Hyundai A-League preview: Mariners v Phoenix

What better way to see in the New Year than with some hot Hyundai A-League action. Can the Mariners end a disappointing 2015 on a high or will Merrick’s men rule the Coast?




Thursday, 31 December 2015

Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Kick-Off: 7:00 PM (Local) (7:00 PM (AEDT))

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 1 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: 92.5 ABC Central Coast, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live. Coast FM 96.3 (Central Coast)

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #CCMvWEL

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Central Coast Mariners squad: 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Josh ROSE, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5.Harry ASCROFT, 6.Mitch AUSTIN, 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Nick FITZGERALD, 14.Daniel HEFFERNAN, 16.Liam ROSE, 19.Josh BINGHAM, 21.Michael NEILL, 22.Jake McGING 23.Tomislav USKOK, 30. Adam PEARCE, (GK) 40.Tom HEWARD-BELLE (GK) 

**two to be omitted** 

Ins:  23.Tomislav USKOK (promoted), 30. Adam PEARCE (GK), 6.Mitch AUSTIN (return from illness)

Outs: 1.Paul IZZO (GK) (suspended), 15.Matthew SIM (not selected)

Unavailable: nil 

Wellington Phoenix squad: 1. Glen MOSS (GK), 2. Manny MUSCAT, 3. Justin GULLEY, 4. Roly BONEVACIA, 5. Troy DANASKOS, 6. Dylan FOX, 8. Alex RODRIGUEZ, 10. Michael MCGLINCHEY, 11. Kwabena  APPIAH, 12. Blake POWELL, 17. Vince LIA, 19. Tom DOYLE, 20. Lewis ITALIANO (GK), 21, Roy KRISHNA, 22. Andrew DURANTE (capt), 23. Matthew RIDENTON.

Ins: 3. Justin GULLLEY (returns from injury), 19. Tom DOYLE (returns from suspension).

Outs: 7. Jeffery SARPONG (thigh strain), 13. Albert RIERA (suspended).

Unavailable: 13. Albert RIERA (suspended), 14. Alex RUFER (broken tibia, season), 16. Louis FENTON (ankle injury 2 to 3 weeks), 18. Ben SIGMUND (hip strain 1-2 weeks).

Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones

Assistant Referee 1: Leigh Pigram

Assistant Referee 2: James Cleal

Fourth Official: Stephen Lucas

Nick Fitzgerald is forlorn after one of City's five goals on Thursday night.


How the Mariners must be looking forward to seeing the calendar flick over to 2016!

It’s been a shocking second half of 2015 for the boys from Gosford, who will end the year stuck at the bottom of the Hyundai A-League.

A club-record losing streak and no wins since the opening weekend of the campaign means there hasn’t been much festive cheer on the Coast.

Their mood would have only worsened after getting hammered 4-1 by Sydney FC on Boxing Day.

But a win could give them fresh hope for the New Year and Tony Walmsley’s side will undoubtedly go all-out to make that happen against the inconsistent Phoenix.

It’s been hard to get a read on Wellington so far in 2015/16, with a poor defeat often followed up by a sensational performance and win.

Given Ernie Merrick’s side was humbled 3-0 by Adelaide last time out, it wouldn’t surprise if they came out and blew the Mariners away in Gosford.

The Mariners get flyer Mitch Austin back for this one while young gloveman Adam Pearce will start from the bench in place of the suspended Paul Izzo.

For the Phoenix, a couple of huge outs with Albert Riera suspended, while Jeffery Sarpong hasn’t travelled due to a thigh strain.


-Central Coast has conceded the most goals in the Hyundai A-League in 2015-16 (28) – eight more than any other side.

-Wellington is undefeated in their last six matches against Central Coast in the Hyundai A-League, including three wins and three draws.

-The Mariners have allowed their opponents the most shots on target in the Hyundai A-League this season (70).

-Phoenix is without victory in their last six matches away from home, their longest streak in the Hyundai A-League since March 2013.


For all the talk of the Mariners’ pro-active, attacking ethos this season, they’ve still only managed 12 goals from their 12 games so far this season.

Sure, some of their play has been pleasing on the eye, the end-product has been seriously lacking.

Striker Roy O’Donovan, who has netted four times, has been guilty of some questionable finishing but all of the blame can’t be placed on his shoulders.

Walmsley needs to get more out of the likes of Fitzgerald, Caceres and Austin, while the return of Ferreira in the last two games is a huge positive.

Phoenix drew a blank against the Reds last time out but very rarely are held scoreless two weeks in a row.

In Roy Krishan they have one of the best attackers in the A-League, with six goals for the season so far.

If the Fijian flyer is on, the Mariners confidence-sapped back-four will be in for a long night.

Michael McGlinchey often saves his best for his former club while Roly Bonevacia will again be key in the heart of midfield.

Merrick has already confirmed he will dip into the transfer market for a striker in January so Phoenix’s current attacker have no greater motivation to keep their spots than by scoring a few goals against the league’s basement side. 

Michael McGlinchey on the ball during Phoenix's 1-1 draw with Central Coast Mariners.


Tom Heward-Belle. The 18-year-old gloveman earned a debut off the bench against Sydney FC on Boxing Day and looked impressive after Paul Izzo was sent off. Now in his first start, can he keep Phoenix at Bay and help Mariners to their first win in 12 games?


Mariners: LLLLL

Phoenix: DWLDL


Central Coast Mariners 1-2 Wellington Phoenix