Photo: The Mariners' boat came in! [Photo of Crystal Symphony by PlessPix]
Central Coast Mariners 1-0 Wellington Phoenix
Wellington Phoenix should have taken the lead against Central Coast Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium this evening after less than a minute.
Tony Lochhead’s left-wing cross found Dylan Macallister in full flight, but he managed to just get a touch and direct the ball straight at Mariners goalkeeper Matthew Ryan from 6 metres. Ryan was unable to hold the ball, but as it squirmed out of his clutches, Patrick Zwaanswijk came to the rescue and belted it out for a corner.
From the corner, Wellington had another glorious chance, but Ben Sigmund headed wide of Ryan’s left-hand upright.
The home side gradually came to grips with their opponents and, with Patricio Perez calling the shots in midfield, got on top.
It was Perez who initiated the move that led to the only goal of the match. In the 41st minute, he released Joshua Rose down the left and the fullback pulled the ball back to the edge of the box from the left, where Michael McGlinchey fired home.
It was the first A-League goal of the season, and only his second in the competition, for McGlinchey, a New Zealand international.
The Mariners were well in control by the second half. Six minutes after the break, Zwaanswijk headed against the Phoenix crossbar after brilliant play by McGlinchey on the right and a delicate chip into the danger area by Daniel McBreen on the left.
A minute later, Rose shot just wide of the far post from the left.
It was all the Mariners at this stage and, in the 55th minute, Perez beat Manny Muscat just outside the box but fired over the bar.
In the 62nd minute, Pedj Bojic sent over a dangerous cross from the right, but McBreen cleared the bar with his wild shot.
Wellington had one chance to salvage a draw before the end. In the 73rd minute, a free-kick was pushed short to Macallister, who blasted his shot straight at Ryan. Again, Ryan could not hold the ball and it rebounded to Vince Lia, who fired over the bar.
The win leaves the Mariners in 3rd place on the A-League ladder with 39 points, 4 points adrift of 2nd-placed Adelaide United and 4 points ahead of 4th-ranked Gold Coast United.
Wellington Phoenix are 7th, a point behind 6th-placed Melbourne Heart and a point ahead of 8th-ranked Newcastle Jets.
Central Coast Mariners: Ryan - Bojic, Wilkinson, Zwaanswijk, Rose - McGlinchey, Griffiths, Perez (Amini 82), Bozanic - Simon, McBreen (Baird (63) (Subs not used: Hutchinson, Henderson)
Goals: McGlinchey 41
Wellington Phoenix: Vukovic - Hearfield (Greenacre 62), Durante, Sigmund, Lochhead - Lia, Muscat, Brown - Rojas (Daniel 53), Macallister, Ward (Bertos 56) (Sub not used: Crowther)
Booked: Muscat, Durante
Ref: M Breeze