Hutchinson high at home as Mariners top Wanderers

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The Central Coast Mariners ended their last home game of the season and John Hutchinson’s last home game of his career on a high, defeating the Western Sydney Wanderers 1-0.

It was a welcome victory after the 6-1 loss they suffered to Brisbane last week, and one which coach Tony Walmsley felt his side wholeheartedly deserved.

“I think it was well deserved….the pain that they felt last week was put to good use in training and I’m pleased for all of them,” Walmsley said after the game.

The atmosphere around Bluetongue Stadium was noticeably more electric than usual, with both the players and fans eager to put on a good show for Hutchinson’s last game.

The Yellow Army even attempted to match the best efforts of the RBB with a homemade banner that read “Forever Loyal” featuring a heroic-looking Hutchinson, although with a slightly larger nose than I think he would have liked.

The Mariners certainly wasted no time in ensuring the game was a memorable conclusion at home to their less than perfect season.

By 1:45, the Mariners were in the lead. Anthony Kalik, who started for the first time tonight, passed on a ball to Josh Rose who sent it straight past Wanderers goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis.

“Kalick was fantastic. He’s not a striker he’s an attacking midfielder, but his training performance over the past few weeks has been stunning,” Walmsley said.

The Wanderers were slow to get going, and had their first real chance at goal in the 19th minute, with a run from Romeo Castelan ending in a lack-lustre shot from Kerem Bulut.

The Wanderer’s fans lit a flare in the 20th minute, presumably to distract themselves from the actual game, and as the pretty pink smoke dissipated their team had another three attempts at goal, blocked in quick succession by Liam Reddy and Nick Montgomery.

It seemed that the combination of watching Hutchinson at home for the last time, as well as the presence of the RBB spurred the Yellow Army into an especially loud rendition of ‘We All Live in a Yellow Submarine” to get things going.

Kerem Bulut and Romeo Castelan, whilst looking dangerous, were nevertheless unable to put away a goal and the Wanderers finished the first half disappointed not to have made more of their opportunities.

Despite their teams’ poor performance this season, there was no shortage of Wanderer’s fans, either, who came accompanied by their usual compadres, the police.

Nick Fitzgerald came on for Anthony Kalik in the 59th minute, his first touch a shot at goal, which went just wide. The Mariners quickly spurred into action with a run from Fabio Ferreira in the 60th and a shot from Isaka Cernak in the 63rd minute which also went wide.

Despite a few more runs forward from Ferreira, the Mariners were offering no real support in front of goal. A run from Josh Rose in the 77th minute looked promising, but alas, the Mariners usual demons were rearing their ugly horns, and the second half stalemate continued.

The 9548-strong crowd was more animated than usual, perhaps drawing inspiration from the gusto of the RBB. Sadly, the away supporters were louder than any brass band could ever be, and frankly, more entertaining.

Boisterous or not, the Yellow and Navy fans stood in unison to salute John Hutchinson as he walked off Bluetongue Stadium turf for the last time. An emotional Hutch held his head high as he waved to the crowd, taking in the bittersweet moment.

“I was trying very hard to hold back the tears, it’s the last time I’m going to play here and its an amazing feeling, and the reception I got from the fans and the members and my own family was amazing. This is my home, I love playing football here,” Hutchinson said after the game.

While the Wanderers tried to hold on to the game, Hutchinson was the real star.

Despite Kerem Bulut’s best efforts to prove no angle is too hard, and a Spiranovic header which was defended by Reddy in the 89th minute to keep the Mariners sheet clean, the game was meant to be won by the home side.

The moment of truth came in the 94th, with a Wanderers free kick send firing straight back at them, and the game was won.

Official fireworks went off to signal the end of the game, the end of an era, and one last three-point victory at home for the Mariners’ 2014/15 season.

The remainder of their season will be spent away from home, with a clash against Wellington Phoenix next week.

Central Coast Mariners starting XI: 2. Storm Roux, 3. Joshua Rose, 5. Zac Anderson, 7. John Hutchinson (C), 8. Nick Montgomery 10. Anthony Caceres, 12. Liam Reddy (GK), 20. Anthony Kalik, 23. Isaka Cernak, 25. Eddy Bosnar, 26. Fabio Ferreira

Central Coast Mariners substitutes: 1.Matthew Nash (GK), 11. Nick Fitzgerald, 16. Liam Rose, 19. Matthew Simon, 24. Hayden Morton

Western Sydney Wanderers starting XI: 6. Antony Golec, 8. Mateo Poljak, 13. Matthew Spiranovic 14. Kerem Bulut, 17. Romeo Castelen, 18. Iacopo La Roca, 20. Dean Bouzanis (GK), 25. Samuel Gallaway, 31. Alusine Fofanah, 33. Nicholas Kalmar 37. Jonathan Aspropotamitis

Western Sydney Wanderers substitutes: 1. Ante Covic (GK), 9. Tomi Juric, 23. Jason Trifiro, 38. Steve Kuzmanovski, 39. Shayne D’Cunha

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