They may occupy opposite ends of the ladder but Sunday’s clash between Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne Victory in Gosford shapes as unpredictable and intriguing.
Sunday, 19 February 2017
Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne Victory
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Kick-Off: 5:00PM (Local) (5:00PM (AEDT))
Referee: Daniel Elder
Assistant Referee 1: Owen Goldrick
Assistant Referee 2: Kearney Robinson
Fourth Official: Luke Withell
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 4.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: ABC Grandstand, 1116 SEN (Melbourne), Coast FM 96.3
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #CCMvMVC
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Storm ROUX (c), 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5.Harry ASCROFT, 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 13.Kwabena APPIAH, 14.Adam BERRY, 16.Liam ROSE, 17.Josh BINGHAM, 19.Jacques FATY, 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 22.Jake McGING, 24.Reece PAPADIMITRIOS, 26.Steve WHYTE
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 19.Jacques FATY (return from injury), 24.Reece PAPADIMITRIOS (promoted), 26.Steve WHYTE (promoted)
Outs: 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (suspended - 1 match)
Unavailable: 6.Blake POWELL (knee - 1 week), 10.Mickael TAVARES (ankle injury - indefinite), 23.Jake ADELSON (ACL - indefinite)
Melbourne Victory squad: 2.Jason GERIA, 4.Nick ANSELL, 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Marco ROJAS, 8.Besart BERISHA, 10.James TROISI, 11.Mitch AUSTIN, 13.Oliver BOZANIC, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15.Alan BARO, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 17.James DONACHIE, 19.George HOWARD, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI (c), 23.Jai INGHAM, 40.Matt ACTON (gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 16.Rashid MAHAZI (promoted), 19.George HOWARD (promoted)
These are heady days for the Mariners.
They head into the final match of Round 20 on the back of three straight wins – and a fourth may well be enough to propel them into the top six by Sunday night.
The Yellow and Navy have only conceded one goal during this upturn in form and are enjoying their new-found status as dark horses for the six.
Not bad for a team that was all but written off at the turn of the new year under their rookie coach Paul Okon.
Their new-found defensive solidity was typified in last week’s win over the Wanderers where they were outplayed for the best part of an hour, absorbing plenty before a barnstorming finish stunned the home side.
One would love to be a fly on the wall to hear one of Okon’s half-time addresses as so often this season the Mariners have looked a different side after the interval.
A slow start is something they can’t afford against a Victory side that thrives on dictating play from the off.
Kevin Muscat’s side have won only one of their past five matches, blowing their chance at taking the Premiership race down to the wire.
Amazingly, despite this form dip, they’re still seven points in front of third spot.
That said, Victory will fancy their chances of getting back to winning ways against a side they’ve dominated in recent times.
The Mariners will be without skipper Nick Montgomery while he serves a suspension for his fifth booking of the season but welcome back Jacques Faty from injury.
The Victory look set to be unchanged from the squad that met the Jets in Monday’s 0-0 stalemate.
- Melbourne Victory are undefeated in their last 10 games against Central Coast Mariners, scoring an average of 2.5 goals per game in that span.
- Central Coast Mariners have won each of their last two games on home soil; the last time they won more in succession was a five-game streak from March to October 2014.
ROUTE TO GOAL
Despite not scoring in the Mariners' wins over the Glory and the Reds, Roy O’Donovan reminded everyone he’s still the main man in Gosford with a classy brace against the Wanderers last weekend.
The Irishman confidently dispatched his spot-kick before his audacious chip sealed all three points.
O’Donovan has taken his goal tally to ten for the season and he has 18 from 37 appearances for the Mariners – not a bad return in a side that has struggled to fire for the past two seasons.
Expect a big match from Connor Pain against his former side, while the home fans would no doubt love to see Trent Buhagiar burn former Mariner Mitch Austin in a battle of the speedsters.
Victory have struggled on the road this year, with Besart Berisha’s penalty at nib Stadium (at the second time of asking) the only goal they’ve scored in their last three away matches.
The Albanian still leads the golden boot standings by two goals and he’ll be charged with leading the revival but he’ll need better service than what Victory were able to create at Newcastle.
Marco Rojas also has ten goals for the season – and no doubt would be top of the pile if he was on penalty duties this season.
The Kiwi Messi, along with the tricky Fahid Ben Khalfallah will no doubt enjoy the opportunity to run at the Mariners youthful backline, which has former teammate Scott Galloway among their ranks and All White Storm Roux.
WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
The Mariners' Storm Roux. He's looking forward to facing his All Whites teammate, the Kiwi Messi
Central Coast Mariners: LLWWW
Melbourne Victory: LLLWD
Mariners 2-2 Victory