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By the Palm Trees – Central Coast Mariners vs Adelaide United (Elimination Final)

Mitchell-20DukeWhat a performance against Brisbane last weekend! It’s fair to say the Mariners not only won the match but performed brilliantly to a clever plan devised by Mossy the master coach. Sure, it was a defensive based plan, but with the fast and targeted counter attacking sub-plan at work, we took our opportunities and defended superbly in between them. The effectiveness of the plan was underlined by the shots on target statistic which at one stage saw the Mariner’s leading the by count seven to one.

It was great to see young guns Nick Fitzgerald and Anthony Caceres get on the score sheet and to see how Caceres is developing his habit of scoring cracking goals from distance. Eddy Bosnar almost blasted Michael Theo into the net with a cracking free kick and Bernie Ibini tried the same thing later in the game with both attempts going close to scoring. Nick Montgomery’s performance following Besart Berisha around the pitch left the Roar sharpshooter wondering what he could do to get into the game. The nearest he came was when finishing a Liam Reddy rebound from a clearly offside position. This was another team performance by the Central Coast and while there were standouts, the character and determination among the whole squad would have pleased Phil Moss the most.

On Wednesday night we took on the might of FC Seoul at home and while we didn’t get the result we either wanted or deserved, no one can doubt how unlucky we were not to walk away with at least a point. After dominating the game in the first half, without being able to convert our chances, FC Seoul began to make their mark by dominating most of the second. In the end a draw would probably have been a fair result and would only have been achieved via a series of sensational saves from Liam Reddy. Reddy has been in super form of late and this was up there with some of his finest work in a Mariners shirt.

This week it’s all on the line. We take on Adelaide United at our home fortress and while we copped a beating from them when we met at Cooper Stadium a while back, that night was full controversies which we hope we won’t see at Central Coast Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Last visit to Gosford, Adelaide were not so fortunate and our record against this opposition at home will see our team and coaching staff confident of booking their place in the following week’s semi-final against Western Sydney Wanderers.

Adelaide will of course have other ideas and have the weapons needed to carry out the task, should we allow them the time and space to perform their magic tricks. After a slow start to the season Adelaide has shown form which at times had people wondering whether they would challenge for the top two. Adelaide fans will be more than behind coach Josep Gombau who has shown the way by turning the Red’s poor start to the season into a finals appearance.

The real question about this weekend is who can do it when it counts and despite the alternative view of some people, there is no team with better experience playing finals football than the Mariners. When it comes to playing finals, no team is better equipped to deal with the extra pressure which goes with sudden death. We have done it all in the A-League, the good, the bad, the joyous and the downright heartbreaking. We are after all the reigning A-League Champions, have won two Premierships, have appeared in the Grand Final four times and know better than anyone how much it hurts to fail. While Adelaide has themselves won a Premiership, there is no doubting which club has the finals credentials, especially in recent seasons.

I think the match will be a tight affair, with neither side prepared to give too much away, and this kind of game will suit the Mariners down to the ground. While Adelaide has the players to do damage, the question is whether they can grind out a win the way the Mariners have proven they can.

Mariners Fans: – This is the last time you’ll get to see your team play at home this season so did miss it. Be there and help us give the boys the support they’ve earned this season!

My prediction – Mariners by one

About Erin Morrow (104 Articles)
<p>Football fanatic and amateur analyst. An over 35′s player and sometimes coach. He does the occasional refereeing. Passionate Central Coast Mariners foundation member.</p> <p>Follow on Twitter: @Erin_Mariner</p>