How a broken bus and a teenage prodigy helped Mariners stun the Premiers

Central Coast Mariners overcame a misfortunate omen to break a 2172-day drought and defeat Premiers Perth Glory, while Western United FC had a night that will last long in their history.

Plus, Western Sydney Wanderers FC are sweating on the fitness of a key player, and Alex Brosque's big claim about this season's Sydney FC.

Read on below for the key talking points from Round 4!

Mariners overcome omen to break 2172-day drought

When are you are attempting to stage an almighty upset in Perth, breaking down on the way to Sydney airport is not the best way to start.

That is the kind of misfortune that sums up Central Coast Mariners' plight in recent times, one of many reasons why the club had just five wins on their travels since October 2014.

So when the team bus came to a grinding halt on the F3 during stage one of their eight-hour journey to Perth, many would've felt the writing was on the wall for Alen Stajcic. 

Stajcic had watched Perth's Diego Castro 'tear Wellington apart' last week and had marked the opening five rounds as his side's toughest run of the season. 

The 46-year-old was still managing Westfield W-League outfit Sydney FC when the Mariners last beat Glory in their own backyard in November 2013.

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"I saw that stat but I didnt pass it onto the lads before the game," the Mariners boss remarked post-match.

One stat which Stajcic will be more inclined to share with his colleagues is that after Sunday's 2-1 win over the reigning Premiers, the club have accumulated four points from their first three games and sit sixth on the Hyundai A-League ladder.

Another is that they currently boast the league's highest chance conversion rate (20%).

Central Coast are clearly on the right track under the former Westfield Matildas boss.

"We showed a lot of resilience and toughness. Short-term it's a great result, but long-term I think it's added so much to the belief and confidence into the group," Stajcic continued. 

 

 

The reasons for optimism on in Gosford are growing by the week. Mark Birighitti and Ziggy Gordon have settled a once-calamitous defence.

Milan Duric has been one of the league's best after four rounds played. And up front, Stajcic has unearthed a gem in teenage forward Samuel Silvera, the 19-year-old match-winner who demonstrated why many have tipped the former Westfield Sports High School student for stardom.

"He caused them a lot of problems," Stajcic said. "He's such an explosive player. I think they felt a bit of fear when he was running at them one on one."

The Mariners have four days to recover before playing top of the table Melbourne City on Friday night, a team they were demolished 5-0 by last time they played, on the final day of last season. 

Perth, meanwhile, are winless in their last three home matches - including last season's Grand Final. 

Samuel Silvera

A night to remember 

Saturday, November 2, Marvel Stadium, Melbourne. A landmark night for Western United, and one fans of the Hyundai A-League's newest club will never forget. 

Melbourne Victory had never squandered a 2-0 lead and lost before in the club's league history - that was until Saturday evening's dramatic contest unfolded.

Victory raced to a two-goal buffer that appeared unassailable given that record and the fact they had beaten United 6-0 in a pre-season friendly back in September. 

But United scored three unanswered goals to turn the four-time Champions over.

“We’re a new football club and, if you look at all of the clubs that are here today from 15 years ago, it’s moments like these that can define what your club is,” said coach Mark Rudan.

“This will be a game I believe in 10 or 15 years time we can look back on as a football club as a defining moment.

“A lot of clubs have defining moments in their history at the very start, and we’ve still got a long way to go.”

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Sky Blues best ever according to Brosque

Legendary captain Alex Brosque believes Sydney FC will be impossible to stop when the team gel.

Brosque told FOX Sports that the team's front-four of Milos Ninkovic, Kosta Babarouses, Alexander Baumjohann and Adam Le Fondre could be the best in club history. 

"Once they click and know where each other's going to be, they're going to be impossible to stop. They've got goals across that front four - it's probably the best on paper that Sydney's ever had."

Ninkovic, Le Fondre and Barbarouses - his first for Sydney since joining from Melbourne Victory - were all on the scoresheet in the club's resounding 4-1 win over Newcastle Jets on Friday.

That night also saw Trent Buhagiar welcomed back into the fold for his Hyundai A-League debut 11 months after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament.

“It’s a big relief. After being out for a year with injury it was great to be back out on the pitch,” he told FOX Sports.

Wanderers sweating on Schwegler fitness

Wanderers fans are sweating on a fitness update on Pirmin Schwegler after the midfielder appeared to injure his calf in Saturday's 0-0 draw with Brisbane Roar.

The Swiss international, one of the competition's standout players so far and a huge factor in Western Sydney's unbeaten start, had to be replaced on 17 minutes.

His removal had a clear influence on what was a disjointed and flat Wanderers performance seven days after their Sydney derby exertions. 

“Of course, he is the most important player for us, the best player we have,” said Wanderers striker Alex Meier when asked if Schwegler's departure affected the team.


“He is the guy who conducts the play. If he is missing, of course it would be difficult but we can’t have an excuse because one or two players are missing."

Meier, a former Bundesliga Golden Boot winner, was one of the biggest victims from Schwegler's absence in that the Wanderers struggled to provide the German target man with any ammunition in the final third.

The majority of the goalmouth action was at the Brisbane end, where the Roar took 18 shots on goal. There has only been four Hyundai A-League matches in history where the club had more shots without scoring.

“We’ve probably dominated three games that we should have won," said Roar boss Robbie Fowler after the match.

"Am I worried? Not a chance, no."

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Young stars shine as City go top

Erick Mombaerts is giving Melbourne City youth a chance, and it is paying dividends for the league leaders.

City went top of the Hyundai A-League with a 3-2 victory over Wellington Phoenix on Sunday. 

The match saw Denis Genreau (20), Connor Matcalfe (19), Moudi Najjar (19), Lachlan Wales (22), Stefan Colakovski (19) and Ramy Najjarine (19) all involved.

"We have the chance to have very good young players but if we want to achieve something high, they need all the time to have things that they need to improve - all the time," Mombaerts said

For the second time in four seasons, Wellington Phoenix have begun the season with four straight defeats.

It is their equal worst start to a Hyundai A-League season after Round 4.

There were positives for the Phoenix - 18-year-old Ben Waine became the club's youngest ever goal scorer, club marquee Gary Hooper got off the mark.

More generally, Ufuk Talay's side threatened a City side that are unbeaten in their last 14 home matches at AAMI Park.