Central Coast Mariners Centre of Excellence, Tuggerah
Kalifa Cissé accepts off-field role
The Central Coast Mariners can today confirm that Kalifa Cissé has accepted an off-field role within the Mariners Academy after his contract was terminated by mutual consent.
Cissé will bestow his wealth of knowledge upon the young players of the Mariners Academy as the Club’s new Youth Ambassador and Community Development Officer, which he will commence immediately.
After being officially de-registered as a Central Coast Mariners’ player, the former English Premier League midfielder will coach the Central Coast Mariners Academy under 15’s team during their upcoming NPL season.
The 35-year-old, who has been suffering with Achilles Tendinopathy, has made the collaborative decision with the club to step aside as a player and allow the club’s young defenders to earn more game time in the Hyundai A-League.
“Working with young players is something I’ve always wanted to do, so this is an exciting opportunity for me,” Cissé said. “Not only do I want to use my experience to help the young players within the academy, I also want to learn from the coaches who have experience within the Mariners Academy.
“The Mariners are lucky to have some great young defenders coming through. Originally, I signed here to help the players on the field, but at 35 I have made the difficult decision to step out as a player, I do not want to stand in the way of these good young players – so for me this is a good decision and will provide these young players with more opportunities to play.
“I’ve been battling the injury since about a month after the season started. For my age, it’s a very complicated thing to fight, so it’s time for me to step aside and let a younger player who is 100% fit to step in and give it their all,” Cissé said.
Hoole’s impressive opener cancelled out by second half strikes
The Central Coast Mariners have conceded at the death to fall 2-1 to Adelaide United away from home after Andrew Hoole opened the scoring with an impressive strike at Coopers Stadium.
Adelaide United 2 (Isaias 66’ & Blackwood 92’) Central Coast Mariners 1 (Hoole 37’)
The run down
Second half strikes to Isaias and George Blackwood sealed three points for Adelaide United after the Mariners went into the half time break with a 1-0 advantage.
The best chance of the first half fell to the Mariners in the 11th minute. Matt Simon jumped above the pack and put his header on target which beat Paul Izzo, but it was cleared off the line by Scott Galloway.
15 minutes later, the Mariners were forced to make a goal line clearance of their own when Craig Goodwin’s shot looked certain to find the back of the net. Enter Kye Rowles who slid in to make one of the most impressive defensive clearances you’ll see.
Full of confidence, the Mariners continued to press high up the park and their persistence was rewarded in the 37th minute when Hoole’s right footer from distance flew perfectly inside the post to make it 1-0.
There was a hint of drama just before half time with Adelaide appealing for a handball in the box, however it was correctly ruled by VAR that it was not a handball, which saw the Mariners hit the sheds with a 1-0 lead.
The Mariners had several chances in the second half to double their lead, the best of the half was a strike from inside the box by Matt Millar that was unfortunately blocked by an unsuspecting Jonathan Aspropotamitis.
Ben Kennedy was kept busy at the other end of the park, called into action on numerous occasions and delivering a raft of top class saves to keep his side in the hunt.
Momentum shifted in the second half in the way of the home side and their efforts were rewarded by goals to Isaias in the 66th minute before substitute George Blackwood headed home the winner in the 92nd minute of play.
37’ HOOLE GOAL (0-1): What a strike. After a couple of promising chances, Hoole took the game by the scruff of the neck and dispatched an impressive curling effort to open the scoring. Offered the time to cut onto his right foot, Hoole’s strike from distance gave Izzo no chance to make a save.
66’ isais goal (1-1): An Adelaide corner bounced around in the box, Isaias pounced on the scraps and found the back of the net with his follow up.
92’ BLACKWOOD GOAL (2-1): At the death, Blackwood broke free and headed home Galloway’s cross at the back post to claim all three points.
Mulvey in the media
“My interpretation was that we at least deserved a point. We frustrated them in the first half with our press and willingness to execute the game plan, we were excellent and deserved the goal.
