Central Coast Mariners are finally flying, but is a break away from home just what Western Sydney Wanderers need to snap their luckless run at Spotless?
Saturday, 3 December 2016
Central Coast Mariners v Western Sydney Wanderers FC
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Kick-Off: 5:35PM (Local) (5:35PM (AEDT))
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Assistant Referee 1: Ryan Gallagher
Assistant Referee 2: James Cleal
Fourth Official: Kurt Ams
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 5.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 2 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: ABC Grandstand, EON Sports Radio (eonsportsradio.com), Coast FM 96.3, Hawkesbury Radio
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #CCMvWSW
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5.Harry ASCROFT, 6.Blake POWELL, 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 9.Roy O”DONOVAN, 10.Mickael TAVARES, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 14.Adam BERRY, 16.Liam Rose, 17.Josh BINGHAM, 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 21.Michael NEILL, 22.Jake McGING
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 16.Liam ROSE (return from suspension), 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO (return from injury)
Unavailable: 23.Jake Adelson (ACL – indefinite), 19.Jacques FATY (knee – 1 week)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 1.Jerrad TYSON (gk), 3.Jack CLISBY, 5.Brendan HAMILL, 6.Mitch NICHOLS, 7.Steve LUSTICA, 8.Dimas (c), 9.Kerem BULUT, 10.Nicolás MARTÍNEZ, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 13.Bruno PIÑATARES, 14.Jumpei KUSUKAMI, 15.Kearyn BACCUS, 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 17.Artiz BORDA, 20.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 23.Lachlan SCOTT
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO (promoted), 23.Lachlan SCOTT (promoted)
At last, at the 37th attempt, Central Coast Mariners have a clean sheet.
If that was a long wait, Paul Okon will be even more relieved to have ended the club’s 11-month delay between home victories in last Thursday’s buoyant 2-0 win over Perth Glory.
Goals from Harry Ascroft and Roy O’Donovan rocketed the Mariners into sixth spot on the back of their second win in four matches – just one shy of the three they managed for the entire 2015/16 season.
Having now lost only once in five matches and with unexpected hope of troubling the finals places, Central Coast will welcome the visit of a still slightly off-colour Western Sydney Wanderers.
Tony Popovic would hardly have expected his team to have not tasted victory since their last meeting with the Mariners, an underwhelming 1-1 draw at Spotless Stadium in October.
That was the second of what is a now a six-match winless run, although there were undeniable signs of improvement in their most recent draw with Brisbane Roar.
A short trip away from the pressures of home, where they’re yet to win all season, may well be the retreat last season’s Grand Finalists need to snap out of their early-season slumber.
ROUTE TO GOAL
Only Perth Glory own a worse defensive record than these two sides suggesting there could well be goals as the competition’s sixth and seventh-placed teams aim to put ladder space on each other.
They must overcome shyness in front of goal though having only notched nine goals in eight games respectively.
Western Sydney winger Nico Martinez tested Roar goalkeeper Michael Theo on several occasions last time out and has become the gifted leader of Wanderers’ attack. The Argentine trickster has only scored once but it won’t be long until he joins Brendon Santalab as the side’s other multiple goalscorer.
The form of the usually prolific Mitch Nichols is more concerning given he’s yet to hit the target this term.
Central Coast are in a similar position with only Roy O’Donovan having managed more than a lone goal throughout the competition’s opening eight rounds.
The Irishman lifted his tally to four last Thursday and continues to shoulder much of the Mariners’ goalscoring burden. Young defenders Jake McGing and Harry Ascroft have hit the scoresheet in consecutive weeks, though Okon will still be keen to establish more regular threats.
Connor Pain, who claimed the player of the match honours in the win over Perth, could become that figure.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Harry Ascroft. The defender headed his fourth goal in 20 starts in Central Coast’s 2-0 win over Perth Glory last weekend, but received more attention for the celebratory backhand he accidentally dished out to housemate and defensive partner Jake McGing.
Central Coast Mariners: DWLDW
Western Sydney Wanderers: DDLDD
Central Coast Mariners 0-1 Western Sydney Wanderers