve to lose the game but that’s not our real focus at the moment, we handled the surface quite well and move ahead to playing the Phoenix next week in New Zealand,” Okon said.
“Jake Adelson was stretchered off, it’s too early to say until he has a scan but he’s just come back from 9 months off and it was great to see him playing with a smile on his face, hopefully it’s not something that will keep him out for the same amount of time.
“The attitude since I’ve arrived has been fine, our hunger in the second half was pleasing, obviously we need to improve but no A-League side would be playing at their best just yet.
“I’m looking forward to Monday – I can’t wait to get back onto the training pitch and see where we can improve.
“We’ve been working on our combinations – the pitch was a bit bumpy so that last pass was difficult to find but that’s an area we need to improve if we want to score goals.
“Montgomery and Tavares have been really receptive and we are happy with how they are playing together, with every game and training session they are becoming more comfortable playing with each other.
“We want competition in the squad, that’s going to mean that everyone’s pushing each other to make the first 11,” Okon said.
Central Coast Mariners: Paul IZZO (GK) (45’ Ivan NECEVSKI), Jacob POSCOLIERO (45’ ASCROFT), Jacques FATY (45’ MCGING), Brad MCDONALD (45’ NEILL), Storm ROUX (62’ ADELSON), Mickael TAVARES (62’ FERREIRA), Nick MONTGOMERY (c) (62’ PETERSON), Blake POWELL (62’ FLETCHER), Connor PAIN (62’ APPIAH), Trent BUHAGIAR (62’ BERRY), Roy O’DONOVAN (62’ BINGHAM)
Yellow Cards: TAVARES (26’), PETERSON (85’)
Wellington Phoenix: Glen MOSS (GK) (45’ Lewis ITALIANO), Dylan FOX (45’ Jacob TRATT), Vince LIA (c) (45’ Ryan LOWRY), Marco ROSSI, Adam PARKHOUSE, Matthew RIDENTON, Alex RODRIGUEZ, Roly BONEVACIA, Gui FINKLER (45’ Michael MCGLINCHEY), Roy KRISHNA, Hamish WATSON
Yellow Cards: DOYLE (79’)
Goal: Watson (38’)
Saturday September 17, 2016
Knox Grammar, Wahroonga
Central Coast Mariners vs. Wellington Phoenix (pre-season)