Rose double sinks Phoenix

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A double from full back Josh Rose has fired the Central Coast Mariners past the Wellington Phoenix and into third place in Wellington tonight.

The Mariners started brightly and should have been one up on the ten minute mark when McGlinchy popped up on the end of a deflected cut back. He had plenty of time to size up the chance but side footed it high and wide with his right foot when the left might have been a better option.

The Central Coast had a succession of corners defended shakily by the Phoenix, but they got the breakthrough that had been coming five minutes later. Amini rolled the ball wide to Josh Rose in miles of space on the right. He drifted inside, Jade North lost his footing and Rose thumped the ball into the top corner from 20 yards out. It was a fantastic strike and a well-deserved lead for a Central Coast side already in full control.

The Phoenix were struggling to get near the Central Coast players in a worrying reminder of their last home game where they lost badly to Brisbane. Ifill provided them with their brightest moment of the half so far when he came inside from the left and blasted over after some good build up play by Lia.

The Mariners continued to look comfortable until the Phoenix finished the second half with two great chances falling to captain Andrew Durante. First Simon Elliot floated a great left footed ball to the far post off a short corner that somehow evaded Durante only a yard out, then a minute later the captain headed a superb Ifill ball just wide, consigning the Phoenix to end the half without a shot on target.

Wellington opened the second half with a flurry of corners, but the match soon settled down into a familiar pattern. Central Coast were happy to keep the ball while the Phoenix were not looking particularly dangerous. From another corner, however, they very nearly snatched an unlikely equaliser. The ball was headed out and Elliot struck a beautifully hit shot from well over 25 yards out into the crossbar. There was a scramble from the resulting rebound but the linesmans flag was up.

The Central Coast thought they had the all-important second when they had the ball in the back of the net just before the hour mark, but the flag was up again.

The game was opening up and as a result there was finally some end to end action. The Phoenix again thought they’d equalised in the 65th when Greenacre got to the near post first and flicked an Ifill cross goalwards, but it came back off the inside of the far post and the Central Coast keeper snared it in the ensuing scramble.

Ten minutes later Adam Kwasnik nearly sunk his old club when he burst through the middle. He got inside Durante well, worked the ball onto his right foot and tried to bend it into right corner but Paston produced a great save to keep his side in with a chance of a point.

With ten to go Josh Rose got his second to ensure Wellington wouldn’t even get that. Once again he cut inside onto his right foot and fired past Paston. This time the shot was low and hard underneath the Phoenix keeper, but the defending by the Wellington fullbacks was no better.

There was still time for Josh Rose to inflict further damage on the Phoenix. With five to go the Mariners broke down the left again. This time Wellington old boy Kwasnik was the one with the finishing touch as he had the easiest of passes into the back of the net from Rose’s cut back.

Peter O’Leary finally brought the misery to an end as the Phoenix slumped to a second consecutive loss at home. The Mariners surge up to third, and with games in hand will fancy themselves to climb higher. The questions won’t get any easier for the Phoenix, and Ricki Herbert’s side find themselves in real danger of dropping seriously off the pace.

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