Despite a maiden goal to Peter Skapetis who scored with his first touch of the ball at Central Coast Stadium, the Mariners fought until the final minute to narrowly fall 2-1 to the Western Sydney Wanderers.
Central Coast Mariners 1 (Skapetis 76’) Western Sydney Wanderers 2 (Sotirio 14’, Riera 30’)
The run down
Skapetis wasted no time making a name for himself at his new home beside the palm trees. He came on as a second half substitute and scored with his first touch.
Super-sub Skapetis highlighted a dominant Mariners’ second half but goals to Jaushua Sotirio and Oriol Riera meant that Western Sydney went home with all three points.
The Wanderers’ attack looked dangerous from the opening. Early chances for Raul Llorenete and Mark Bridge were kept clear by shot-stopper Ben Kennedy, but a well-rehearsed set piece and a powerful volley from Sotirio put the visitors ahead in the 14th minute.
The home team pushed back, with Danny De Silva working hard to create chances with Lachie Wales, Blake Powell, and Andrew Hoole on the right wing.
However, a pocket of space on the left gave Llorente a chance to tee up Riera with a well-balanced cross, and the striker put it away with a powerful header to double the Wanderers’ lead.
The Mariners very nearly took a goal back in the final ten minutes of the first half when a cross from Hoole grazed the top of Blake Powell’s head by the far post, but the Central Coast stayed scoreless at the break.
The Mariners returned from the dressing room with a vengeance, and Western Sydney found themselves on the back foot as opportunities kept coming for the Central Coast. De Silva, Hoole, Powell and substitute Trent Buhagiar all made promising appearances in the penalty area, and a gutsy distance strike from Jacob Melling had keeper Janjetovic diving to clear the ball. With the attacking momentum building, the energy at Central Coast Stadium spiked as the fans sensed a goal on the way.
In the 75th minute, Peter Skapetis made his first appearance at Central Coast Stadium as a substitute for Powell, and within seconds, he made it count. With his very first touch, he got behind a cross from Melling and headed the ball into the back of the net.
As the final whistle drew nearer, there was still plenty of energy on the pitch as the Central Coast fought hard for an equaliser. Trent Buhagiar looked certain set to steal a point in stoppage time, putting in a curling strike from out wide, but the ball found the post instead of the net, and the Wanderers limped across the finish line with their lead intact.
With a split round in the Hyundai A-League the Mariners have no match this weekend and all players will be sent to local clubs on the Central Coast to assist with grassroots registrations and team gradings. Stay tuned for further details.
14’ SOTIRIO GOAL (0-1): A well-rehearsed set piece from the Wanderers. An expertly-taken corner from Marcelo Carrusca found Sotorio at the top of the box who didn’t hesitate with a powerful volley. Kennedy looked to have it covered but a deflection on the way through helped it into the Mariners’ net.
30’ RIERA GOAL: (0-2): Oriol Riera matched the quality of a superb delivery from Raul Llorente with a precision header that bounced past Kennedy into the bottom right corner.
76’ SKAPETIS GOAL: (1-2): In the 75th minute, Peter Skapetis took to the field. In the 76th, he scored. He met a ball in from Jacob Melling, and headed it home to bag his maiden goal for the Mariners with his very first touch of the game.
Paolo in the press
“I thought we looked really flat.” Okon said. “The energy wasn’t great, then we conceded two. The first one is a set piece, it takes a deflection of Liam Rose’s head, but I’m disappointed that we gave away two goals. It becomes really difficult to get back into the game in the first half, because the heads drop, you’re second guessing yourself a little bit,” Okon said.
“Then we get a response in the second half, and we probably could have drawn the game at the end there. Powell definitely had a good chance after half time to score, and if that goes in obviously you have more time to get another one. In the end, we left it a little bit too late. The second half was a really good effort, but it becomes difficult when you go in 2-0 down to a very good football team.
“In the second half, you’ve really got nothing to lose I guess, and the mind works in many ways. In the end, if we started the game like we played the second half, then I’m quite confident that we would have a different result but you can’t whinge or complain when you do that, and that’s the disappointing thing. We didn’t give ourselves a big enough chance today to win the football game, with the way we performed in the first half.
“We tried really hard [to sign a striker], but unfortunately when it comes time to find out how much the nines want, the numbers just don’t stack up. We have six attackers at the football club, and we will soldier on with those six attackers. Peter’s goal – I think he took that really well. We do feel like we have people that can find the back of the net, but we know that’s an area that, all season, we’ve been disappointing in. We also understand where we are as a football club, in being able to spend what maybe other clubs do in that position," Okon said.
Central Coast Mariners: 1. Ben KENNEDY(gk), 2. Storm ROUX, 4. Jake McGING, 5. Antony GOLEC, 6. Tom HIARIEJ, 7. Andrew HOOLE, 8. Blake POWELL (27. Peter SKAPETIS 75’),10. Danny De SILVA, 16. Liam ROSE 22. Jacob MELLING (14. Adam BERRY 85’), 24. Lachlan WALES (62’ 12. Trent BUHAGIAR)
Substitutes not used: 18. Tom GLOVER (gk) & 19. Jacob POSCOLIERO,
Yellow Cards: Antony Golec 29’, Trent Buhagiar 88’
Western Sydney Wanderers: 20. Vedran Janjetovic (gk), 4. Joshua RISDON, 5. Brendon HAMILL, 6. Marcelo CARRUSCA, 7. Steven LUSTICA, 8. Rolieny BONEVACIA (15. Kearyn BACCUS 83’), 9. Oriol RIERA (11. Brendon SANTALAB 77’), 16. Jaushua SOTIRIO (46’ 18. Christopher IKONOMIDIS), 19. Mark BRIDGE, 24. Raul LLORENTE, 33. Michael THWAIT
Substitutes not used: 3. Jack CLISBY & 40. Nicholas SUMAN (gk)
Sunday, 4 February 2018
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Central Coast Mariners vs. Western Sydney Wanderers