A-League 2017/18: Phoenix bore to tears

A dominant first half performance from the Mariners saw off a toothless Wellington Phoenix in Gosford on Friday night.

Paul Okon’s side did enough to score, while the visitors lacked the necessary ideas to find the back of the net.

It was Daniel De Silva who took his chance at just before half-time, while the Phoenix could not capitalise on any of theirs in the latter stages.

Following the result, Central Coast moved above Perth Glory on the ladder with 20 Points, while the Nix remain rooted to the bottom of the table with 17. It was the Mariners’ first win in 11 weeks.

One-way traffic in first half

Central Coast swarmed the Phoenix from the opening whistle until the first half’s last kick, when De Silva scored from close range. It took until the 25th minute for Wellington to fashion a delivery into the opposition box and by that stage the hosts had sent the ball into their attacking penalty area 12 times. Paul Okon’s side were well drilled and aggressive going forward, creating chance after chance with the Phoenix constantly on the back foot. When his opportunity came De Silva took it well, slipping past Doyle with a good run and prodding the ball home past a stranded Tando Velaphi.

Gap between ninth and tenth evident

The yawning chasm between these two in ability and tactics was clear from the moment the Nix sat back – inviting pressure, not converting their passes and knocking hopeful long balls forward towards Andrija Kaluderovic with no runners off him. Central Coast, despite some jitters, maintained possession well, looked purposeful in attack and took their key opportunity. The Phoenix lacked confidence and conviction in attack throughout, perhaps summed up by Roy Krishna’s two chances in the second that hit the crossbar and side-netting. Darije Kalezic must be looking over his shoulder as his job hangs by a thread.

Exclusive access to extra columns, shows and audience polls is just one click away. Become a member on Patreon for less than the price of milk.