Thursday night-lights beckon for the Central Coast Mariners, as we look towards a clash with the trophy hoarding Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park. Kick-off is 8:00pm.
The Hyundai A-League Round 7 encounter will also be the first time the Yellow & Navy lock horns with former Mariner, Central Coast junior and 2013 Championship winner Oliver Bozanic.
Kevin Muscat’s side will be a stern test for the Mariners and an opportunity for many of our young brigade to gain experience taking on top quality players.
The Run In
Last weekend, both sides engineered confidence-building results after being a goal down.
For the Mariners, it was a dramatic #F3Derby draw against the Jets. Down 1-0 in stoppage time, the Mariners threw all bar the kitchen sink forward, with keeper Paul Izzo drawing a crowd, which allowed space for Matt Sim to slide in a classy equaliser that will be remembered for years.
Later that night down the road at Allianz Stadium, Melbourne Victory came from behind twice to beat Sydney FC 4-2, with goals to Besart Berisha (2), Gui Finkler and Kosta Barbarouses.
The result put Melbourne Victory third on the table, three points off leaders Brisbane Roar.
Melbourne Victory as always will bring an impressive line-up to AAMI park on Thursday.
Marksman Besart Berisha has scored five goals this season for the Victory, four of which have come in the last two games. Introduce Kosta Barbarouses, Fahid Ben Khalfallah and Gui Finkler to the mix, and you see why the Victory hold every domestic trophy available in Australia at the moment.
Victory’s attack will stretch the Mariners defensive depth, with central defender Jake McGing out through suspension. However after Nick Montgomery’s outstanding shift to centre back last week creates a selection headache for Walmsley who must decide whether Ascroft slides back into centre back despite options in Josh Rose and the fearless skipper alongside Jacob Poscoliero.
The early return of Ascroft will be a huge boost for the Mariners and Foxtel National Youth League star; Jake Adelson could potentially make his Hyundai A-League debut tonight with the absence of Fabio Ferreira.
The Key Questions
- Can #CCMFC snap their five game losing streak against the Big V?
- Was last week’s last minute draw with 10 men the type of result to fire up the away side in the lead up to taking on the Champions?
- With Victory & the Mariners both playing an attacking brand of football, will tonight be a goal fest?
- The Mariners have scored in their last nine away trips to the Victory.
- Anthony Caceres has the most shots on goal (12) in the league without scoring this season. Can that turn this week?
- Will Roy O’Donovan score his first away goal for the Mariners after bagging 3 in 3 home games for the Yellow & Navy.
“It will be a very testing performance but I think the boys are up for it, especially against the Newcastle Jets last weekend to 10 men, we proved a lot of people wrong and we’re a very fit side so we’re up for the challenge.”
“With McGing out, we need to look at the back four. With reference to the Jets game, Monty did really well back there and Posco (Jacob Poscoliero) having that seniority alongside him was very successful for us so those two are going to continue there and Harry’s going to come into midfield where we think his best attributes are at the moment.
“The best balance for us is to put experience at the back and we know Berisha is an absolute handful and we know Monty’s not going to have any shyness about getting stuck into him.
“There’s a belief that we can actually go and achieve something, whatever that is, we’re not sure yet, we’ll roll the dice and be bold. We’ve got pace on both sides of the pitch, we’ve got Roy, we’ve got brilliant midfield in attack.”
Last Time We Met – Hyundai A-League Round 27, MVC 3 CCM 1, AAMI Park
Playing for pride in Round 27, this game will be more remembered by Mariners fans as the night John Hutchinson bid farewell to the Hyundai A-League. In true ‘Hutch’ style he put himself in the book with a yellow card.
On their way to a Premier’s Plate and a few weeks later, a Championship, the Victory sealed the 3-1 win through goals to Daniel Georgeivski, Archie Thompson and the perennial Besart Berisha.
Melbourne Victory vs. Central Coast Mariners – Hyundai A-League 2015/16 Round 7
Thursday 19 November 2015
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Social Media: Use #MVCvCCM & @CCMariners on Twitter and Instagram