Nicolai Muller sends Wanderers top of the table

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Western Sydney Wanderers sit atop the A-League ladder after three rounds following a 1-0 win over Central Coast Mariners.

In the lead up to the game the Mariners and their players downplayed the return of Ziggy Gordon. Their challenge to contain him and his new squad certainly showed it did have an impact.

The fans showed their displeasure by booing Gordon every time he got near the ball.

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Alou Kuol received a yellow card in just the second minute after a rough challenge on Gordon. It was one of many that the Scotsman had to endure during the half.

The Mariners started the better of the two teams with a few decent chances. Daniel Margush was called into action in the 13th minute and came up with a great diving save to deny Matt Simon an almost certain goal.

The rain started coming down hard in the 15th minute and this definitely changed the game. Challenges started to get a bit more aggressive and players began to lose their footing.

Simon Cox was played through on goal by a great ball from James Troisi in the 27th minute but his shot when high and wide.

In the 33rd minute things got heated when Simon and Gordon clashed in the box and Gordon went down holding his stomach. VAR cleared Simon of any potential red card.

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A fired up Simon did receive a yellow three minutes later when he connected with a stray forearm during a challenge with Keanu Baccus.

The second half started with the rain ending and the Wanderers enjoying some good spells of possession.

Cox laid off the ball for Troisi to have a shot through a crowded box in the 56th minute but Mark Birighitti easily had it covered.

The ball went straight up the other end and Simon got on the end of a great ball over the top from Stefan Nigro but couldn’t get power behind his shot.

In the 59th minute Joshua Nisbet and Daniel De Silva combined with some neat passes which ended with Nisbet hitting the crossbar.

The Wanderers had a great chance to take the lead in the 68th minute when Bernie Ibini had a strong shot saved by Birighitti and then Kwame Yeboah had his shot blocked by Kye Rowles.

The Wanderers finally broke the deadlock in the 83rd minute when the Mariners failed to clear the ball from the box and a deflected cross landed at Nicolai Muller’s feet and he put it in the back of the net.

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The Wanderers substitutions really changed the game, with Muller being a stand out.

In the end the Wanderers claimed all three points and Ziggy Gordon will feel a little happier about his choice to leave the Mariners.

Central Coast Mariners: 0
Western Sydney Wanderers: 1  (Muller 83’)

Stadium: Central Coast Stadium

Central Coast Mariners: Mark Birighitti (GK), Joshua Nisbet (Urena 84’), Stefan Nigro (Miller 70’), Gianni Stensness, Oliver Bozanic, Daniel De Silva (Casella 84’), Jack Clisby, Kye Rowles, Matt Simon (Smylie 61), Ruon Tongyik, Alou Kuol (Bouman 45’)

Substitutes: Lewis Miller, Marcos Urena, Daniel Bouman, Adam Pearce (GK), Matthew Hatch, Jaden Casella, Jordan Smylie

Western Sydney Wanderers: Ziggy Gordon, Tass Mourdoukoutas, Bernie Ibini (Kamau 71’), Simon Cox (Muller 61’), Tate Russell, James Troisi (Yeboah 61’), Keanu Baccus, Graham Dorrans, Daniel Margush (GK), Mark Natta, Thomas Aquilina

Substitutes: Daniel Georgevski, Bruce Kamau, Jordan O’Doherty, Kwame Yeboah, Phillip Cancar, Nicolai Muller, Noah James (GK)

Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant Referees: Andrej Giev, Brad Wright
Fourth Official: Stephen Lucas

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Ben Johnston
I grew up on the Central Coast and fell in love with football in 2005. Supporter of Mariners, Manchester United and Macclesfield Town.