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FFA Cup: Trifiro strike puts Mariners through

FFACup_RO32_SCW_v_CCMCentral Coast booked their spot in the FFA Cup’s Round of 16, following a 1-0 win over South Coast Wolves in Wollongong on Wednesday night. In front of over 6,000 fans at WIN Stadium, Glen Trifiro’s 13th minute strike was the difference, with the Mariners becoming the 5th A-League club through to the final 16.

The home side were coming off a convincing 5-1 victory in their final NSWPL match of the season against APIA Leichhardt, but a 7th place finish meant that the Wollongong-based side would miss the upcoming finals series.

South Coast started the stronger of the two teams, with their high-pressing style and physicality serving them well in the opening stanzas. With less than a minute on the clock, the Wolves had their first chance of the game, but a cross in from the left flank agonisingly drifted over an onrushing South Coast attacker.

The Mariners started to find their way into the game, and the difference in quality between the two sides started to show. Nick Fitzgerald and Mitchell Duke combined well in the 6th minute, with the former’s shot well blocked by the Wolves defence.

Minutes later, though, and the Mariners would take the ascendancy. A through-ball by Josh Rose was perfectly weighted to find Glen Trifiro, who slid his shot across Wolves’ keeper Daniel Collison and into the far corner.

The goal lit a fire under the Wolves, but rather than an attacking mindset it only resulted in referee Ben Williams handing out a series of yellow cards for some rash challenges.

Eventually, South Coast would have their first real chance of the match, but it was more good fortune than enterprise that led to the opportunity. A corner was unable to be cleared by the Mariners, and after the ball ricocheted around the box, Trifiro’s clearing kick struck the head of Wolves defender James Baldacchino and glanced off the crossbar for a relieving goal kick.

From there, the remainder of the half belonged to the Mariners. Fitzgerald had a side-footed shot blocked in the 26th minute, before Zac Anderson’s goal-bound effort from a corner in the 31st minute was headed off the line by the Wolves’ defence.

Duke was continuing to provide South Coast with plenty of headaches, and in the 37th minute he came close to extending the Mariners’ lead. After Caceres put Duke through into the South Coast penalty area, the striker’s jinked shot bounced out off the upright, allowing a grateful Wolves defensive line to clear.

Half time gave the home side a chance to take a breath, and early indications in the second half were that it was just what was needed. A shaky start by the Mariners was compounded by a Wolves side that were desperate to find a way back into the game.

Five minutes into the half, and a shot by Samuel Matthews was blocked by the Mariners with Liam Reddy well out of position after the ball had pinballed around the penalty area.

The game slowed down considerably around the hour mark, with the Mariners content to absorb the pressure being applied by the Wolves and pick their moments to attack.

Storm Roux had an excellent chance to double the lead in the 81st minute, but after some good combination work between new signing Malick Mane and Fitzgerald, the Wolves defence did just enough to clear the ball from Roux’s feet, with referee Williams waving away the New Zealand international’s pleas for a spot kick.

Ultimately, the Mariners were rarely troubled in the closing stages of the match, with a late blocked chance on the edge of the box the best the home side could manage in what was a tight and hard fought Cup match.

About the author

avatarJustin is a passionate football fan, and the Editor-in-chief of Ultimate A-League.

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