New Year, new Mariners sees 3-1 win

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Finally. After eleven matches without a win and a thundering Yellow Army after his head, Tony Walmsley can finally say his Central Coast Mariners have produced a win.

The last placed Mariners scored three goals to one against the visiting Wellington Phoenix at Central Coast Stadium on New Years Eve. Fans will be delighting in what 2016 will bring after the team broke their six match losing streak at long last.

Fabio Ferreira proved just how much he was missed during his stint with a troublesome hamstring when he struck a booming kick into the net passed Wellington keeper Glen Moss.

Less than ten minutes later Irish firepower Roy O’Donovan gave midfielder Mitch Austin the chance to make it 2-0 on the scoreboard for the home site. The Englishman knocked it into an empty net with ease letting the Mariners enter halftime with the upper hand.

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The visitors fought back in the second half with a goal by Blake Powell in the 67th minute thanks to a crafty assist from Matthew Ridenton. Ernie Merrick’s men had a comeback in mind but Michael Neill was having none of it, making it 3-1 only three minutes later.

The scoreboard was at odds with the stats on possession, with the Phoenix dominating 68% of the ball. Given, the Mariners still constructed 15 goal attempts to the nine of their New Zealand counterparts.

While the home side were relishing in the return of dynamic duo Ferreira and Austin, the Phoenix copped a blow when striker Roy Krishna suffered an ankle injury in the first half.

To add to the drama, O’Donovan is likely to face a suspension alongside Phoenix’s Manny Muscat after the former served a nasty headbutt to the Wellington midfielder. Both players were given a yellow card by referee Kris Griffith-Jones despite O’Donovan admitting that a red wouldn’t have been excessive. The day after the match O’Donovan apologized to fans for the knock but claimed that Muscat deserves “an Oscar” for his reaction on the field.

Ernie Merrick might be the one offering explanations this week with the result contributing to seven straight losses away from home and the possibility of losing a spot in the top six.

Meanwhile, Tony Walmsley can sleep peacefully for now with three points added to the table. The head coach has endured weeks of putting out fires amid controversy that his “phase of renewal” was damaging the club’s fan base, player confidence and overall integrity.

The pressure will be on in Round 14 when his team face Melbourne Victory to determine whether the win was ‘the moment’ everyone had been waiting for or whether the Mariners ‘new chapter’ in the A-League was just a fluke.

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Jade Toomey
A 20 year old Media and Law student trying to tame those stream-of-consciousness writing habits with an ickle bit of fun at the Central Coast Mariners.