Young kids building Coast momentum
Saturday January 8, 2011
After surrendering two goals inside the final ten minutes in last weekend’s loss to Melbourne Victory, Central Coast Marines coach Graham Arnold remarked that “young players make mistakes”.
Tonight his young charges practiced what he preached as the Mariners posted a 1-0 victory over the Wellington Phoenix keeping them in touch with second placed Adelaide United with three games in hand.
Wellington Phoenix arrived on the Coast with inside knowledge on the locals courtesy of ex-Mariners Dylan Macallister and Danny Vukovic , and hoping that they could steal the vital three points needed to keep them in touch with the top six, especially after wins to Sydney FC and the Newcastle Jets earlier in the weekend.
It was the Phoenix who had the early momentum with Macallister having an opportunity for a perfect homecoming in only the second minute in front of goal. His strike was on target but brilliantly saved by young Mariners keeper Matthew Ryan and then cleared off the line by defender Patrick Zwaanswijk.
Five minutes later the Phoenix had a second chance to take the advantage through Marcos Rojas but the young gun was also thwarted by Ryan, who was showing his wares after a few uncharacteristic errors against Melbourne Victory.
“I think we started brightly” said Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert but he also denied that his side’s fade out was due to his side’s scheduling of matches.
“Everyone’s gotta do it don’t they, that’s the nature of the league” he added. His opposing coach agreed with him on the opening to the match as he admitted that his side was very poor in the initial exchanges.
“I though the first six minutes was very very poor, they had four chances” Arnold said.
Turning defence into attack the Mariners began to turn possession around as they made space through the middle of the park via Patricio Perez and along the right corridor through Michael McGlinchey.
The diminutive New Zealand international showcased the best chance of the half so far in the 21st minute as his shot on target flew at speed. The right hand of Phoenix keeper Vukovic was the only saving grace for the visitors as he was able to palm it away to safety.
After a second opportunity only two minutes later again went begging it looked like it was going to be a night of missed opportunities for McGlinchey, however it was a case of third time lucky in the 41st minute as the crowd favourite slotted home the opening and subsequent match winner.
Perez, cutting through the middle pushed the ball wide to the left to Joshua Rose who was then able to cut the ball back in field, linking with McGlinchey whose right footed strike blazed past Vukovic who could do nothing but watch it sail into the back of the net.
Trailing 1-0 at the break the Phoenix made early substitutions in the second half as they looked to find the equalisier. Instead though it was the Mariners who continued to push for their second, and would have had it through Zwaanswijk in the 51st minute had it not been for the woodwork which denied him and his side.
Rose only increased the home side’s frustration a minute later as he pushed a seemingly easy chance across the face of goal, missing the far post by inches.
Daniel McBreen, trying to make the most of his starting berth made available by the suspension of Adam Kwasnik should have had his first of the afternoon in the 62nd minute as he received a neat pass from Pedj Bojic. However his strike missed the target and kept the Mariners clinging to the 1-0 lead.
Arnold substituted new signing Michael Baird into the action straight after the missed opportunity and then Mustafa Amini in the 82nd minute, as he looked for fresh legs to keep his side ahead.
The best chance for the visitors came in the 72nd minute through Macallister. Taking the ball from a free kick Macallister pushed the ball with speed towards goal.
However the opportunity was again lost as Ryan got both hands to the ball, once again saving his side.
Arnold was proud of his young stopper’s play, praising him for his ability to bounce back after a tough game last weekend.
“He’s got a very tough character, he’s an exceptional young talent” he said. Both sides face enormous matches in the coming week with the Phoenix facing Brisbane Roar next Sunday.
“It’s a critical time of the season….we’ve gotta keep ploughing along” admitted Macallister.
For the Mariners they host Brisbane on Wednesday night to end their stretch of five consecutive home matches. It is a contest that Arnold believes his charges are ready for.
“We’ve got a tough one now Wednesday against Brisbane.”
“The improvement of these players is enormous; the building of this team is enormous.”
It surely then is a war Arnold’s charges are ready to fight.
Central Coast Mariners – 1
Goals: Michael McGlinchey (41st)
Yellow Cards: None
Red Cards: None
Unused Substitutions: (7) John Hutchinson and (30) Paul Henderson
Wellington Phoenix – 0
Yellow Cards: Emmanuel Muscat (44th) and Andrew Durante (82nd)
Red Cards: None
Unused Substitutions: (2) Reece Crowther
Referee: Matthew Breeze
Crowd: 6,844 @ Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford.
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