Doka deals late blow as Mariners defeat Wanderers

Central Coast Mariners returned to winning ways in the Isuzu UTE A-League with a 1-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers.

Mikael Doka was the hero for the Mariners, stepping up for a late penalty and calmly sending Daniel Margush the wrong way to seal the three points.

Mark Jackson made two changes from the side that were beaten by Sydney FC at Our Paradise last weekend, in came Jing Reec for Ryan Edmondson, and Bailey Brandtman who was given a first Isuzu UTE A-League start after a couple of lively substitute appearances of late. Angel Torres missed out through injury.

Another tense battle with the Wanderers, just like when the sides met at Commbank Stadium in early January, saw clear cut chances at a premium but both sides did come close in one thrilling end-to-end minute just after the half hour mark.

First, Danny Vukovic made a fantastic save to tip Nicolas Milanovic’s powerful effort onto the crossbar, the Mariners then broke and Josh Nisbet released Reec with an exquisite left-footed pass but the 20-year-old was denied by Daniel Margush one-on-one.

Just before the break, the Mariners hit the woodwork through Brian Kaltak’s powerful header, the closest either side came to opening the scoring in a tight first half.

The second half continued in a cagey and very stop-start fashion, with Wanderers looking to break up play and hit on the break.

A half chance for Miguel Di Pizio was the best Mariners had mustered up in the second half so Jackson turned to his bench on 66 minutes to freshen things up, on came Edmondson and Doka for Reec and Christian Theoharous.

The two almost combined to good effect immediately, as Doka swung in a teasing cross but Edmondson just failed to connect from six yards out.

Ronald Barcellos was next to come on off the bench and he played a key role, winning the penalty with his alertness to react to a loose ball in the box which drew a clumsy foul from Gabriel Cleur.

Doka seized the ball and confidently stood over the penalty, before sending Margush the wrong way, his first Isuzu UTE A-League goal.

The Mariners saw out the win to hold onto second spot in the Isuzu UTE A-League, and in doing so inflicted Wanderers’ third defeat in their last five matches which has seen them slip to sixth in the table, now below their City rivals and clinging on to a Finals spot.

Jackson’s side have to wait almost a month until they are back in action on the Coast, as they face four consecutive away games before hosting Melbourne City on March 17th.

However, with our Supporter Buses running to Macarthur and Newcastle, you don’t have to miss out, book your tickets and travel now!

And there is still chance to visit Industree Group in the meantime, as Emily Husband’s Liberty A-League side host Adelaide United here on March 3rd.