Phoenix prevail against Mariners despite nervous finale

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When the Wellington Phoenix finally sealed their 2-1 win over the Central Coast Mariners, the Nix fans watching must have breathed a sigh of relief.

The Mariners would start off the game strongly with Giancarlo Gallifucoco having two shots very early in the game. One of which forced a save out of Nix goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic whilst the other hit the crossbar.

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However, the Phoenix would soon take charge of the game and in the 13th minute through Gary Hooper they opened the scoring.

David Ball’s pass saw all of Wellington’s attack break free, with Tim Payne nabbing onto the ball before laying it on a plate for Hooper who would score from point-blank range.

Ball soon found himself a goal to make it 2-0. The Englishman had possession near the corner of the box and managed to weave past a number of Mariners defenders before firing.

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In the 44th minute, the Mariners had a shot come off the woodwork for the second time, with Tommy Oar’s volley hitting the post despite beating Marinovic. Yet just two minutes later, the Mariners would finally get on the board through an own goal.

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Jack Clisby whipped in a cross that glanced off Luke DeVere’s head and that glance took it into the goal to half the Mariners’ deficit.

Early in the second half, it would all come to an end far too soon for Ball as the Nix’s nine was forced off with a hip injury. A sad end to his best performance so far for Wellington. 

While the first half had been one of Phoenix dominance, the second half was a lot more even, as neither team had the upper hand. 

Around the 70th minute the game began to open up, with both sides having good opportunities to add to their tally, meaning a nervous conclusion was in store.

The end certainly was nail-biting. End to end football was played and so many on target shots just missing put hearts in mouths everywhere. It felt like the game was crying out for another goal.

Yet somehow, against all odds, that goal never came. So despite a tense finale, the Phoenix would prevail with a 2-1 win over the Mariners.

Wellington Phoenix: 2 (Hooper 13’ Ball 29’)
Central Coast Mariners: 1 (DeVere 45+1 OG)

Sky Stadium 
Attendance: 8201

Referee: Jonathan Barreiro 
Assistant Referees: Mark Rule, Sarah Jones 
Fourth Official: Adam Bavcar 
VAR: Nick Waldron 

Wellington Phoenix: Stefan MARINOVIC (GK), Luke DEVERE, Matti STEINMANN, Tim PAYNE, Cameron DEVLIN, David BALL (Jaushua SOTIRIO 53’) , Ulises DÁVILA, Liberato CACACE, Callum MCCOWATT (Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI 67’), Steven TAYLOR (C), Gary HOOPER (Ben WAINE 63’)  

Unused subs: Oliver SAIL (GK), Liam MCGING, Callan ELLIOT, Sam SUTTON

Central Coast Mariners: Mark BIRIGHITTI (GK), Ziggy GORDON, Jack CLISBY, Eunsun KIM, Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO (Matt SIMON 81′), Thomas OAR (C), Daniel DE SILVA, Kye ROWLES (Samuel SILVERA 54’), Gianni STENSESS, Lewis MILLERk, JAIR (Jordan MURRAY 63’)

Unused subs: Adam PEARCE (GK), Dylan FOX, Joshua NISBET

Featured image credit: Glenn Pokorny 

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Dan Moskovitz
The Football Sack's resident teen kiwi football nut. Loves everything football except defeats.