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Mariners celebrate Simon with comeback win

The Central Coast Mariners came from 2-0 down to defeat Melbourne City 3-2 in Gosford on Wednesday night in Matt Simon’s 200th A-League game for the Mariners.

On a milestone night it was the milestone man who played a key role, assisting Jaden Casella’s first ever A-League goal and scoring the second as the Mariners stormed over the top of a 10-man City outfit.

With the Mariners down Joshua Nisbet once again and resting skipper Oliver Bozanic, Daniel DeSilva’s second goal of the season proved to be the winner as the hosts clawed back into the match.

Marco Ureña and Michal Janota both made their starting debuts, with Casella inserted back into the starting lineup as Alen Stajcic rotated the squad after yet another short turnaround.

The Mariners started strong but a couple of chances were not put away, and City punished them 23 minutes in when Adrian Luna turned in a cross from close range. Eight minutes later the deficit was two goals, this time it was Jamie Maclaren as he was set free to poke the ball home past Mark Birighitti.

But four minutes before the break, the Mariners struck back. Gianni Stensness won a header from Tom Glover’s goal kick, and Simon held off two City players before nodding the ball towards DeSilva.

The return ball found Ureña to play a perfect quick ball in for Simon, and he had the poise to see Casella running into space for a tap in to cut the lead in half at the break.

Max Balard and Alou Kuol were introduced 10 minutes into the second half and two minutes later Simon won a penalty as Nathaniel Atkinson barged into him underneath a high ball.

There was never any doubt about the result as Simon stepped up and thrashed the ball home, and three minutes after that City were on their heels when Kuol forced Kerrin Stokes into a foul that saw him earn a second yellow card and his marching orders.

From there the home side pushed on, and it was DeSilva’s strike, worthy of winning any game, that proved the difference between the two sides.

The midfielder chased down the ball after losing it, before playing a one-two with Kuol, driving towards the area and rifling a drive past Glover and into the corner to send the home fans into raptures.

The final 10 minutes saw City have chances, but they could not convert as the Mariners returned to the summit of the A-League table.

Another short turnaround now awaits, with Western United visiting Central Coast Stadium on Sunday in Match Week 7 of the A-League.

Kids Go Free for Sunday’s game, and you can purchase tickets by clicking here!

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Wellington Phoenix Sinks Central Coast Mariners 2-1

Courtesy Wellington Phoenix

The Wellington Phoenix have earnt their first win tonight with a riveting 2-1 victory against Central Coast Mariners, thanks to a solid effort by Ulises Dávila in the first half and Jaushua Sotirio’s go-ahead goal just before full time – not to mention an outstanding defensive performance from Nix goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic.

The welcome return of Alex Rufer to the line-up also saw Clayton Lewis back in a starting role, with coach Ufuk Talay electing to use speedster Sotirio as an impact player off the bench.

The match would kick off in wet conditions with possession evenly shared in the first 10 minutes, with both sides content to feel each other out. An early attempt by James McGarry would be off target, and a pair of chances by the Mariner’s Matt Simon would also be thwarted.

Ulises Dávila would strike first at the 15 minute mark, with a brilliant strike from just outside the box - taking a clever pass from Tomer Hemed to rocket one home past a sliding Mark Birighitti, putting the Nix up 1-0 early.

It would be Davila’s second goal of the season and Hemed’s first assist; also only the second goal given up so far this season by the Mariners stingy defense, which had included three clean sheets in its first four matches.

Dávila would have more chances before the half; an attempt at 25 minutes sailing over the net, and then a free kick he was unable to convert after David Ball was taken down outside the box.

It would be 19-year old Alou Kuol who would equalise for the Mariners at 40 minutes, heading home his third goal of the season off of a set piece to bring Central Coast back into the match.

Marinovic would palm away a last-ditch attempt by the Mariners just before 45 minutes, taking the Phoenix into half-time all squared up at one apiece; the Nix looking in control thanks to strong performances from McGarry, Dávila and Cameron Devlin in particular.

The second half would again see both teams trading possession in the first ten minutes; Kuol almost picking up a second goal but blowing his opportunity in front of the goal.

The Mariners would continue to put pressure on the Phoenix, taking control of possession for much of the second half. A ten minute span would see the Mariner’s Oliver Bozanic unsuccessful on three occasions thanks to a swarming Marinovic; the imposing goalkeeper dominating in goal as part of a strong second-half defensive performance by the Phoenix.

DeVere would make the defensive play of the match at the 87 minute mark, preventing an opportune goal attempt by Jordan Smylie. That effort would allow the Phoenix to recover and go on the attack minutes later, with Rufer chipping a perfect pass to a blazing Jaushua Sotirio for his first goal of the season – putting the Nix up 2-1 just before 90 minutes.

