Duke double powers the Wanderers past Central Coast

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A brace from Mitchell Duke against his former club inspired the Western Sydney Wanderers to a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the Central Coast Mariners at Bankwest Stadium.

The visitor’s threatened to spoil Western Sydney’s homecoming party after Milan Duric’s stunning strike 31 minutes in, however a double from the new Wanderers’ skipper ensured the home side secured the three points.

Western Sydney were forced into an early substitution after veteran fullback Tarek Elrich pulled up with what appeared to be a hamstring complaint and was replaced by youngster Daniel Wilmering on the 15 minute mark.

The substitute saw Daniel Georgievski slot into right-wing back and the former Newcastle Jets and Melbourne Victory man immediately forged a sight on goal by cutting inside and firing a weak effort wide.

As the Wanderers attempted to dominate possession of the ball the visitors began to pose a threat in transition through the pace of Jordan Murray, Daniel De Silva and Tommy Oar.

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After 35 minutes their persistence paid off as De Silva sprayed a delightful ball out to Murray, who stumbled as he laid it off in the direction of Milan Duric.

The Serbian midfielder’s first-time volley found the back of the net via a slight deflection and the underside of the crossbar, momentarily silencing the Red and Black faithful.

As the Mariners looked to push on and consolidate their lead one of their former heroes restored parity five minutes later.

New Wanderers’ skipper Duke rose highest at the front post from a Pirmin Schwegler corner to squeeze the ball past Mark Birighitti and bring the Bankwest crowd back to life.

The second half kicked off in a similarly cagey manner to the first, with the first clear chance arriving inside the final 20 minutes.

Another rapid Central Coast counter-attack saw Murray through on goal but the striker’s tame effort was palmed away by Daniel Lopar.

Five minutes later two Wanderers’ substitutes were denied a goal by a pair of smart saves. Kosta Grozos’ low effort was palmed into the path of Mo Adam, with the youngster’s follow up smothered by Birighitti.

With less than ten minutes to play, Dylan Fox was the subject to a barrage of appeals and after a two-minute delay with the assistance of VAR he was adjudged to have handled the ball in the penalty area.

Duke made no mistake from the spot, and despite a couple of late scares, including a goal-line clearance from the Wanderers’ captain himself, the Red and Black secured a valuable opening day victory.

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Western Sydney Wanderers 2 (Duke 41’, 82’)

Central Coast Mariners 1 (Duric 36’ )

Bankwest Stadium

Attendance: 17,091

Referee: Alireza Faghani
Assistant Referees: David Walsh & Andrej Giev
Fourth official: Benjamin Abraham

Western Sydney Wanderers: Daniel LOPAR (GK), Tarek ELRICH (Daniel WILMERING 16’), Dylan MCGOWAN, Matthew JURMAN, Tass MOURDOUKOUTAS, Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, Keanu BACCUS, Pirmin SCHWEGLER, Nicholas SULLIVAN (Kostandinos GROZOS 68’), Alexander MEIER (Mohammed ADAM 58’), Mitchell DUKE,

Unused subs: Nicholas SUMAN (GK), Matieu CORDIER, Jake TREW

Central Coast Mariners: Mark BIRIGHITTI, Jack CLISBY, Kye ROWLES, Dylan FOX, Ziggy GORDON, Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO (Samuel SILVERIA 53’), Gianni STENSNESS, Milan DURIC (Abraham MAJOK 85’), Thomas OAR, Daniel DE SILVA (Michael MCGLINCHEY 72’), Jordan MURRAY

Unused subs: Adam PEARCE, Jacob MELLING, Mario SHABOW, Joshua NISBET

Feature image credit: Steve Christo

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Chris Curulli
Passionate Sports Media student and all round football obsessive, covering the Western Sydney Wanderers for the 2019/20 season.