“We’re playing a top four team here, should be in the top two, they’ve got quality players. They needed to win, they got there in the end and good luck to them.
“From the Sydney game, we’ve been on an upwards curve. The lads have been building in confidence, we’ve been in winning positions. 2-0 up against Wellington, 1-0 up against Sydney, 1-0 up against Adelaide today. We just need to be able to finish teams off.
“We’ve conceded from another set piece. We haven’t cleared the cross, they are first to it and scramble it in. I put it down to concentration. They are break in play moments and that’s a habit. There were a few key moments in the game, BK made a couple of key saves to keep us in it.
“Adelaide are a good side, we took them all the way and that gives us an indicator of how far we’ve come but we’re not ready for that next level. We don’t have that mental toughness to see out a game. That will come.
“We will have another couple of players come into the squad to increase our depth and our training and competition for places. At the end of the day we’ve lost the game, it’s very disappointing but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves because we’ve got a game next week against Victory and we need to be up for that.
“It was a fantastic goal [Hoole] he’s got that in his locker, we’ve got that freedom in the front third and you saw that to its full effect.
“It’s important to keep building depth. Players can’t get too comfortable, players remain hungry if there’s competition. It brings out the best in players,” Mulvey said.
Mariners sign former Premier League midfielder, Jem Karacan
The Central Coast Mariners can today confirm the signing of 29-year-old midfielder Jem Karacan who joins Mike Mulvey’s Mariners for the remainder of the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 season.
An Englishman of Turkish decent, Karacan boasts an impressive CV which includes appearances for Turkey at youth international level, time in the English Premier League with Reading and a stint with Turkish giants: Galatasaray where he featured in the UEFA Champions League against Atlético Madrid.
Karacan arrived in Australia on Wednesday from his most recent spell in the English Championship with Millwall.
The former Reading Club Captain holds several ties to the Central Coast Mariners having spent time with former Mariner Oliver Bozanic at Reading, bossing the midfield with current Mariner Kalifa Cisse and doing battle with current Mariners Assistant Coach/Former Sheffield United Captain, Nick Montgomery.
Karacan’s Hyundai A-League connections don’t stop there, having also played alongside Sydney FC’s Adam Le Fondre at Bolton & Reading.
The Club is hopeful that the compulsory International Transfer Clearance (ITC) and VISA paperwork is cleared in time for him to face Melbourne Victory at home in Round 17.
Upon his arrival at the Central Coast Mariners Centre of Excellence, Karacan spoke of his excitement to get going.
“I want to get into the team. I want to be part of a winning team,” Karacan said. “The Mariners have been unfortunate not to have gotten a few more wins on the board so hopefully I can bring my experience and strengths to help the team push up the table.
“I’m an energetic box-to-box midfielder, I want to get on the ball and hopefully pop up with a couple of goals as well. I’ve played quite a lot of football over the years. I want to come out here and give everything I’ve got to help the club. Everyone who knows me, knows I will always give it my all and that’s something I’m looking to do here at the club.
“I was Captain of Reading, Captain at Bolton, I was Captain of the Youth sides in Turkey. I’m a leader. Hopefully I can show the lads on and off the pitch that I’m a good professional who leads by example. I’m only 29, I’ve got a lot of years left in football so I’m hopeful that by given the opportunity here that I can shine and do everything I can to help the club.
“Everyone has been really welcoming so far. I’ve played with Adam Le Fondre who I’ve always kept in touch with who’s spoken great things about the league. I spoke with Adam Federici, I know Oli Bozanic, so I’ve been hearing nothing but great things about the league and the club.
“The Mariners were interested in me during pre-season so I’ve been watching a lot of their football, keeping my eye on it all.
“I’m ready to go. I feel fit. I only had my last session with Millwall last week, I can’t wait to get on the pitch and show everyone what I can do and enjoy my football,” Karacan said.
Mike Mulvey praised the experienced midfielder joining the Mariners.
“Jem has good experience playing in the Championship, Premier League and Turkey, we were looking at him in the pre-season but we couldn’t agree to terms. His management approached us just before Christmas about a possibility of him coming out. We looked at it, we spoke to him, and we’ve got him in.
