The Central Coast Mariners have made it two wins from two on the coast, defeating the Western Sydney Wanderers by two goals from Cy Goddard in the 60th minute and Oliver Bozanic with the last kick of the match.
It was a relatively stagnated start on the coast compared to the Mariners’ two-goal blitz in the opening 16 minutes last week against Sydney FC, but there wasn’t a lack of chances created in the opening stages of the match.
The Mariners created multiple openings in the first half, with both Moresche and Marco Urena failing to capitalise on opportunities inside the box.
They resorted to counter-attacking opportunities, prioritising long balls over the top and wide of the Wanderers’ two isolated fullbacks, which paid dividends in chances created, but the stock fell with a lack of finishing touch.
However, the Mariners capitalised on the Wanderers’ defensive lethargicness early in the second half, opening the scoring in the 60th minute, just before the drinks break.
A good pass from Josh Nisbet found the overlapping Lewis Miller on the right, who drove at the defence before squaring it to Cy Goddard, who made no mistake in thumping it home from close range.
The Mariners secured victory with the last kick of the game, as club captain Oliver Bozanic guided home a beautiful freekick on his 100th appearance in the A-League Men.
ROBINSON IN OR OUT?
The Wanderers looked an improved side with the ball tonight but still struggled both in defensive transitions and when pressing in the defensive third.
The hot weather would have played a big part, but Western Sydney looked increasingly stagnant when the Mariners had possession in the attacking third and similarly motionless in tracking back when losing the ball.
The Wanderers conceded countless breakaways from the back two being isolated by the Mariners pair of strikers, with the home side pinging balls wide of the two.
The problem was that following the first run, Western Sydney struggled to follow the runners, presenting the Mariners with time to control passes within their own penalty area.
This was increasingly evident for the Mariners’ opening goal of the match, with Lewis Miller free to take the ball into his stride and square it to Goddard – who was also open – at the back post.
The Wanderers looked positive in their attacking rotations but this is a problem that Carl Robinson has to resolve – a more clinical Mariners side would have punished the Wanderers in that first half.
YOUNG MARINERS BACKLINE STRONG
Over the last two games, the Mariners’ starting backline excluding goalkeeper Mark Birighitti has all been 23 or under, with an average age of 21.25.
Central Coast has conceded just 0.8 goals per match so far this campaign, but their expected goals conceded of 8.44 suggests it should have been higher, at a rate of around two per game, but nevertheless the young defence has been impressive from the Mariners.
Kye Rowles has continued his stellar form of last campaign, remaining solid at the back and has complimented Daniel Hall well, the latter of which is looking more comfortable with every game, not just off the ball but in his progressiveness with possession.
19-year-old Jacob Farrell endured another faultless game while looking threatening with his complimentary overlapping runs to Cy Goddard’s trickiness and feints with the ball.
Lewis Miller has also provided aggressivity and physicality that was perhaps lacking in the other three and is invaluable in his pressing and ability to win his one on one duels on an increasingly consistent basis, as shown in his pinpoint pass to set up the Mariners’ first goal of the match.
Marco Urena most certainly wasn’t missing in terms of his actions in the game, but more in the literal sense of not managing to find the target with the plethora of opportunities that came his way.
The Costa Rican forward took five of the Mariners’ eleven shots but found the target on just one occasion.
That lone shot on target was when Urena was pressed, and he drove a smart low ball at Tomas Mejias’ near post.
However, it seemed that the less he was pressed, the more he second-guessed himself and struggled to trouble the goalkeeper.
The composure with time in front of goal is something that Urena will have to work on, as the game could have been close to over in the first half, had he converted one or two of his appealing first-half chances.
A-League Men Round Five, Central Coast Stadium
Central Coast Mariners 2 (Cy Goddard 60m, Oliver Bozanic 90+7m)
Western Sydney Wanderers 0
HOW DID THE MANAGERS REACT?
Central Coast Mariners: Nick Montgomery
“We put in a good performance first and foremost. The first half was very slow, and they (the Wanderers) started very well.”
“Moresche has been superb alongside Urena and with young players coming through, and Nicolai (Muller) getting 20 minutes today, we’ve got a strong bench (and foundation).”
Western Sydney Wanderers: Carl Robinson
“We don’t get enough clear cut chances – we’re looking for the perfect goal. We need to be better.
“We need to revist different ways of interchanges around the box. We train very hard and like any coach would say, we’re as good as anyone.
“I want to play with the ball. I think the tactical philosophy is dependent on the result of the game. If we win then people don’t ask questions about the philosophy.
Image Source: A-League Men