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Mariners dominate but held to draw at Bankwest

The Mariners came away from Bankwest with a point on Tuesday night, as goals from Matt Simon and Oliver Bozanic helped them to a 2-2 draw on the back of a dominant performance.

Simon struck first before Bruce Kamau scored a brace to put the hosts ahead, and Bozanic levelled proceedings from the penalty spot on a night where the Mariners had chances but could not find the finishing touch.

Alen Stajcic again named an unchanged starting lineup and his side started strongly from the outset, and looked dangerous moving forward.

It was the visitors who struck first, 23 minutes in, and it was a goal built from the back. Mark Birighitti found Stefan Nigro in plenty of space, and he in turn played Marco Urena who had dropped back to near halfway.

The Costa Rican turned and drove forward at pace, and with Danny DeSilva providing a supporting run on the left, played it through to Simon who remained onside and finished the move with a delightful chip over Daniel Margush to score.

Minutes later a second could have followed as Urena had a shot blocked and the ball ended up back with Bouman but his effort was saved by Margush, and the Wanderers escaped.

Rowles and Tongyik were winning everything in the middle and Birighitti was rarely challenged in the first half, but saved comfortably when called upon as the Mariners headed into the break up by a goal.

Western Sydney had plenty of the ball to begin the second half but threatened sparingly, and the Mariners again began to take the game to the hosts.

Birighitti made a massive save down low from Mitch Duke just before the half hour mark, and then Alou Kuol and Josh Nisbet were introduced with 29 minutes to play and looked to cause problems straight away.

Bouman had a header saved by Margush from a corner, and then Jack Clisby’s shot was cleared off the line by Thomas Aquilina as the Mariners huffed and puffed but could not find the finishing touch.

It would come back to bite with 16 minutes to play, Aquilina’s cross finding Kamau in the middle of the area to slide home an equaliser.

Four minutes later it was two, Kamau driving forward after Gianni Stensness headed wide from a corner and Kamau’s deflected strike wrongfooted Birighitti before burying in the corner.

The Mariners looked to respond quickly, and Kuol created havoc for the Wanderers defenders, and when he appeared to be taken out in the air by Keanu Baccus the VAR intervened, with Chris Beath awarding a spot kick after a look at the screen.

Bozanic made no mistake from the penalty spot to even scores, and although both teams had chances late the ledger would finish all square.

The Mariners now have an extended break ahead of a trip to Tasmania to face Western United, and will return home for a huge clash with Sydney FC on Saturday, 24th April.

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