“We’ve spoken to the players about how we can help them this season, one of the best ways to do that is adding extra depth to the squad. Jem has good engines, great experience so he will add to that depth.
“He’s combative, energetic, enthusiastic, his experience will be invaluable to us. He will improve our position and our stocks going forward which is absolutely vital.
“The first thing you need to look at with a VISA player coming in is their attitude, what kind of demeanour are they going to bring. We’ve signed Jem on a short-term contract, so he will need to come in and prove a point. If it goes well, we will look at longer term. Right now, he’s coming out to play and to win.
“He comes with glowing reviews on both his ability and his character which is very important. We have Mike Phelan over there who I talk with regularly about what players to bring in – we were both encouraged by the fact that Jem wanted to come and to prove a point – now we will all welcome him with open arms,” Mulvey said.
A goal to Kaine Sheppard was just enough to scrape the Newcastle Jets home before they withstood a relentless second half barrage from the Mariners to somehow, escape with all three points.
Newcastle Jets 1 (Sheppard 54’) Central Coast Mariners 0
The run down
The Mariners had the best chance of the first half when Jack Clisby fired over the bar in the closing stages of a cagey first half where both sides struggled to get a foothold on the game.
After heading to the sheds at half time locked at 0-0, Josh Nisbet earned his Hyundai A-League debut who substituted on for a sore Tom Hiariej at half time.
Wing-back Clisby turned provider after the interval with a good cross that Michael McGlinchey nodded straight at Glen Moss.
But then it was the Jets who converted one of their rare chances to make it 1-0. There were calls for VAR to check Roy O’Donovan’s run in the lead up for off-side, but the goal stood.
Then, the Jets bunkered down and somehow repelled everything the Mariners threw at them, with several goal line saves.
Murray had the first chance in the final 30 minutes when Andrew Hoole’s perfect ball from out wide hit the head of Murray. Murray’s header was on target, but a defender deflected it for a corner. Two minutes later, it was Murray again who looked certain to fire home Clisby’s cross, only to be denied by a desperate Ivan Vujica lunge on the line.
The Jets continued to ride their luck as Lachlan Jackson produced another desperate diving save on substitute Connor Pain after Jonathan Aspropotamitis headed a corner against the crossbar.
And centre-back Jackson had to be alert once more to preserve his side's advantage in stoppage time, crucially turning a goal-bound Murray effort off the line as Central Coast's two-match unbeaten run came to an end.
SHEPPARD GOAL (1-0): A dubious run by Roy O’Donovan ended with a ball into the box that was met by Sheppard who finished from close range.
Mulvey in the media
“Our guys at least deserved a point. At least. We got caught with a through ball, which in my opinion was clearly offside when the ball was played through to O’Donovan. I’m at a loss to understand why it wasn’t checked properly by VAR, and if it was checked properly why we weren’t given an explanation. The explanation I got from the fourth official was that it’s too close to call it in the studio.
“This is not the first time it’s happened to us. The inconsistency is not a good look for the A-League. It’s not about the Mariners, it’s about what it looks like for the league. Every ground has cameras on the 18-yard-box to be able to officiate on VAR discrepancies. I’ve been told on good authority that the 18-yard-camera was taken down before the ball was handballed in the box by Newcastle from Jordan Murray’s shot. Clear handball from where I was sitting. Surely that deserves a second look? I’m aggrieved for our players who didn’t deserve that result.
“My players will keep turning up, we will keep having a go. I thought they had a fantastic effort tonight. That was a 0-0 game at the very least for us, I thought we withstood the pressure of the first half, in the second half our performance was very good, we created very good chances and on another day probably could have scored a few goals.
“We turned a corner, we got some results. We should have had another result tonight. We threw Nisbet in there in the second half who did well, we had three 20-odd year olds marshalling the back three. Wer’re going in the right direction and we will keep fronting up and having a go,” Mulvey said.
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