Wanderers and Mariners squander opportunities

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An exhausting 0-0 draw between the Western Sydney Wanderers and the Central Coast Mariners saw a plethora of opportunities for both sides, with neither being able to convert these chances into a goal.

The opening moments of the game presented the first opportunity for the Central Coast Mariners which was a free kick taken by Matthew Sim that was forced out by Wanderers super-keeper Ante Covic.

The first opportunity for the Wanderers was executed by Seyi Adeleke, who was certainly spectacular throughout the game, as he sent a long and beautiful cross that was sadly not interpreted by the rest of his team mates.

The Central Coast Mariners tried to press the ball further into red and black territory but the Wanderers’ defence was rock solid preventing, any opportunities to transform into something further.

Wanderer Shannon Cole sent a brilliant cross to Mateo Poljak that eventuated into nothing but proved the continuous struggle the Mariners faced with maintaining possession of the ball.

The Mariners could have almost been described as ‘sluggish’ in comparison to the fast tempo play of the Wanderers in the first half. A free kick led by Vitor Saba is dismissed by Liam Reddy as a mad scramble ensues in the penalty box by the Wanderers trying to get the ball into the goal.

Anthony Caceres from the Mariners managed to win a free kick on the left wing, but this once again eventuated to nothing due to the Wanderers solid defence.

After Iacopo La Rocca sliced down a Mariner, a free kick was awarded to Central Coast who let Fitzgerald attempt to add to the scoreboard. This then led to Joshua Rose receiving the first yellow card in the evening for a late and messy tackle.

The red and black remained hopeful in the first half, with Tomi Juric swerving around and through the Mariner’s defence only to shoot the ball into their backs.

The Wanderers momentum in the latter parts of the first half continued with Romeo Castelen finding an opening within the Central Coast’s defence and passed the ball quickly to Tomi Juric who falls over in the goal area ultimately concluding the first half.

The second half brought on a much stronger Mariners who seemed to have settled more into the game. This was seen through Matthew Sim sending a shot once again in the opening minutes of the half, forcing Ante Covic in an oblique and awkward position to save the ball.

Wanderer Iacopo La Rocca soon found an opening and sends the ball with force and precision right into the keeper. This led the Mariners on the counter with Mitchell Duke heading the ball down to Fitzgerald, who then managed to send the ball right on top of the net.

Vitor Saba then tried to score a goal from a corner, which ended up sending the ball back into Wanderers possession where Castelen was unable to convert a spectacular opportunity into a goal. Moments later Mateo Poljak recieved a yellow card for a late tackle.

The Wanderers then instigated their first substitution for the game with Nikita Rukavysta coming off and Mark Bridge coming on, continuing the attacking nature in their structure.

Mitchell Duke then sent a shot that was easily saved by Covic. It was foul after foul for the Mariners who continuously gave the Wanderers opportunities to score.

Mariner Sim is brought off and Iska Cernak is brought on, with Wanderer Saba quickly acting to shoot the ball towards Reddy forcing him to make another save while the team is relatively unsettled.

Despite starting off very strong, the Mariners really struggled to match the pace that was set by the Wanderers. The Mariners continued to make changes to their line up with Captain John Hutchinson coming off for Glen Trifiro.

The game went through periods of stagnation and bursts into brilliant football with the Wanderers making their last substitution of the game replacing Saba with Labinot Haliti in the hopes that he could perhaps secure a goal.

The final moments saw tensions high due to the increasing amounts of desperation by both sides to secure a win. Eddy Bosnar was brought on for the Mariners replacing Jacob Poscoleiro in the 88th minute.

A Shannon Cole cross to Tomi Juric almost seemed to have sealed the deal for the Wanderers except Juric headed the ball far away from goal.

The final seconds saw the complete draining of energy by the Wanderers with both Mark Bridge and Castelen sending shots on goal, but once again for the Wanderers the recurring theme of creating great opportunities but not converting them, seemed to have haunted them throughout the game.

The conclusion of the match at a 0-0 was relatively surprising considering the vast amount of opportunities created by both sides, in particular the Wanderers, who could have easily scored a few goals and set the scene for their next match against Newcastle Jets.

Western Sydney Wanderers starting XI: Matthew SPIRANOVIC (C), Shannon COLE, Brendan HAMILL, Mateo POLJAK, Tomi JURIC, Vitor SABA, Nikita RUKAVYTSYA, Romeo CASTELEN, Iacopo LA ROCCA, Seyi ADELEKE and Ante COVIC (GK).

Western Sydney Wanderers substitutes: Labinot HALITI, Mark BRIDGE, Daniel ALESSI, Kearyn BACCUS and Dean BOUZANIS (GK).

Central Coast Mariners starting XI: John HUTCHINSON (C), Jacob POSCOLIERO, Joshua ROSE, Zachary ANDERSON, Nick MONTGOMERY, Mitchell DUKE, Anthony CACERES, Nick FITZGERALD, Matthew SIM, Michael NEILL and Liam REDDY (GK).

Central Coast Mariners substitutes: Richard VERNES, Glen TRIFIRO, Iska CERNAK, Eddy BOSNAR and Matthew NASH (GK).

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Jessica Csaszar
Jessica joined the team for 2014 covering Western Sydney Wanderers in the Westfield W-League and Hyundai A-League.

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