Young Mariners too strong for Western United

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A youthful Central Coast Mariners team, missing several key players, condemned Western United to eight straight defeats with a 2-0 win in Gosford.

The Mariners were still without one of their major creative outlets in Daniel DeSilva and just before kick off they lost captain Oliver Bozanic to an injury.

Head coach Alen Stajcic said both were okay, but did not play as they did not want to risk anything.

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The young Mariners more then held their own in the first half and went ahead thanks to a Jack Clisby goal from a corner in the 25th minute.

Stajcic was full of praise for his entire squad and singled Lewis Miller and Dan Hall for their recent contributions to the Mariners’ defence.

“For them to keep out players like Guarrotxena, Diamanti and Lachy Wales just shows how far these young players have progressed,” Stajcic said.

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The Mariners seemed content to defend their one goal lead and Western had a large share of possession and chances in the second half, but the home side still looked dangerous on the counter.

In the 95th minute the Mariners finally struck for a second time, as Marco Urena tapped the ball in after debutant Jing Reec had his shot saved.

The result sees the Mariners finish third on the ladder and they will host Macarthur FC next Saturday in an elimination final, with Sydney FC waiting to face the winner.

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The Mariners have beaten Macarthur three times already this season, but Stajcic did not want to think too much about that statistic.

“It will be a tough challenge for both teams next week, I think anyone in this top SIX can beat each other. Whoever turns up on the day will be successful,” Stajcic said.

This will be the Mariners first final appearance since 2014 and they are likely to have a big crowd behind them when they face Macarthur next week at Gosford.

Featured Image Credit: Ben Johnston

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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.
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