Central Coast Stadium erupted when Matty Simon fired home the 89th minute winner, adding to Connor Pain’s opener to claim three points against Melbourne City.
Central Coast Mariners 2 (Pain 32’, Simon 89’) Melbourne City 1 (Wales 77’)
The run down
The Central Coast Mariners welcomed an in-form Melbourne City to Central Coast Stadium in what was a crucial match for the Yellow and Navy as they looked to end their winless streak.
As the visitors controlled majority of the possession early in the game, the best chance fell to Matty Simon as his header fell narrowly wide after a superb cross from Tommy Oar. The home side would again threaten City as several efforts were desperately blocked by the away defence.
The Yellow and Navy defence and midfield domination of Hiariej restricted City to only a couple of crosses into the Mariners’ area. An excellent build up play by Hiariej and Simon would find the marauding run of Matty Millar and his excellent cross would be hit first time by Connor Pain who put the Yellow and Navy ahead.
Hiariej would go on to earn man-of-the-match honours, playing a hand in numerous Mariners’ attacks.
City continued to struggle to break the defensive pairing of Jonathan Aspropotamitis and Jake McGing as the Yellow and Navy held to hit half time with a deserved one goal lead.
During the second half, City crept back into the game but the Mariners’ defence held firm to keep them scoreless to begin with.
Kennedy put in a superb second half, making numerous crucial saves, the first to deny Griffiths with a stunning outstretched save to his left. Under relentless pressure, Connor Pain nearly doubled his tally as his shot dribbled onto the line, but it did not cross. Shortly after, Murray found himself one-on-one with Galekovic and a prime chance to put the game to bed, but the young striker put his shot wide of the goal.
Melbourne City finally find the back of net as Lachlan Wales headed home from the corner to equalise. Both sides traded blows and that’s when the Mariners’ fans came alive to bring their team home. They did exactly that.
The attacking intent did not stop, and a Mariners attack would see Simon win a penalty right at the death for the Yellow and Navy. Galekovic saved the initial shot but Simon converted the follow up, giving the Mariners the lead. A last-ditch effort from City would see Kennedy pull off another incredible save from a Berenguer header. That capped off an outstanding game by our shot-stopper.
A nerve-racking stoppage time would finally end and the Mariners claimed a deserved three points for their dedicated supporters.
32’ PAIN GOAL (1-0): Hiariej’s long ball found Matty Simon. Simon flicks to Matty Millar on the right who beat Scott Jamieson and his low cross was met by the scorching foot of Connor Pain.
77’ WALES GOAL (1-1): A set piece by City is headed in by Lachlan Wales.
89’ SIMON GOAL (2-1): Simon’s initial effort was saved, but our skipper swooped on the spoils to claim the win.
Mulvey in the media
“We showed good spirit against Wellington in the first half last week, we showed it in the first 25 minutes against Sydney. We’ve shown it in patches and even tonight we had a 20-minute period when Melbourne scored. We stood the pressure and that’s the difference. I’m very disappointed with the goal we conceded which put us under extreme pressure for the last 20 minutes, but the response was fantastic. Led by Matt Simon, who scored the penalty which was a difficult situation for who stands up and takes it. Eugene made a good save, but Simon was there for the follow up. Its something we have been building towards.
“I think every Australian football fan would’ve thought that (here we go again). We had to put bodies on the line, there were last ditch tackles, good saves from Benny and we were a threat as well with Jordan and Simon up front and that’s what led to the goal. The players deserve all the credit, I really take my hat off to them.
“We believe we can get results. We just need to stop leaking goals like the equaliser. A header inside the 6-yard box that he didn’t have to jump too high to get the ball. We need to eradicate that. What we did differently today was we held onto that shape and we realised we could get them on the break or build an attack and that’s what we did. You have to give a tremendous amount of credit to the players and what a great atmosphere. The noise was fantastic.
“It's great to have Tommy [Hiariej] back, he’s been plagued with injuries since last season. You saw in the first 35 minutes what we require from him and what he’s capable of doing and that is the level we are asking for all the time. You don’t just turn it off and on like we have been in recent times you need to be in the game, you have to withstand the pressure, you have to be smarter when you win the ball. We turned the ball over a number of times when we’ve gained possession and were trying to score straight away or play that killer pass instead of building the attack. That is part of the next phase of learning to control and manage the game.
“For me it’s a win and its important we have tasted it. Now we find out how hungry we are to get more. I’ve said for the last few weeks if we would’ve kept 11 on the field against Sydney and Wellington, we would’ve won those games or gone close. We kept turning up, players turned up and we got our just rewards today,” Mulvey said.
Central Coast Mariners: 1. Ben KENNEDY (GK), 2. Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 4. Jake MCGING, 6. Tom HIARIEJ (8. Michael MCGLINCHEY 75’), 7. Andrew HOOLE (23. Mario SHABOW 79’), 10. Tommy OAR (25. Jordan MURRAY 54’), 11. Connor PAIN, 13. Aiden O’NEILL, 18. Matt MILLAR, 19. Matt SIMON (c), 22. Jacob MELLING
Substitutes not used: 12. Adam PEARCE (GK), 3. Jack CLISBY
Yellow cards: O’NEILL 45+’ ASPROPOTOMITIS 51’, OAR 53’,
Melbourne City: 18. Eugene GALEKOVIC (GK), 2. Ritchie DE LAET, 3. Scott JAMIESON, 5. Bart SCHENKEVELD, 6. Osama MALIK (19. Lachlan WALES 22’), 7. Royston GRIFFITHS, 8. Riley MCGREE (27. Florin BERENGUER 67’), 13. Nathanial ATKINSON, 15. Kearyn BACCUS, 22. Curtis GOOD, 26. Luke BRATTAN (21. Ramy NAJJARINE 74’)
Substitutes not used: 42. James DELIANOV, 25. Iacopo LA ROCCA
Yellow cards: DE LAET 40’, BERENGUER 80’
Wednesday, 16 January 2019
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Central Coast Mariners vs. Melbourne City