O’Neill stunner sinks Mariners

A first half strike to Matt Simon wasn’t enough at Central Coast Stadium where a Brandon O’Neill screamer clinched a 2-1 win for Sydney FC.

Central Coast Mariners 1 (Simon 16’) Sydney FC 2 (Le Fondre 42’ & O’Neill 65’)

The run down

The Central Coast Mariners welcomed Sydney FC to Central Coast Stadium in a pivotal Hyundai A-League clash between two rivals.

The game got off to a fast-paced start with Jack Clisby denied by Andrew Redmayne in the first 20 seconds of the game. The Mariners continued a strong start in the early stages of the first half, restricting the Sky Blues to minimal chances and possession. Making his home Hyundai A-League debut, Matt Millar was a standout in the Yellow and Navy during the first half.

The attacking intent by the Mariners was rewarded after a terrific cross from Millar was converted by Captain Simon, who put the Mariners in front at home. The Mariners continued their brave performance and the back line of McGing, Rowles and Golec held firm against a dangerous front three for Sydney that were slowly getting into the rhythm of the game.

Simon caused havoc for Sydney’s central pairing, winning many aerial challenges that came his way and setting up Connor Pain who put his driven shot narrowly wide of the post.

However, the Mariners hard work was cancelled out as Sydney were awarded a penalty after Rhyan Grant went down in the box. Adam Le Fondre converted the spot kick.

The second half saw Sydney become more dominant in possession but failed to worry a stubborn Mariners defence that denied Sydney any clear-cut threat on goal. The Mariners continued to be energetic in the front third but struggled to make their chances count with several crosses into the box coming to no avail for the boys in Yellow and Navy. Sydney’s much improved second half was rewarded after Brandon O’Neill gave them the lead with a 25-yard screamer.

The Central Coast were not down and out and continued to push for a much-needed equaliser. Aiden O’Neill forced a great save from Andrew Redmayne after his shot from distance was parried by the Sydney shot stopper. However, the Mariners could not find the leveller as the game finished 2-1 in favour of the visitors.

GOALS:

16’ SIMON GOAL (1-0): Jacob Melling played a wonderful pass to Matty Millar. Millar's cross was converted by Matt Simon at the back post who put the Mariners up front.

42’ LE FONDRE GOAL (1-1): Le Fondre emphatically put away his penalty into the top netting. 

65’ O’NEILL GOAL (1-2): An absolute rocket by Brandon O’Neill claimed three points for Sydney FC. 

Mulvey in the media

“I’m not happy. We lost. That’s the only emotion that really matters right now. People are looking at where the Mariners are right now, bottom of the table, lost, again. If you dig underneath that we are on the right track, thought we played some really good stuff today, we took it to Sydney, we took it to Perth last week. We're competitive, still blighted by some mistakes that cost us and today we lost to a penalty and a 25-yard bomb.

“The first thing we need to do is make sure we don’t lose the belief, which we haven’t done. I think we’ve had one poor game this season and that was Adelaide at home. We were into it up to our ears at Perth last week. We were into it today with one of the best in the competition. We had a mad 15 minutes against the Victory, we conceded 3 goals and came out in the second half and played very well. People could argue we conceded a lot of chances in the first two games against Brisbane and Melbourne City. We’re not far away we must not lose belief and we need to get a little more quality particularly in decision making, that’s the key. That’s the difference between the top and the bottom is decision making.

“Tommy Oar probably not next week, but hopefully he surprises us, Cisse is definitely back and Ross I will wait for a decision tomorrow.”

“[Aspropotamitis] could play a youth team game next week, that will be his first competitive game. He has done a lot of training he’s not far off. I like Jonathan, but my experience of ACL injuries is that it takes another few months after their return to get to their level of performance that I’m happy with. Jonathan is a young lad, he’s ahead of schedule and we want him back.

“Matty [Simon] does that week in week out that’s what we want from him. I would say we had a winning gallop in training, we were fantastic in training. We bought most of that to the game today just those lapses in concentration when we were on our heels for the penalty and were standing off O’Neill before he unloaded.

“Matty Millar we’ve been waiting for him to turn the corner and he has done. He did very well last week and caused problems in the first half. That system we have gone into now seems to be complimentary to the players we have," Mulvey said. 

Central Coast Mariners: 1. Ben KENNEDY (GK), 3. Jack CLISBY (23. Mario SHABOW 84’), 4. Jake McGING, 5. Antony GOLEC, 7. Andrew HOOLE (8. Michael McGLINCHEY 67’), 11. Connor PAIN, 13. Aiden O’NEILL, 15. Kye ROWLES, 18. Matthew MILLAR, 19. Matthew SIMON (C), 22. Jacob MELLING (6. Tom HIARIEJ 73’)

Substitutes not used:  12. Adam PEARCE (GK), 16. Josh MACDONALD

Yellow cards: GOLEC 45’, MELLING 64’, SIMON 74’,

Sydney FC: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 4. Alexander WILKINSON, 5. Jop VAN DER LINDEN, 6. Joshua BRILLANTE, 7. Michael ZULLO, 8. Paulo RETRE (31. Luke IVANOVIC 78’), 9. Adam LE FONDRE, 10. Milos NINKOVIC, 13. Brandon O’NEILL, 14. Alex BROSQUE (24. Cameron DEVLIN 90’), 23. Rhyan GRANT

Substitutes not used: Aleksander CISAK (GK), 2. Aaron CALVER, 21. Charles LOKOLI NGOY

Yellow cards: VAN DER LINDEN 55’

Saturday, 1 December 2018
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Crowd: 8386
Central Coast Mariners vs. Sydney FC