Central Coast Mariners have sent skipper John Hutchinson out a winner in his last match in Gosford as they edged out Western Sydney Wanderers 1-0 on Saturday night.
In an entertaining contest with a string of chances for both sides, it was Josh Rose’s second minute strike which proved to be the winner.
Mariners fans gave Hutchinson – as well as striker Matt Simon – a wonderful reception in their final home match and the result was the icing on the cake.
Defeat means the Wanderers stay on the bottom of the Hyundai A-League ladder, two points behind Newcastle Jets with just two matches left.
WHAT THEY SAID
"It’s the last time I’m going to play here, I just want to thank my teammates for sending me out a winner at home. It’s an amazing feeling the reception I got from the fans and the members…I’m so grateful." – Retiring Mariners captain John Hutchinson
"We created a lot of chances but that final ball is still missing, we need to work on that. If we want to win games we have to work very hard in the final third." - Wanderers midfielder Romeo Castelen
1-0 J. Rose (2’) – Anthony Caceres robbed Romeo Castelen of possession just inside the Wanderers half before finding Anthony Kalik. The youngster – making his starting debut – threading a pinpoint pass for the onrushing Rose, who slotted clinically in the bottom corner.
On a big night for the Mariners they came flying out of the blocks and took less than two minutes for them to show their statement of intent. Rose’s early strike not only put the Wanderers on the back foot from the start but was also the start of one of Central Coast’s most exciting, attacking performances of the season. The Mariners opened up the visitors defence on a host of occasions and if not for some poor finishing would have chalked up an even bigger victory.
OPTA DATA KEY STATS
Rose’s early goal was the first time in the last four matches against the Wanderers that Central Coast have found the back of the net. Western Sydney have now failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last 11 matches, conceding 21 in that time. It also continues the Wanderers’ poor run on their travels this season, losing 11 of 13 away games now.
A crowd of almost 10,000 turned up on a special occasion for two Mariners stalwarts who were playing their last games for the club. It made for a rousing atmosphere and one which both Hutchinson – the last club’s last foundation – and Matt Simon, the Mariners’ greatest-ever goal-scorer will have appreciated in their final match in Gosford. An emotional ‘Hutch’ received a standing ovation as he was substituted 10 minutes from time. There was also a frantic piece of play also occurred midway through the first half as the Wanderers hit the home side on the counter attack and had two great opportunities to score. First Alusine Fofanah raced clear and tried to chip an advancing Liam Reddy but the ball whacked the ‘keeper square in the face. The loose ball then fell to Nick Kalmar and with Reddy out of his box tried his luck from distance but Nick Montgomery had managed to rush back to clear the danger.
Just minutes after going behind early on, Iacopo La Rocca had a guilt-edged chance to equalise for the visitors. Nick Kalmar swung in a free-kick from the left which Liam Reddy mis-judged as he came out to punch. The ball floated over the Mariners gloveman, presenting La Rocca with a free header but he ballooned it over with the goal wide open. From just four yards out, it really should have been a goal and one which could have changed the game.
THE FINAL WORD
The Mariners will hope this win can help them build towards a big finish to the season and they face the long trip to Wellington for a Friday night clash with the Phoenix. The Wanderers chances of getting off the bottom of the ladder could hinge on how they go at home against a wounded Adelaide United on Saturday afternoon.
Central Coast Mariners: Reddy, Roux, Anderson, Bosnar, J. Rose, Hutchinson (L. Rose 81’), Montgomery, Caceres, Cernak (Simon 83’), Kalik (Fitzgerald 59’), Ferreira
Western Sydney Wanderers FC: Bouzanis, Gallaway (D’Cunha 89’), Aspropotamitis, Spiranovic, Golec, La Rocca (Trifiro 59’), Poljak, Castelen, Kalmar (Kuzmanovski 69’), Fofanah, Bulut
Scorers: J. Rose 2’
Red cards: none
Yellow cards: Gallaway 16’, Anderson 47’, Covic 53’, Fofanah 62’, Montgomery 90+4’
Conditions: 18C, FineAttendance: 9548 @ Central Coast Stadium