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Early Rose goal secures Central Coast win

rosearmsThe Central Coast Mariners have given two of their favourite sons a send-off to remember, with Josh Rose’s 2nd minute goal providing the difference in a 1-0 win over the Western Sydney Wanderers.

Tony Walmsley made two changes to his Mariners’s side that lost 6-1 to an in-form Brisbane Roar outfit last week. Hayden Morton and Nick Fitzgerald were excluded from the starting XI, with New Zealand international Storm Roux and debutant Anthony Kalik included in their place.

Additionally, Matt Simon was included on the substitutes bench, in what would be his — and captain John Hutchinson’s — last match at Central Coast Stadium.

For the visitors, a pair of 1-1 draws in the last 7 days against FC Seoul and Melbourne City saw Tony Popovic ring the changes. Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Yusuke Tanaka, Yojiro Takahagi, Tomi Juric, Nikita Rukavytsya and Mark Bridge were all out of the starting line-up, with Matt Spiranovic, Antony Golec, Iacopo La Rocca, Nick Kalmar, Keremy Bulut and Alusine Fofanah brought in.

The Mariners made the perfect start to the game, scoring the opener in just the 2nd minute. Anthony Caceres showed good close control to get past two defenders before laying the ball off for Kalik in the middle of the park. Kalik played in an inch-perfect pass behind the Wanderers’ defence, allowing the onrushing Josh Rose to slide the ball under Dean Bouzanis and into the back of the net.

Five minutes later, and the Wanderers could’ve been back on level terms. A free kick from the left wing was curled toward the back post, with Liam Reddy unable to make contact with his fist as he ran out to meet the ball. La Rocca, who was waiting at the back post, perhaps didn’t expect the ball to reach him, as his reflex header went over the bar from close range.

Western Sydney continued to pressure the Mariners, and started to get on top of the game. Kerem Bulut and Romeo Castelen, in paticular, were causing all kinds of headaches, as they continually broke out of midfield on the counter-attack.

Castelen and Bulut both had chances in the mid-sections of the first half, but a combination of lacklustre finishing and quality goalkeeping by Liam Reddy kept the score at 1-0 to the home side.

The visitors had three chances in ten seconds to equalise in the 23rd minute, as they once again found a way in behind the Mariners’ defence. First, Fofanah had his chip shot blocked by the head of Liam Reddy, then Kalmar’s effort toward goal was cleared away near the penalty spot by Nick Montgomery. The third chance fell to Castelen, but his shot lacked power and was easily saved by a grateful Reddy.

The last chance of the half fell to the impressive Anthony Caceres. In the 37th minute, the young attacking midfielder managed to beat two defenders on the edge of the box, but his follow-up shot went disappointingly wide of the net.

The match continued with attacking fervour from both sides after the break. Castelen went close in the 52nd minute for the Wanderers, but his shot from the right side of the penalty area could only find the side netting.

At the other end of the park, though, the Mariners had two excellent chances to double their advantage. In the 59th minute, a weaving, jinking run by Fabio Ferreira ended with substitute Nick Fitzgerald shooting narrowly wide of the near post with his first touch of the game. Then, minutes later, Fitzgerald turned provider for Isaka Cernak, who also failed to find the target from a similar location.

The Wanderers broke through behind the Mariners’ defensive line yet again in the 69th minute, with Kerem Bulut finding space. Rather than playing in a teammate in space, though, the striker opted for a shot at goal, which was deflected out for a corner.

The game continued in an end-to-end fashion, with a lazy turnover by the Wanderers gifting possession to the home side, who attacked through Fabio Ferreira. Chancing his speed, the Portugese winger rushed into the box and forced a quality save from Dean Bouzanis.

In the 78th minute, it would’ve been 2-0 to the Mariners if not for the intervention of Spiranovic. A fantastic turn by Fitzgerald on the edge of the box allowed Josh Rose to charge through into the box and ready himself for an easy finish. Just as he shot, though, Spiranovic slid in expertly to deflect the shot away for a corner.

John Hutchinson made way in the 82nd minute for Liam Rose, with the 9,548 fans in attendance standing as one to give the 200-game Mariners stalwart an emotional farewell. Shortly after, Isaka Cernak came off for Matt Simon, who received a similar ovation as he took the field for the final 10 minutes of the match.

Despite a few half chances in the final minutes of the match, the Wanderers couldn’t find a way through a determined Mariners defensive line, leaving them rooted to the bottom of the A-League table.

About the author

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

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  • britesparke

    Another week and another loss for WSW. I am not a fan of the rotation policy-what use is there in mothballing your best players to field a team that lacks cohesion? The result of this policy is what you see with the WSW-bottom of the table and almost certain recipent of the dreaded kitchen implement. A nightmare schedule has not helped but there is no excuse for not fielding your best eleven every time- we are talking about professional footballers of the variety that thrive on playing as much as possible. Just as well I have a bulk supply of sedatives on hand for this season!