The Phoenix would hold on to win the match 2-1 for their first win of the 2020/21 A-League season, and coach Ufuk Talay says that the club will “take the three points and move on.”

“Those three points are important to build confidence within the group, to get that boost,” said Talay.

“The first half we were really really good, we played really good football; the second half was totally different but I’m pleased with the boys being able to fight and grind and get the final result.

“It’s a cliched game of two halves; we played well the first half and the Mariners attacked in the second half, but I’m very pleased with our defensive performance tonight – they put a lot of balls into the box that we dealt with, and they resorted to shooting from distance which Stefan dealt with comfortably as well.”

Talay also had praise for Sotirio’s contribution off the bench tonight.

“You want your subs to come on and make an impact and he [Sotirio] came on to score the winner – he was very effective for us and most importantly we walk away with the three points.

“Jaushua is effective when he has space and he’s got a lot of pace to go in behind – Rufer played a ball over the top with a great finish from [Jaushua].”

The Phoenix will now have eight days to prepare for their next match, away to Sydney FC at Netstrata Stadium on Monday 8 February, with Wellington looking to seek revenge for their 2-1 loss against Sydney back in Match Week 2.

Wellington Phoenix Starting XI
1.Stefan MARINOVIC (gk), 3.Luke DEVERE, 5.James MCGARRY, 6.Tim PAYNE, 8.Cameron DEVLIN, 9.David BALL, 10.Ulises DAVILA(c), 14.Alex RUFER, 17.Tomer HEMED, 21.Joshua LAWS, 23.Clayton Lewis

Central Coast Mariners Starting XI
1.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 5.Stefan NIGRO, 6.Gianni STENSNESS, 8.Oliver BOZANIC (c), 10.Daniel DESILVA, 11.Jack CLISBY, 14.Daniel BOUMAN, 15.Kye ROWLES, 19.Matt SIMON, 21.Ruon TONGYIK, 29.Alou KUOL

Wellington Phoenix Substitutes
61’ ON 15.Mirza MURATOVIC OFF 23.Clayton LEWIS
83’ ON 11.Jaushua SOTIRIO OFF 9.David BALL
90+1’ ON 4.Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI OFF 10.Ulises DAVILA

Central Coast Mariners Substitutions
54’ ON 26.Jaden CASELLA OFF 14.Daniel BOUMAN
70’ ON 30.Jordan SMYLIE OFF 29.Alou KUOL
70’ ON 12.Marcos UREÑA OFF 19.Matt SIMON
90’ ON 22.Michal JANOTA OFF 10.Daniel DESILVA

Goals
15’ Ulises DAVILA (Wellington Phoenix)
41’ Alou KUOL (Central Coast Mariners)
88’ Jaushua SOTIRIO (Wellington Phoenix)

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Central Coast Mariners FC

The Central Coast Mariners came away with a 2-0 victory against Sydney FC at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Friday night to secure top spot and their first away win in seven years against the Sky Blues

An own goal from Ben Warland from a Daniel Bouman cross, and a strike from Alou Kuol proved enough for the visitors who held onto their lead well and came away with a two goal victory.

Steve Corica’s men are much the same side that lifted the trophy last year and they flexed their muscles early on in the match however Ruon Tongyik, who has been in great form to start the season, was a match for the speedy Barbarouses and Buhagiar.

The first half passed without much incident bar a good chance for Oli Bozanic after a well worked free kick routine found the captain unmarked at the back post, who could only direct his header wide.

The second half arrived with a bang with chances aplenty for both sides. Mark Birrighitti was again in stellar form and saved on multiple occasions to deny the Sky Blue outfit and the frustration began to grow for the fans in the stands and the players on the field.

Sydney thought they had the lead as Trent Buhagiar put the ball in the back of the net, only for it to be flagged for offside, and shortly after the Mariners took the lead.

The match was calling out for a bit of individual drive and that came from starting debutant Bouman, who carried the ball from just inside halfway and whipped in a low cross that was diverted into his own net by Ben Warland, thanks to pressure from birthday boy Matt Simon.

If that goal lifted the Mariners morale, it inspired Sydney FC to push harder for an equaliser which ultimately would never arrive thanks to desperate defending from the back four and superb work from Birighitti.

The pivotal moment of the match arrived in the 74th minute when a nice combination from Josh Nisbet and Jordan Smylie broke kindly to Alou Kuol. The confident youngster did not pass up on his opportunity and fired home into the corner via a deflection off a defender that beat Andrew Redmayne.

Sydney would huff and puff but couldn’t blow the Mariners defensive house down and the win sees the Mariners return to the top of the A-League table with three wins in four matches.

Attention now turns to a hectic period for the Yellow and Navy with a period of three home games in eight days, beginning with Wellington Phoenix on Sunday, 31st January.

