Western United crowned comeback kings

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Fresh off their bye weekend, Western United secured a 3-0 victory over the Central Coast Mariners.

After suffering back-to-back losses against Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne City, United effortlessly broke through their mid-season funk.

Central Coast’s morale-boosting 3-2 triumph at the expense of Melbourne Victory last Sunday was not enough to break through United’s defences.

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There was no repeat of history after Central Coast secured a win over the Green and Blacks the last time the two sides met.

United were unstoppable in the first half, finding themselves three goals up within the first 25 minutes of the match.

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All-time top A-League goal scorer Besart Berisha ensured Western United did not fall into old habits, scoring first with a superb header in the sixth minute.

A sublime cross by skipper Alessandro Diamanti was effortlessly met as Berisha twisted out of Gianni Stensness’ grasp to create space to find the back of the net.

United was only just getting started as Josh Risdon forced a bizarre own goal from Central Coast defender Kyle Rowles from a cross.

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Risdon, joining the squad after a foot injury, rocketed a cross which deflected off the back of Rowles’ heel, tapping in an own goal.

Berisha, as usual, had another goal brewing in him scoring his second goal for the night in the 21st minute.

Not giving the Mariners a chance to catch their breath young-gun, Max Burgess shot a cross over the top of the Mariners defenders for Berisha to snipe the ball into the back of the net.

United’s dazzling three goals were soured after Alessandro Diamanti was injured after being collected in a dangerous slide tackle by Daniel de Silva.

The match was further tainted for United when the VAR made an appearance to call Connor Pain’s goal opportunity offside.

The Mariners’ best chance came in the 45th minute after forward Jordan Murray tried his best efforts from an impressive bicycle kick that scraped the top bar.

United’s energy did not dissipate in the second half but the Mariners struggled to make any opportunities count.

Jordan Murray once again gave the Mariners their best chance after the ball was deflected off Tommy Oar, but his cross towards the goal was easily collected by United keeper Filip Kurto.

United hit the breaks during the second half of the match to keep their 3 goal lead intact.

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The Green and Blacks shifted from the attacking half, allowing for defenders Josh Risdon, Jonathan Aspropotamitis and the new kid on the block Oskar Dillon to take charge of the match.

19-year-old Jerry Skotadis made a late appearance to the match and was left seeing yellow after he collected Mariners left-back Jack Clisby in a run for the ball.

Jack Clisby was left with the same yellow haze for a bad tackle on Max Burgess.

Western United 3 (Berisha 6’ 21’ Rowles 18’)
Central Coast Mariners

GMHBA Stadium, Geelong
Attendance: 4642
Referee: Jonathan Barreiro
Assistant Referee 1: Wilson Brown
Assistant Referee 2: Tony Peart
Fourth Official: Jack Morgan
VAR: Alex King

Western United: 

Filip Kurto (GK), Andrew Durante, Panagiotis Kone, Connor Pain, Jonathan Aspropotamitis, Besart Berisha, Josh Risdon, Alessandro Diamanti, Jerry Skotadis, Max Burgess, Oskar Dillon, Dario Jertec (Sub 30’) Apostolos Stamatelopoulos (Sub 70′) Dylan Pierias (Sub 81′)

Unused Subs:
Ryan Scott (GK), Sebastian Pasquali, Joshua Cavallo, Thierry Iradukunda.

Central Coast Mariners: 

Mark Birighitti (GK), Ian Zygmunt Gordon, Eunsun Kim, Milian Duric, Jordan Murray, Tommy Oar, Daniel de Silva, Kyle Rowles, Gianni Stensness, Lewis Miller, Jair Britto, Matthew Simon (Sub 57’), Michael McGlinchey (Sub 61′), Jack Clisby (Sub 73′)

Unused Subs:
Adam Pearce (GK), Giancarlo Gallifuoco.

Feature Image Credit: Western United

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Suzanna Telai
Football enthusiast and student journalist, covering Western United for the 2019/20 A-League season