Wanderers go top as Muller’s late goal sinks the Mariners
A late goal from substitute Nicolai Muller has handed Western Sydney Wanderers a 1-0 win over Central Coast Mariners in a fiery clash in Gosford on Tuesday night.
In a game of few chances but plenty of spice, Muller struck the decisive blow seven minutes from time to inflict the first defeat of the season on the Mariners.
The win for Carl Robinson’s side has seen them jump to the top of the A-League ladder on goal difference on the back of a three-game unbeaten run.
It was a contest that could have gone either way, with Mariners midfielder Joshua Nisbet hitting the crossbar with a strike early in the second half.
The late goal came at the end of an entertaining and – at times – fiery contest.
Mariners skipper Matt Simon was involved in a couple of flash points in the first half, while Wanderers defender Ziggy Gordon was public enemy no.1 with the Central Coast fans against his former club.
But Gordon and the Wanderers had the last laugh with a gritty win to move to the A-League summit.
Cox goes close for Wanderers
It was an all-action start with both sides pressing for an opening goal but it was the visitors that went the closest inside 10 minutes.
And it was the imports that combined as Graham Dorrans’ free-kick picked out Simon Cox who couldn’t keep his header down.
Simon denied by Margush magnificence
It took just a few more minutes for the Mariners to carve out their best chance of the opening half.
Jack Clisby floated in a cross from the left with Mariners skipper Matt Simon rising highest to get a header towards goal.
Simon’s towering effort was floating towards the top corner but Wanderers gloveman Daniel Margush showed great agility to claw the ball away for a corner.
Troisi can’t find a way past Birighitti
It was the Wanderers that started the second half the stronger and they almost broke the deadlock soon after the interval.
Cox was again involved, showing great awareness to chest down a lofted pass into the path of James Troisi, but the playmaker’s shot from the edge of the box was straight at the Mariners shot-stopper.
Nisbet rattles the woodwork
While Troisi’s chance was a good one, the Mariners went even closer to grabbing the opener just after the hour mark.
The excellent Nisbet wriggled free of a couple of defenders before spotting the run of Daniel De Silva who drove into the box.
De Silva returned the ball to Nisbet in the middle and while the diminutive midfielder scuffed his first effort, he got a better connection to his second attempt which cannoned onto the crossbar.
Substitutes combine for Wanderers
Just as it looked as neither side would be able to find a breakthrough, the Wanderers delivered a decisive blow on 83 minutes.
And it was a couple of substitutes that were the instigators as the Mariners defence allowed a long ball over the top to bounce inside their penalty area.
Kwame Yeboah’s powerful shot was deflected into the path of Muller who made no mistake with an assured finish much to the delight of the away fans.
Sydney FC v Central Coast Mariners
Friday, 22 January 2021
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Kick-off: 7.05pm AEDT
Western Sydney Wanderers v Newcastle Jets
Friday, 29 January 2021
Venue: Bankwest Stadium
Kick-off: 7.05pm AEDT
Featured NewsRead more
Goodwin vows to 'keep building' as Adelaide seal third win in a row
Craig Goodwin believes Adelaide can keep the momentum going after racking up their third straight win with a 2-1 triumph over the Newcastle Jets. Hometown hero Goodwin struck the winning goal in the 77th minute in his first match at Coopers Stadium in almost two years, after r
Goodwin shines on return home as Reds down Jets
Craig Goodwin proved the difference on his return to the City of Churches as Adelaide United sealed a 2-1 win against the Newcastle Jets. The Socceroos attacker showed his class by netting the 77th-minute winner at Coopers Stadium, his second goal in two games since arriving b
Signing news: Taylor is back in a Phoenix jersey
The Wellington Phoenix are excited to announce that Steven Taylor, their captain during the club's record-setting 2019/20 season, will be returning to the Phoenix for the remainder of the 2020/21 A-League season in Wollongong. ...: Wellington Phoenix and Wollongong Wolves Loo