On Wednesday night, the Central Coast Mariners will travel down to Wollongong for the second time in the space of four days to face Wollongong Wolves in the FFA Cup Round of 16 at WIN Stadium.
The Mariners travel to the Illawara region following the first two matches of the Isuzu UTE A-League season where they currently sit 5th on the table with a win and a loss. In the previous round, the Mariners overcame a tough and well organised Blacktown City FC team in Mudgee after the Yellow and Navy created many goal scoring chances but were frequently denied by Tristan Prendergast in the City net who made quality save after quality save. The deadlock was finally broken in the 75th minute when Béni Nkololo scored his first goal for his new team and was embraced by the travelling Yellow Army.
This encounter will present the perfect opportunity for the Mariners to show their quality once more with the likes of Damian Tsekenis, Jacob Farrell and Max Balard continuing to get A-League minutes in the opening two weeks of the season, and these boys may be likely to start in this tie.
For Mariners Head Coach Nick Montgomery, this will be an interesting encounter as he previously played for the Wolves from 2017 to 2018, where he finished his playing career before moving into a coaching role on the Central Coast.
Ahead of the match, Montgomery is relishing the opportunity to face off against his former employers.
“They are a great club, and there are some great people there. It will be nice to see some familiar faces, but we are going there to get a job done and progress through to the next round.”Nick Montgomery
Catch the full interview here.
On the other side, the Wollongong Wolves come into this clash lacking competitive action which will be advantageous for the Gosford side, after their last match came in the Round of 32 against Mt Druitt Town Rangers. In that match, Wollongong were lucky to not be behind when Rangers missed a clear cut chance in the first half however, the away team would eventually take their chances when they came and ran out 3-0 winners in clinical fashion with goals to Peter Simonoski, Bilal Beladki and Lachlan Scott.
The Wolves will be playing in the Round of 16 for the first time in their history but will be looking to cause an upset with former Sydney FC player Luke Wilkshere managing the NSW NPL1 side.
Playing out of the 23,000-seater WIN Stadium, the hosts will be looking to get a bumper crowd along to watch the match as Nick Montgomery’s Mariners aim to play FFA Cup Quarter Final football once again in 2021.
Wollongong Wolves v Central Coast Mariners
WIN Stadium, Wollongong, NSW.
7:30pm Kick Off