Elrich, Sotirio guide Wanderers to comfortable win over Mariners

Western Sydney Wanderers notched their third win of the Hyundai A-League campaign after defeating Central Coast Mariners 2-0 on Saturday evening.

The Red and Black had not won in the competition since their victory over the Mariners by the same score line back in December but a fortuitous opener from Tarek Elrich and tidy second half finish from Jaushua Sotirio ensured a smooth home triumph.

Elrich had opened the scoring on the stroke of the interval following an error of misjudgement from Mariners' shot stopper Ben Kennedy, and although Markus Babbel’s side have surrendered 16 points from winning positions this season Sotirio settled any nerves when he exposed the visitors on the counter attack.

Both Hyundai A-League strugglers had conceded a joint-high seven goals apiece from headers this season, and it was the aerial exerts of Oriol Riera which underscored an uninspiring first half.

Riera first forced Kennedy into a good low save to palm away his header and would later nod Sotirio’s teasing cross onto the post from point blank range.

A glaring missed opportunity from the Spaniard, but his blushes were almost instantly spared when Elrich’s cross-turned-shot evaded everyone and caught Kennedy in two minds before crossing the line via the post to hand the hosts the advantage in first half stoppage time.

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Having failed to keep a clean sheet for the 24th consecutive match, the Mariners found themselves chasing the match once again but failed to test Vedran Janjetovic with any regularity – Matt Millar’s acrobatic volley the closest Mike Mulvey’s side came to restoring parity.

The bottom-placed Mariners did enjoy a healthy share of possession in their quest for an equaliser, but were crushed on the counter when Sotirio burst onto Bonevacia’s ball and slid a cool finish past Kennedy to consign the Gosford club to their ninth consecutive away loss.

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