It was a really pleasing result when the Mariners took a second consecutive win last weekend and it was a great atmosphere into the bargain. Family day promotions ensured that despite general A-League attendance being down, our crowd was close to the top of the chart for the weekend. Only Western Sydney was able to capture a similar audience and it made for a great night at Central Coast Stadium. Celebratory scenes in the stands including the increasingly popular “Family Photo”, where fans congregate with the players to take a photo memory of the match, are becoming a norm now as the Mariners are taking some important wins at home.
As has been the recent trend, Central Coast dominated the early going but despite making some excellent chances remained unrewarded at half time. Jake McGing’s crossing was a feature of the first half as well as some great play from Andrew Hoole. Kwabena Appiah was unlucky not to finish one great McGing cross when his header was saved from the back of the net by the goalkeeper. Mitch Nichols had one shot on target for Perth but Ben Kennedy is continuing his good form and was staunch in the last line. Most of the time the Perth forward seemed isolated from his teammates however, as the absence of Andy Keogh saw him playing in a more advanced role than we’re accustomed to seeing. Perth’s defensive mindset meant they were difficult to breakdown but Wout Brama and Tom Hiariej were running the midfield, as they always seem to now, with their combination of incisive forward play and strong defending. Daniel De Silva and Hoole were showing glimpses of the danger they present the opposition and it seemed only a matter of time before the Mariners would find the lead.
Despite that, the second half started with a good early period for the Glory. When Kye Rowles was brought into the match in the 60th minute however, the Mariners ascendancy seemed to return. The scoreless stalemate continued until some De Silva genius broke the game wide open. Chasing Mitch Malia into the defensive third De Silva caught and turned over the attacker before taking off on the attack himself. After a one-two combination, firstly with Connor Pain, then with Blake Powell – which included the perfect first time through ball from the replacement, De Silva broke into the box, running along the bi-line and playing a great return ball for Powell to finish in the roof of the net. It was a great reward for the hard working Powell who has shrugged off his long injury layoff with an assist and a goal in two quality return performances from the bench. Finishing the game strongly Central Coast continued to make chances, but the one nil result was enough to see us into fourth spot on the ladder for the first time in longer than most fans would care to try and remember.
This weekend we take on the financial might of Melbourne City, striking them at a time when they have recently lost their star man Tim Cahill under interesting circumstances and when their form has been up and down. Starting the season with four consecutive victories was enough to convince me they have the firepower to take on the competition but they have recently found consistently more difficult to come by. Never the less they sit in third place on the ladder and would remain in that position even if the Mariners were able to take the points in this match. City have quality options around the park but seem most dangerous in the final third where the likes of Bruce Kamau and former Mariner Nick Fitzgerald can do plenty of damage along with headline set piece specialist Ross McCormack.
The Mariners will be full of confidence after two consecutive wins and will have some quality available to return to the side with Josh Rose and Asdrubal both being added to the squad after training fully during the week. Their places will not be assured however as Kye Rowles has settled nicely into the left back position while both Appiah and Powell have made strong claims to keep their places in the forward line. Paolo must surely consider the depth he has available at the moment to be a godsend as he plans for upcoming matches. It seems only a couple of weeks ago there were some concerns around depth but those concerns have been washed away as players have stepped up to their opportunities beautifully. This match presents a great chance to reinforce our confidence and return home to take on the Wanderers in good shape next weekend and I for one think we can do it.Google+