Mariners penalised for another missed spot kick

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For the second time in four days, the Central Coast Mariners have missed a penalty with the scores locked at 0-0. This time, they were punished through Labinot Haliti’s right boot as the Western Sydney Wanderers moved to the top of the A-League.

Mark Bridge provided a clever deft touch to release Haliti in the 81st minute, and the striker fired past Mat Ryan into the bottom corner to give the Wanderers the lead against the run of play.

Being awarded the penalty was almost more of a punishment than a reward for the Mariners, as when Ryan saw his shot saved by Ante Covic, it almost seemed to confirm that the Mariners were destined not to score.

The first fifteen minutes was drowned in rain and the resulting rigid affair was of no surprise. The fouls flew in, but the Mariners experience in these high intensity, top of the table clashes prevailed as they looked the more composed side. Their midfield diamond was more effective than the Wanderers set-up which featured two wingers, as the rain forced a lot of the opening stages to occur in the middle of the pitch.

Bernie Ibini had the best chance of the first half in the 19th minute, where he failed to deliver what would have been a just reward for the Mariners impressive start considering the conditions. Ibini, playing on the right again tonight,  managed to wrangle free of his marker, but hit his first time shot from eight yards out over the crossbar. Adam D’Appuzo followed suit nine minutes later when his first time shot took a deflection and sat well for him to have a second crack, only to see it fly high and wide.

Pedj Bojic and Joshua Rose were often finding space overlapping, as Youssouf Hersi and Mark Bridge played a little narrower than usual after the first 20 minutes in an attempt combat the Mariners ball movement in the middle of the park. The Mariners fullbacks was a danger the Wanderers had to be wary of, as it has been an important avenue of attack for them during their last three seasons of success.

Dino Kresinger was ruled to have pushed Patrick Zwaanswijk during a 50th minute corner, resulting in a spot kick for the home side. Ryan sprinted down to take it, only to see his penalty straight down the line stopped by Covic’s feet.

When Daniel McBreen’s shot rebounded off the crossbar and back off the line in the 76th minute, the Wanderers ensured they really put the boot in through Haliti’s goal against the run of play just minutes later.

MARINERS: Ryan, Bojic, Zwaanswijk, Sainsbury, Rose, Montgomery, Ibini, Hutchinson, McGlinchey, McBreen, Duke

WANDERERS: Covic, Polenz, Beauchamp, Topor-Stanley, D’Apuzzo, Poljak, La Rocca, Ono, Hersi, Bridge, Kresinger

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