Sloppy second half costs Mariners against Phoenix

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A depleted Wellington Phoenix beat the Central Coast Mariners 2-0 at GIO Stadium in Canberra on Saturday evening.

With the Kiwis’ missing the likes of Glen Moss and Kosta Barbarouses due to international duty Wellington started the match slowly before two goals early in the second half sealed a valuable away win.

The Mariners came out firing at their home away from home putting the Phoenix under significant early pressure.

The ever crafty Fabio Ferreira caused some serious problems down Wellington’s left-hand side whipping in a couple of dangerous crosses. Unfortunately for the Mariners their radar seemed to be broken with Connor Pain’s volley the pick of their chances but nowhere near the target.

Wellington meanwhile were content to sit back and absorb the pressure before they themselves caught sight of goal.

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 Dutch livewire Roly Bonevacia lashed a shot at Paul Izzo to remind Central Coast the match wouldn’t be a walk in the park.

A suspected injury to the Mariners’ Scott Galloway forced him to come off for Michael Neil midway through the opening half.

Central Coast continued to play with energy but were unable to find a way through the resolute Wellington defence.

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At the same time the Phoenix continued to slow the game down and the teams went into the break all square.

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Despite looking the weaker side in the first period it was Wellington who re-started with a bang, opening the scoring in the 49th minute. A beautiful ball was played over the top and into the path of Krishna who took advantage of a hesitant Izzo to round the keeper and finish on a tight angle.

Instead of jolting the Mariners to life the Central Coast outfit imploded, struggling to get out of their own half. The Phoenix’s momentum told and they were soon celebrating another goal thanks to Hamish Watson. Credit must also go to Gui Finkler and Krishna who combined brilliantly before the Fijian crossed the ball to a completely unmarked Watson at the back post.

The industrious Connor Pain thought he had a penalty after being taken out in a goalmouth scramble but referee Stephen Lucas waved it away.

Staring defeat in the face Mariners’ coach Paul Okon pulled the trigger and brought on Trent Bulhaiger and Liam Rose for Blake Powell and Ferreira respectively. The changes seemed to re-invigorate the home side as they looked to pull one back.

Irish striker Roy O’Donovan poked a shot over the crossbar before drawing a fine save from Lewis Italiano off a sliding shot across goal. The Mariners continued to press forward but Wellington refused to budge and held on for just their second win of the campaign.

Central Coast meanwhile will be disappointed not to build on last week’s upset against Adelaide United and must go back to the drawing board after a poor display.

Wellington Phoenix 2 (Krishna 49’, Watson 56’)
Central Coast Mariners 0
Attendance: 5,497

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Dominic Unwin
Third year Sports Media student at the University of Canberra. Interests include sports history and stats...you know, all the fun stuff.

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