Phoenix split points with nine-man Mariners in dramatic draw

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The home crowd at Industree Group Stadium saw many twists and turns unfold in the clash between Central Coast Mariners and Wellington Phoenix on Friday night. From three red cards, an incredible save and a last-minute goal – this game had it all.

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The Mariners hit the ground running right from kick-off, determined to taste victory after another frustrating draw in Perth last week.

The Central Coast found their first scoring opportunity after just 11 minutes, with Jason Cummings meeting a pass from Max Balard and firing a shot. He was denied by David Ball with a skillful tackle.

Cummings was swiftly avenged a minute later when Storm Roux launched a masterful cross that found James McGarry, who finished expertly against his former club to open the scoring.

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From there, it was a struggle for both teams to secure another goal. Both sides managed to break into the goal box multiple times, but couldn’t convert their chances.

The first half concluded with the Mariners still in the lead. The second half would play out very differently for the Central Coast however.

The game started to go downhill for the Mariners in the 58th minute when Brian Kaltak was shown a red card for a sliding tackle that tripped up David Ball.

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Mariners coach Nick Montgomery tried to brush it off, bringing on fresh legs with a triple substitution to change their luck.

At the 80-minute mark, the Mariners were stalking Wellington’s goal box like a predator, looking for every opportunity to strike.

The Central Coast found their golden opportunity in the 82nd minute with what was almost a replica of their first goal.

Roux sent a cross to McGarry, who nailed the ball towards the left corner of the goal. However, Oliver Sail stopped the ball at the last second with an unbelievable save.

In the dying minutes of the match, the Phoenix rose from the ashes to score an equaliser. Oskar Zawada met a headed pass from Scott Wootton after a corner and fired a back-heeled shot into the net.

The Mariners were dealt with another blow just three minutes later when Moresche copped a red card for violent conduct following a tangle with Wootton. The feisty Brazilian jabbed his finger in his face in anger, leading to his send off.

In the chaos that erupted after, Montgomery was also dealt with a red card.

Sam Silvera tried to salvage the win two minutes later despite their nine-man outfit with one last strike, but the ball soared over the goal.

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And with that attempt, the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

The home crowd did not hide their frustration with the result, booing and flipping off the referees as they walked off the field.

Both sides have a shot at redemption next week. Central Coast Mariners will travel to Parramatta to face off with Western Sydney Wanderers while Wellington Phoenix will return home to play against Newcastle Jets.

Central Coast Mariners 1 (James MCGARRY 12’)
Wellington Phoenix 1 (Oskar ZAWADA 90+4’)

Industree Group Stadium

Referee: Jack Morgan
Assistant Referees: Andrew Meimarakis & Brad Wright
Fourth Official: Sam Kelly

Central Coast Mariners: Danny VUKOVIC (GK) (C), Brian KALTAK, Joshua NISBET (Harrison STEELE 64’), James MCGARRY (Cameron WINDUST 84’), Maximilien BALARD, Samuel SILVERA, Jason CUMMINGS (Matheus MORESCHE 64’), Beni NKOLOLO (Christian THEOHAROUS 75’), Storm ROUX, Jacob FARRELL, Marco TULIO (Daniel HALL 64’).
Unused subs: Yaren SOZER (GK), James BAYLISS.

Wellington Phoenix: Oliver SAIL (GK), Scott WOOTTON, Steven UGARKOVIC, Timothy PAYNE, Oskar ZAWADA, David BALL, Bozhidar KRAEV, Alex RUFER (C) (Benjamin OLD 64’), Sam SUTTON, Joshua LAWS, Yan SASSE (Oskar VAN HATTUM 75’).
Unused subs: Alexander PAULSEN (GK), Finn SURMAN, Lucas MAURAGIS, Nicholas PENNINGTON, Nikko BOXALL.

Featured Image Credit: Speed Media/Icon Sportswire

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Jasmine Singh
Jasmine Singh
One of the two journalists covering the Western Sydney Wanderers and the Central Coast Mariners for the 2022/23 season. Studying a Bachelor of Media (Communications and Journalism) / Bachelor of International Studies at the University of New South Wales. A true crime addict and dog lover.

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