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Wanderers go top as Muller’s late goal sinks the Mariners
Courtesy: John Greco

Central Coast Mariners FC

A late goal from substitute Nicolai Muller has handed Western Sydney Wanderers a 1-0 win over Central Coast Mariners in a fiery clash in Gosford on Tuesday night.

In a game of few chances but plenty of spice, Muller struck the decisive blow seven minutes from time to inflict the first defeat of the season on the Mariners.

The win for Carl Robinson’s side has seen them jump to the top of the A-League ladder on goal difference on the back of a three-game unbeaten run.

It was a contest that could have gone either way, with Mariners midfielder Joshua Nisbet hitting the crossbar with a strike early in the second half.

The late goal came at the end of an entertaining and – at times – fiery contest.

Mariners skipper Matt Simon was involved in a couple of flash points in the first half, while Wanderers defender Ziggy Gordon was public enemy no.1 with the Central Coast fans against his former club.

But Gordon and the Wanderers had the last laugh with a gritty win to move to the A-League summit.

Key moments
Cox goes close for Wanderers
It was an all-action start with both sides pressing for an opening goal but it was the visitors that went the closest inside 10 minutes.

And it was the imports that combined as Graham Dorrans’ free-kick picked out Simon Cox who couldn’t keep his header down.

Simon denied by Margush magnificence
It took just a few more minutes for the Mariners to carve out their best chance of the opening half.

Jack Clisby floated in a cross from the left with Mariners skipper Matt Simon rising highest to get a header towards goal.

Simon’s towering effort was floating towards the top corner but Wanderers gloveman Daniel Margush showed great agility to claw the ball away for a corner.

Troisi can’t find a way past Birighitti
It was the Wanderers that started the second half the stronger and they almost broke the deadlock soon after the interval.

Cox was again involved, showing great awareness to chest down a lofted pass into the path of James Troisi, but the playmaker’s shot from the edge of the box was straight at the Mariners shot-stopper.

Nisbet rattles the woodwork
While Troisi’s chance was a good one, the Mariners went even closer to grabbing the opener just after the hour mark.

The excellent Nisbet wriggled free of a couple of defenders before spotting the run of Daniel De Silva who drove into the box.

De Silva returned the ball to Nisbet in the middle and while the diminutive midfielder scuffed his first effort, he got a better connection to his second attempt which cannoned onto the crossbar.

Substitutes combine for Wanderers
Just as it looked as neither side would be able to find a breakthrough, the Wanderers delivered a decisive blow on 83 minutes.

And it was a couple of substitutes that were the instigators as the Mariners defence allowed a long ball over the top to bounce inside their penalty area.

Kwame Yeboah’s powerful shot was deflected into the path of Muller who made no mistake with an assured finish much to the delight of the away fans.

Next match
Sydney FC v Central Coast Mariners
Matchweek 5
Friday, 22 January 2021
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Kick-off: 7.05pm AEDT
Match Centre

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The Central Coast Mariners spoiled the party at Campbelltown Stadium for the Macarthur Bulls inaugural home match and came away 2-0 victors in as Daniel DeSilva scored in the first half and Jordan Smylie sealed the victory late.

Mariners tame Bulls for back to back wins

The opening stages of the game were very cagey with few chances for either side, with Simon going closest for the visitors and Najjar for the hosts early on.

The main action of the half came later on as Josh Nisbet was released down the line by Stefan Nigro. Nisbet then played a low cross back toward the penalty spot that evaded everyone except for De Silva who poked the ball into the top corner, giving the visitors a 1-0 lead.  

The Mariners looked strong for the remainder of the half and could’ve doubled their lead when Kuol was put through on goal from Bozanic’s long ball, but pressure from the Bulls defence and a decent save from Federici prevented that.

Macarthur threatened on occasions through the second half, but a superb defensive display across the full 90 minutes from Kye Rowles, Ruon Tongyik, Jack Clisby, Nigro and then Lewis Miller too kept them at bay.

Daniel Bouman grabbed an assist in his debut outing with the Mariners.

The hosts best chance came from a well worked free kick which teed up Ivan Franjic for a shot from the edge of the area, and despite deflecting was kept out by a wonderful save by Mark Birighitti.

There was concern for Clisby late on as he suffered a dislocated shoulder after going over the advertising hoardings while defending, but had it popped back in to finish off the game.

The sealing moment came late on as Miller found debutant Daniel Bouman down the right edge, and he beat the Macarthur line perfectly to stay onside. He drove into the box and squared the ball for Smylie to tap in, and after a brief VAR check Smylie’s first A-League goal was confirmed to wrap up the 2-0 win for the Mariners.

The victory marked the first pair of back to back wins in the league for the Mariners since December 2017, and leaves the Mariners on top of the A-League table with a 16-day break until the next home outing against Western Sydney Wanderers.

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