Sunday, January 9, 2011

A-League Round 22 - Central Coast Mariners vs Wellington Phoenix - Review

It could have gone either way, but ultimately it was the Central Coast Mariners that came out 1-0 victor’s over the Wellington Phoenix in a tiring encounter. Both sides were desperate for a win, with Central Coast looking to close the gap on second placed A Adelaide United, and Wellington hoping to help earn one of the two remaining spots in the top six playoffs.

Both sides were missing key players, with Adam Kwasnik suspended for the Mariners, following a red card in the previous game. The Phoenix are still missing key striker Paul Ifill, and goalkeeper Mark Paston, both suffering season ending injuries in earlier matchups. Jade North was also missing at the back for the Wellington side, due to Socceroo’s duties in Qatar for the Asian Cup.

The Phoenix started the game strongly, with two golden opportunities in the opening five minutes. Dylan Macallister couldn’t avoid the picking out the Mariners keeper, Matthew Ryan, as he latched onto a cross from Marco Rojas, and Ben Sigmund couldn’t put his header from the resulting corner on target. The Phoenix were on top for the first 15 minutes of the game, until they let the Mariners start dictating the flow and tempo of the game.

The balance of the game swung to both sides continuously, with both keepers made to work on several occasions. Referee Matt Breeze failed to spot Mariners defender Patrick Zwaanswijk grab the shirt of Rojas and pull him down inside the box, but the majority of the refereeing decisions in the match were correct.

The Mariners made better use of their chances, having more shots on goal than the Phoenix in the first half. The score remained deadlocked at 0-0 until the 40th minute of play, when Central Coast midfielder Michael McGlinchey put the ball onto the back of the Phoenix net from a cross by Joshua Rose following a run through the midfield by Argentine playmaker Patricio Perez.

The Mariners came out on top at the start of the second half, creating a number of shots to work the Phoenix defense, but could not find the back of the net. When Wellington manager Ricki Herbert injected Leo Bertos and Daniel into the game in the 55th minute, for Rojas and Nick Ward respectively, the Phoenix lifted their game and managed to create several more chances, but lacked the final few touches to score an equaliser.

The best of these chances was a powerful free kick for Macallister, only to be denied by the keeper.
Up and coming Mariners player Mustafa Amini was given a run 10 minutes from time by coach Mustafa Amini, but couldn't help his side add to the scoreline.

Final Score - CCM 1                  Wellington 0
                      McGlinchey 41

Man of the Match: Patricio Perez (CCM)
Crowd Attendance - 6844 (Bluetounge Stadium)

By Patrick Barnes (Twitter Follower!/patrick478)