Wellington Phoenix win it late in Gosford

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The Phoenix were able to withstand a strong second half display from the Central Coast Mariners as goals to Ulises Davila and Jaushua Sotirio were enough to earn the win on a rainy afternoon in Gosford.

The Mariners started the better of the two teams with Matt Simon having a chance in the fourth and seventh minutes but he put his shot wide at both opportunities.

It was the Phoenix who opened the scoring in the 15th minute after a wonderful one two between Tomer Hemed and Davila. Davila took his shot from outside the box and it skidded across the wet pitch past Mark Birighitt’s outstretched arms.

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The conditions seemed to favour the Phoenix as they were able to play some exciting one touch football to beat the Mariners defensive press.

The Phoenix continued to pounce on errors in midfield from the Mariners, forcing a turnover from Gianni Stensness in the 30th minute. The Phoenix worked their way down the flank and put in a dangerous cross but the ball skidded through the pack of players and out to safety.

Matt Simon was causing trouble once again in the 33rd minute as he kept a long ball in and found Daniel Bouman who had his shot blocked by James McGarry. McGarry put his body in front of the shot and to the humour of the crowd took a strong shot to the groin.

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Davila was the danger man again in the 37th minute as his free kick forced a diving save from Birighitti at his near post. The Mariners were struggling to contain the Mexican Maestro.

The Mariners were finally able to convert a chance in the 41st minute after Jack Clisby whipped in a corner to the back post that found an open Alou Kuol who put his header in the back of the net. Stefan Marinovic was able to get a hand to it but wasn’t strong enough to keep it out.

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The Mariners finished the half with confidence as Clisby had a cracking shot from about 40 yards out that forced Marinovic into a diving save.

Oliver Bozanic dislocated his shoulder on the stroke of half time but was able to return to the field and played out the entire game in a true captain’s performance.

Clisby continued with his incredible deliveries in the 56th minute as he whipped the ball into the box but Kuol couldn’t keep his header down.

The Mariners were able to control the game and have the majority of possession during the second half but were unable to turn their dominance into goals. The Phoenix were stuck in their own half and only found a few bright spots on the counter.

In the 71st minute an injured Bozanic tried a curling effort from outside the box which drew a great save from Marinovic.

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Marinovic was once again called into action from another long shot from Bozanic as he tipped it over the crossbar in the 82nd minute.

Jordan Smylie was through on goal in the 87th minute but a match saving tackle from Luke DeVere saved the day for the Phoenix.

In what seemed their only chance of the half, Sotirio latched onto a killer ball over the top from Alex Rufer and slotted into the back of the net past Birighitti in the 89th minute.

In the end it was a frustrating night for the Mariners who could not turn their dominant second half into a result they needed. While for the Phoenix they can be happy to take all three points from a game in which they played some exciting football in the first half and some dreadful football in the second.

 

Central Coast Mariners: 1 (Kuol 41’)
Wellington Phoenix: 2
(Davila 15’, Sotirio 89’)

Stadium: Central Coast Stadium

Central Coast Mariners: Mark Birighitti (GK), Stefan Nigro, Gianni Stensness, Oliver Bozanic, Daniel De Silva (Janota 89’), Jack Clisby, Daniel Bouman (Casella 54’), Kye Rowles, Matt Simon (Urena 70’), Ruon Tongyik, Alou Kuol (Smylie 70’)
Substitutes: Marcos Urena, Adam Pearce (GK), Michal Janota, Dan Hall, Jaden Casella, Jordan Smylie, Maximilien Balard

Wellington Phoenix: Stefan Marinovic (GK), Luke De Vere, James McGarry, Tim Payne, Cameron Devlin, David Ball (Sotirio 83’), Ulises Davila (Hudson Wihongi 90’), Alex Rufer, Tomer Hemed, Joshua Laws, Clayton Lewis (Muratovic 61’)
Substitutes: Oliver Sail (GK), Te Atawhai Hudson Wihongi, Jaushua Sotirio, Matthew Ridenton, Mirza Muratovic, Louis Fenton, Benjamin Waine

Referee: Daniel Elder
Assistant Referees: Kearney Robinson, Matthew McOrist
Fourth Official: Ben Abraham

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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