Early first half strike not enough for Wanderers

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Western Sydney Wanderers have had to settle for another draw at Spotless Stadium after Central Coast Mariners kept them to a 1-1 draw.

Having spectacularly taken the lead in the first two minutes, the Wanderers put in another sloppy second half performance to hand the Mariners a point.

Following a disappointing end to their game last week the Wanderers started in the best possible fashion scoring the Wanderers fastest goal in A-League history. With just 82 seconds played, the supersub-turned-starter Brendon Santalab found the back of the net after a neat Nicolas Martinez pass on the top of the box.

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On the counter attack, Santalab smashed the ball low and hard past Paul Izzo to the bottom left of goal to make it 1-0.

Bolstered by such an early goal it was all the Red and Black early with defender Robert Cornthwaite benefiting from another exquisite ball from Martinez only to head directly at Izzo in the 15th minute and from an offside position.

Not long after, in a rare foray forward the Mariners put Western Sydney on red alert as they cut inside the Wanderers box and forced a goal mouth scramble with Andrew Redmayne guilty of a fumble before the danger was eventually cleared.

Going on the offensive, the Red and Black then went close to seconds first in the 21st minute when Kusukami Jumpei was found inside the box by a Scott Neville cross only to have his headed effort on goal tipped aside by Izzo. Then on the half hour mark when a poor pass from the Mariners gave Mitch Nichols a clear passage to goal the midfielder could only drag his effort wide of the right post.

It remained one-way traffic leading up to halftime with the Mariners rarely getting the ball outside their own box with the exception of consecutive corners in the 40th minute; the threat of which ended when Roy O’Donovan slide tackled Dimas with studs up to earn himself a yellow card.

With halftime looming the Wanderers then charged forward with Jumpei smashing the underside of the crossbar before Kearyn Baccus hit a shot well over moments later to ensure it remained 1-0 at the break.

Hungry to extend their lead quickly in the second 45 minutes, Martinez wormed his way inside the Mariners box after a couple minutes played and found Nichols unmarked in the middle of the box only for the number six to glide his shot well wide of the right post.

Martinez was again at the heart of a Western Sydney attack in the 58th minute when he was found inside the box by Santalab and played a beautiful chipped cross over the keeper to the far post only for a Mariner defender to intervene ahead of two looming Wanderers.

Despite starting the second half on the back foot, the Mariners would find an unlikely equaliser in the 61st minute when Adam Berry tapped home. The 19 year-old gifted his first A-League goal when Cornwthaite butchered a pass back to Redmayne allowing O’Donovan to cause a deflection which fell kindly for Berry to slot home into an empty net.

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With the game very much in the balance and the Wanderers dispirited, Central Coast spurned a chance to take the lead when Connor Pain shot wide of goal in the 74th minute after a great run into the box on the end of another defensive mistake from the Red and Black.

It would end a 1-1 draw, both sides forced to settle for a point at fulltime with Western Sydney again stumbling at Spotless while the Mariners ride their luck.

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Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Santalab 2’)
Central Coast Mariners 1 (Berry 61’)

Spotless Stadium
Crowd: 12,168

Referee: Shaun Evans
Assistant Referees: Allyson Flynn, Owen Goldrick
Fourth Official: Luke Withell 

Western Sydney Wanderers: 3. CLISBY Jack, 6. NICHOLS Mitch, 8. DIMAS, 10. MARTINEZ Nicolas (7. LUSTICA Steven 64’), 11. SANTALAB Brendon (23.SCOTT Lachlan 79’), 12. NEVILLE Scott, 14. KUSUKAMI Jumpei, 15. BACCUS Kearyn (19. MELLING Jacob 68’), 17. BORDA Kearyn, 18. CORNTHWAITE Robert, 20. REDMAYNE Andrew
Substitutes: 1. TYSON Jerrad, 5. HAMILL Brendan, 7. LUSTICA Steven, 19. MELLING Jacob, 23. SCOTT Lachlan.

Central Coast Mariners: 2. ROUX Storm, 3. GALLOWAY Scott (21. NEILL Michael 63’), 6. POWELL Blake (16. ROSE Liam 84’), 7. FERREIRA Fabio (12. BUHAGIAR Trent 75’), 9. O’DONOVAN Roy, 10. TAVARES Mickel, 11. PAIN Connor, 14. BERRY Adam, 19. FATY Jacques, 20. IZZO Paul, 22. McGING Jake.
Substitutes: 12. BUHAGIAR Trent, 16. ROSE Liam, 17. BINGHAM Josh, 21. NEILL Michael, 30. PEARCE Adam.

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Joshua Thomas
Joshua Thomas
A football fanatic and journalism student who won't leave you wondering about any Wanderers news this season as I cover all things Red and Black for The Football Sack.

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