Cometh the hour, cometh the kid – Garang Kuol leads Mariners to victory again

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Garang Kuol made it two match-winners in a row as he starred at home in Central Coast Mariners’ 1-0 win against Western United on Saturday.

Former Mariner Connor Pain utilised his pace out wide in the opening seconds, finding fellow former Mariner Lachlan Wales to spray the ball wide of the post.

There was an early injury substitution with United’s Steven Lustica coming from the field with a leg injury and Dylan Pierias replacing him.

Socceroos hopeful Jason Cummings almost opened the scoring in front of the national side’s head coach Graham Arnold, striking the right post. Béni Nkololo followed up with another strike with Jamie Young pushing it out for a corner.

The first half hour was a real match of attrition, both sides not giving either an inch. Every attacking phase close to goal was snuffed out with solid defence.

A commonality between the pair was miscommunication, with countless passes falling into open space, no teammate in sight.

Central Coast had a solid chance when a Matheus Rodrigues shot deflected to a wide Nkololo to cross in, finding a soaring Nicolai Muller but his header went skyward.

Pain then had a chance to send Western 1-0 up into half-time, though sent his shot over the crossbar. The following Mariners possession saw a repeat of United’s chance with Rodrigues misfiring.

Moresche again had a golden opportunity to break the deadlock just after half-time. A great cross from Jacob Farrell found the Brazilian’s head uncontested, though sprayed it wide.

Cummings couldn’t stay out of the action, heading the ball into the solid hands of Young minutes after his forward companion.

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Mariners came millimetres from goal, with Nkololo finding his visa counterpart Moresche to send it into goal at the near post. However, a tight call from the sideline referee deemed that the ball went out before Nkololo’s cross.

Fans had their hearts in their hands as Pain was fouled by Lewis Miller, with referee Alex King pointing to the spot. After a few minutes of reviewing the incident, the foul was given as a free-kick just outside the box.

Jamie Young proved his position as one of the top keepers in the league, came up clutch again by stopping another Cummings’ strike.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man, or more like cometh the kid, as 17-year-old Kuol sliced a kick off his wrong foot into the bottom corner to send Central Coast into a frenzy.

Kuol nearly made it a brace minutes later, slicing two United defenders before pushing the ball over goal.

Harrison Steele and Lewis Miller thne toyed with their opponents in the corner, ultimately wasting time to secure a crucial victory.

Central Coast maintaining their finals contention with the win, while Western will basically rely on Melbourne City’s performances to have any chance of collecting the Premiers’ Plate

Feature Image Credit: Central Coast Mariners

Central Coast Mariners 1 (Kuol 81′)

Western United 0

Stadium: Central Coast Stadium

Referee: Alex King

Assistant Referees: Lance Greenshields & Andrej Giev

Fourth Official: Tim Danaskos

Central Coast Mariners: Mark BIRIGHITTI (GK) (C), Lewis MILLER, Joshua NISBET (Harrison STEELE 57′), Jason CUMMINGS, Matheus RODRIGUES (Matthew HATCH 90′), Beni NKOLOLO (Garang KUOL 74′), Kye ROWLES, Maximilien BALARD, Jacob FARRELL, Daniel HALL, Nicolai MULLER (Marcos URENA 57′)

Unused Subs: Cy GODDARD, Storm ROUX, Yaren SOZER (GK)

Western United: Jamie YOUNG (GK), Leo LACROIX, Tomoki IMAI (Nicolas MILANOVIC 90′), Lachlan WALES (Dylan WENZEL HALLS 75′), Steven LUSTICA (Dylan PIERIAS 10′), Connor PAIN, Rene KRHIN, Benjamin GARUCCIO, Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (C), Neil KILKENNY (Adisu BAYEW 90′), Aleksandar PRIJOVIC

Unused Subs: Jerry SKOTADIS, Benjamin COLLINS, Ryan SCOTT (GK)

Feature image credit: Central Coast Mariners

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Mitchell Roese
Sports enthuse currently studying a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) at the University of Technology Sydney. Covering the Central Coast Mariners 2021/22 A-League Season

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