Phoenix upset Mariners at home

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The boys in yellow became the boys in pink today, swapping their usual kit for a more vibrant option in support of women’s cancer research.

Following their victory over Newcastle Jets last weekend, and a mid-week 5-0 win against Queensland’s Palm Beach Sharks in the Quarter Finals of the Westfield FFA Cup, the Mariners were feeling confident before stepping onto the pitch.

The winning-spree wasn’t to last, however, with the Wellington Phoenix managing to pip a win over the Mariners at their home ground, coming from behind to pick up a 2-1 win.

“Ironically I thought the overall performance was far better than last week,” Phil Moss said after the game.

The glimpses of beautiful game we saw last week against Newcastle were appearing more often today; Joshua Rose had some good runs and captain John Hutchinson created plenty of movement through the midfield.

Malick Mane again brought pace going forward and applied plenty of pressure to the Phoenix’s defence, but also gave away a few crucial opportunities and wasn’t quite able to come through with the goods/goals.

“I’m sure he’ll get better as the season goes on and I’m confident he will score goals,” Moss said after the game.

Mitchell Duke had two particularly smashing shots on goal within the first half-hour and, riding on the confidence of his four goals against the Sharks, Matt Sim was moving well throughout the pitch.

Maybe the A-League needs another few weeks to settle into the swing of things, with the first goal for the Mariners coming in truly shambolic style, courtesy of Wellington’s Thomas Doyle.

The Yellow Army thought crisis was averted when Jeremy Brockie hit his 34th minute penalty into the crossbar, only for the rebound to be followed in by Michael McGlinchey.

“Mikey had some great years here at the Mariners, and the Mariners helped turn him into an international player,” Moss said after the game.

Seems that McGlinchey also knew where to exploit his former team. Although his initial reception was fairly respectful, he was hazed by the crowd for the rest of the game. Serves him right.

“Focusing on a rock-solid defence” was a key factor of Moss’s pre-game preparation, which was apparent when Storm Roux received a yellow card in the 47th minute. Sure enough, cracks started appearing in the marble, with the Mariners reverting to last weekend’s sloppy defence, allowing Nathan Burns to score in the 53rd minute.

In a hope to salvage some of the game, Moss swapped Seung Yong Kim for Glen Trifiro in the 56th minute. Anthony Caceres came on for Nick Montgomery in the 63rd minute probably in the hope that he would stir up some action in the midfield.

With Moss putting Nick Fitzgerald on to replace an exhausted Mane in the 71st minute, it seemed he was going to pull all the cards out to get a goal.

“I was very happy with the impact Trifiro, Caceres and Fitzgerald all had, I thought all three of them did extremely well and gave us momentum off the bench,” Moss said.

Fitzgerald had an absolute cracker of a shot in the 78th minute but hit the crossbar. Trifiro followed with a great breakaway and shot, which was skilfully saved by ‘Nix goalkeeper Glen Moss.

Into the last fifteen minutes of the game, the Mariners had renewed their energy and pressure going forward. The men in pink were on top of the game, but not the scoresheet.

“What you’ve gotta look at are the chances we’ve made; and when we had the pressure on them I thought there were a couple of decisions that didn’t go our way,” Moss said, although he maintained that he wasn’t making any excuses for the loss.

A corner for the Mariners in the 89th minute almost found Mitchell Duke, who threw his whole body at the ball in an attempt to find the goal.

Goalkeeper Liam Reddy had quite enough when he sprinted at Doyle and gave him a good old-fashioned shoulder-barge for wasting time. He got a yellow, and the Mariners still didn’t get a goal.

The 2-1 win will be a shot of confidence to the Phoenix team, giving them the belief that the side can come back from a deficit away from home.

Central Coast Mariners starting XI: 2. Storm Roux, 4. Jacob Poscoliero, 3. Joshua Rose, 7. John Hutchinson, 8. Nick Montgomery, 9. Mitchell Duke, 12. Liam Reddy (goalkeeper), 14. Malick Mane, 15. Matthew Sim, 25. Eddy Bosnar, 26. Seung Yong Kim

Substitutions: 1. Matthew Nash (goalkeeper), 5. Zachary Anderson, 10. Anthony Caceres, 11. Nick Fitzgerald, 18. Glen Trifiro

Wellington Phoenix starting XI: 1. Glen Moss (goalkeeper), 2. Emanuel Muscat, 4. Roleiny Bonevacia, 8. Alex Rodriguez, 9. Nathan Burns, 10. Michael McGlinchey, 11. Jeremy Brockie, 13. Albert Riera, 18. Benjamin Sigmund, 19. Thomas Doyle, 22. Andrew Durante ©

Substitutions: 5. Michael Boxall, 7. Kenny Cunningham, 16. Luis Fenton, 17. Vince Lia, 20. Lewis Italiano (goalkeeper)

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