A second half strike to Melbourne City’s Ross McCormack was enough for the home side to claim three points over the Central Coast Mariners at AAMI Park in a game that ended 1-0.
Melbourne City FC 1 (McCormack 59’) Central Coast Mariners 0
The run down
The result sees the Central Coast Mariners maintain fifth position whilst Melbourne City sit in third spot on the Hyundai A-League ladder.
Full focus for the Yellow & Navy now turns to a crucial battle with fierce rivals, the Western Sydney Wanderers at home on Saturday night at Central Coast Stadium.
It was a quiet opening 45 minutes for the Central Coast Mariners with their star performer being the goalkeeper, Ben Kennedy who made a number of crucial saves to keep his side locked on even terms with Melbourne City.
The Mariners were without star Dutch midfielder, Tom Hiariej who was withdrawn late due to a leg injury which saw Liam Rose granted his second start of the campaign.
Despite majority of the first half chances falling to City who recorded five shots on target to the Mariners zero, both sides had an even share of possession going into the break.
The Yellow & Navy’s key threat in the first half was Connor Pain on the left who looked to cut in with his trademark move on the left wing to link up with the likes of Danny De Silva and Kwabena Appiah but the Melbourne City back four were up to the task.
With plenty of work to do in the second half the Mariners came out flying from the break and looked the better of the two sides. Although, against the run of play Melbourne City bagged the opener through McCormack who scored his first goal from open play of the season.
It was a much more evenly placed second half and the Mariners had several chances in the dying stages to snatch a point. One of which, was Andrew Hoole who cut in from the right – before crossing, his foot was stepped on by City’s La Rocca in the box but penalty claims were waved away.
Shortly after in the 83rd minute, two of the Mariners substitutes combined to create another chance when Adam Berry’s dangerous cross found Blake Powell in the box. Powell volleyed but his strike was just wide of the apex.
Then, in stoppage time, the Mariners’ best chance of the match came flying across the face when Trent Buhagiar’s curling right footer found Connor Pain. Pain took a touch before shooting with his right foot that was only blocked by a goal saving tackle by City’s Stefan Mauk that was enough to confirm all three points for the home side.
59’ MCCORMACK (1-0): It started from the goalkeeper, when Dean Bouzanis resumed play quickly from a goal kick. The ball immediately found Luke Brattan who broke into space and played a precision ball to a charging McCormack. McCormack steadied himself in the box and tucked his shot past Kennedy, who had no chance to make a save.
Paolo in the press
“Melbourne City had one or two opportunities in the first half from us giving the ball away cheaply,” Okon said. “But I thought we had our moments also, although we didn’t really threaten and we were a bit lucky to go into the break on even terms.
“In the second half, I felt we were dominating and conceded a goal that we didn’t defend as best as possible. Once they scored, they sat behind the ball and made it difficult but that said, we got into dangerous areas and we had a great chance at the end there where Connor Pain’s shot gets blocked by Stefan Mauk. It’s disappointing that we don’t get a penalty as well. I’m still trying to figure out how the VAR works. La Rocca on Andrew Hoole.
“From my understanding, VAR can overrule if it’s an obvious error. It is an obvious error because the referee doesn’t see it. So, the VAR you have the technology: penalty or not penalty? It’s such a grey area, it just doesn’t make sense. An obvious error for me is when a referee doesn’t see an incident. If you’re upstairs and you see that it’s a penalty, it’s a penalty.
“I don’t want to be sit here and be understood as winging, full credit to Melbourne City. I am just talking about that incident. If it’s not given, it’s not given. That’s fine. We’ve got the technology but I don’t think it’s being used effectively.
“Melbourne City are a really good side – you’re not going to be sitting third on the ladder if you’re not a good side, so we knew it was going to be a very difficult game. The fact that they sat back at the end, we knew that was going to be hard to break down. Because they are very aggressive in the way they chase down the ball in close spaces, they are a very fit side.
“We had a couple of moments in the second half that, maybe with a bit more luck we can score but it wasn’t to be.
“At the moment, we are happy with the way we’re playing, we’re a dangerous team and we’re no longer the easy beats that we once were not so long ago. We would have liked to have gone home with something from this game but I guess it’s now about recovering and making sure we’re ready for next Saturday’s home game against the Western Sydney Wanderers.
“Tom picked up a minor injury in training yesterday. Given that we’re so early in the season we weren’t going to take any risks to aggravate the injury and we want people out there who are going to be 200%. We felt Liam Rose did very well, he’s been waiting for this opportunity since round one. It took him a bit to get involved into the game but before he came off, he was outstanding.
“Tom says he thinks he will be OK for next week. The medical staff want to wait 48 hours as it only happened yesterday – to give it a better judgement. Asdrubal & Storm are back to full training. Storm has been out a bit longer than Asdrubal.
“Asdrubal will certainly be back next week pending any hiccups during the week – Storm, depending on how much work we can get into him, match fitness is important but, that will all become clearer during the week,” Okon said.
Central Coast Mariners: 1.Ben KENNEDY(gk), 3.Josh ROSE (12.Trent BUHAGIAR 89’), 4.Jake McGING, 5.Antony GOLEC, 7.Andrew HOOLE, 10. Danny De SILVA, 11. Connor PAIN, 13. Kwabena APPIAH (8.Blake POWELL 71’), 15. Alan BARO, 16. Liam ROSE (14.Adam BERRY 80’), 23. Wout BRAMA
Substitutes not used: 18.Tom GLOVER (gk) & 21.Kye ROWLES
Yellow cards: Baro 10’
Melbourne City FC: 1.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 37.Nathan ATKINSON, 5.Bart SCHENKEVELD, 23.Michael JAKOBSEN, 3.Scott JAMIESON, 25.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 13.Stefan MAUK, 6.Osama MALIK, 44.Ross McCORMACK (12.Braedyn CROWLEY 88’), 26.Luke BRATTAN, 7.Nick FITZGERALD
Substitutes not used: 18.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 27. Marcin BUDINSKI, 14.Daniel ARZANI, 21.Ruon TONGYIK
Yellow cards: Jakobsen 72’
Sunday, 10 December 2017
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Melbourne City vs. Central Coast Mariners