Mariners overcome two goal deficit for classic win

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Five goals, a penalty, a red card, a rampaging Matt Simon, blowing a two goal lead; this game had it all.

Both teams were coming off tough losses and a short turn-around of three days. The Mariners had extra motivation to perform well as Simon was making his 200th appearance for the club.

The Mariners once again started strong and imposed their will on the game with long spells of possession. Simon was able to lay off a wonderful ball for Daniel De Silva who forced Tom Glover into a diving save in the 17th minute.

But just like on Sunday, the Mariners conceded a sloppy goal against the run of play. Craig Noone made things happen with a great run down the flank before cutting inside and finding a wide-open Adrian Luna who steered the ball into the back of the net in the 23rd minute.

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Melbourne City were full of confidence after the goal and finally started playing some of the exciting football they are known for.

A bad turnover from Gianni Stensness in the 31st minute saw Florin Berenguer gain possession and put in the perfect ball behind the Mariners defence for Jamie Maclaren. The star City striker beat his man and chipped the ball over an advancing Mark Birighitti before taking a knock in a collision with the goalkeeper.

Unlike the Mariners of old, this squad responded well to the challenge they were facing and in the 37th minute a training ground set piece almost paid off, but Ruon Tongyik put his header straight into the arms of a well-positioned Glover.

City were then forced into a defensive change when Scott Galloway picked up an injury to his hamstring and had to be replaced with Nathaniel Atkinson.

The fighting spirit of the Mariners was definitely in full force in the 41st minute as a wonderful spell of one touch football saw Marco Urena release Simon into the box who found a wide-open Jaden Casella who gently tapped it in for his first A-League goal.

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Whatever Alen Stajcic said to his team at half time worked as the Mariners were fired up and ready to go. An impressive first five minutes of the half saw the Mariners chasing down every ball and winning every challenge.

The Mariners changed things up with a double substitution which saw visa players Urena and Michal Janota switched for the young and energetic Alou Kuol and Maximilien Balard.

There was an immediate impact as the youngsters caused havoc in the midfield which led to a speculative cross being put into the box. Atkinson lost his bearings and brought down Simon who stepped up and converted the resulting penalty. The Wizard of Woy Woy scoring on his 200th appearance for his hometown club in the 57th minute.

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City went into full meltdown mode and Kerrin Stokes picked up a second yellow in the 60th minute for bringing down Kuol who was through on goal. City were then forced into their second defensive reshuffle of the game and sacrificed Berenguer to bring on Alec Mills.

Things did slow down for a while as City were able to control the Mariners but in the 76th all mayhem broke out in the City defensive box as the Mariners had about three blocked shots in the space of a few seconds. But City were somehow able to keep the ball out of the goal and eventually got things under control.

The Mariners press finally found dividends when DeSilva won the ball in midfield twice before finding Kuol who gave it back to Desilva who hit a screamer from outside the box to beat Glover. An excited squad swamped the young midfielder and formed a pile of bodies in the middle of the field.

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City had a great chance to equalize in the 85th minute when a corner was not cleared properly and fell to substitute Mills, but he fired his shot just wide of the Mariners goal.

A small scuffle broke out in the 90th minute after a nasty coming together between Curtis Good and Kuol, which left Kuol down injured. Stefan Colakovski then attempted to drag Kuol to his feet but was met by Kuol’s team mates who didn’t take too kindly to that treatment. Eventually the referee got things under control after some pushing and shoving.

The Mariners would have the final chance of the game as debutant Stefan Jankovic had a shot from just inside the box but could only find the side netting.

In the end it appears the Mariners were better able to handle the short turn around and compete for the full 90 minutes. The City players had a few injuries and the red card certainly didn’t help things. City started well but could not keep up.

It looks like this is the season for the Mariners, something special is brewing in Gosford.

 

Central Coast Mariners: 3 (Casella 41’, Simon 57’, DeSilva 80’)
Melbourne City: 2 (Luna 23’, Maclaren 31’)

Stadium: Central Coast Stadium

Central Coast Mariners: Mark Birighitti (GK), Stefan Nigro, Gianni Stensness, Daniel De Silva, Jack Clisby, Marcos Urena (Balard 54’), Kye Rowles, Matt Simon, Ruon Tongyik, Michal Janota (Kuol 54’), Jaden Casella (Bouman 75’)
Substitutes: Lewis Miller, Stefan Jankovic, Daniel Bouman, Adam Pearce (GK), Daniel Hall, Alou Kuol, Maximilien Balard

Melbourne City: Tom Glover (GK), Scott Galloway (Atkinson 37’), Scott Jamieson, Jamie Maclaren, Florin Berenguer-Bohrer (Mills 60’), Craig Noone, Naokie Tsubaki, Connor Metcalfe, Adrian Luna, Curtis Good, Kerrin Stokes
Substitutes: Nathaniel Atkinson, Taras Gomulka, Stefan Colakovski, Ben Garuccio, Marco Tilio, Matthew Sutton (GK), Alec Mills

Referee: Stephen Lucas
Assistant Referees: Lance Greenshields, Brad Wright
Fourth Official: Tim Danaskos

Featured Image Credit: Ben Johnston

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Ben Johnston
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.

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