Mariners blow Phoenix away in windy Wellington

The Central Coast Mariners have broken one of the longest droughts in the club’s Hyundai A-League, by picking up its first win over Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium in over three years, in the form of a 3-nil victory tonight.

The Central Coast Mariners have broken one of the longest droughts in the club-s Hyundai A-League, by picking up its first win over Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium in over three years, in the form of a 3-nil victory tonight.

In typically cold and windy conditions, the Mariners started a little shakily, before a 17th minute Joshua Rose goal kick-started a rout, which was added to by Rose-s second, and completed by Adam Kwasnik against his former club.

“We were always confident that we could win,” said Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold.

“That was our best performance away from home, the football was very pleasing, so overall, I-m very, very happy.”

While the Phoenix-s attacking triumvirate of Chris Greenacre through the middle and Leo Bertos and Paul Ifill down the flanks set about making their intentions clear early with some impressive link-up play, it was the Yellow and Navy who would enjoy the opening chance of the match.

Rostyn Griffiths squared up for Michael McGlinchey who found himself in space on the right edge of the box, but the Kiwi international watched his side footed effort sail over the bar.

The Mariners very nearly took the lead in what would have been freakish circumstances a quarter of an hour in, when Alex Wilkinson headed a corner out to Matt Simon, whose shot cannoned off the back of Daniel McBreen-s head, forcing Mark Paston into a desperate punch for another corner.

Two minutes later and the Central Coast would have their first goal in the Kiwi capital since Sasho Petrovski scored the winner in a 2-1 win back in October 2007.

Mustafa Amini showed fantastic vision to beat a man and switch to the left where he found Rose, and the left-back cut inside Jade North to fire past Paston from the edge of the box.

It was all in one half of the field as the Mariners looked to double their advantage, Oliver Bozanic forcing Paston low to his left with a fierce drive, while the New Zealand international shot-stopper had to be on his toes to smother a McBreen snap-shot after Simon Elliott lost possession on the edge of the area.

The hosts found a way back into the contest and Ifill shot over the bar after cutting inside Pedj Bojic on the half hour, while Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante had two golden opportunities to square things up as the clock wound down.

Firstly, a short corner was delivered toward the back post by Elliott, where Durante was lurking, but couldn-t connect with an open goal beckoning, and in his 100th Hyundai A-League match, Durante fired a header wide from point blank range to end proceedings for the first 45 minutes.

After the Mariners absorbed early pressure from the Phoenix in the form of three corners to start the second half, McBreen found himself through on goal down the left, but Ben Sigmund put his body on the line to block the shot at point blank range, just when it seemed the Yellow and Navy had gone two-up.

Mathew Ryan did well to tip a stinging 35 yard effort from Elliott onto the crossbar on 57 minutes and two minutes later at the other end of the park it seemed as though Patrick Zwaanswijk had indeed doubled the advantage, after heading home a crafty free-kick from Bozanic, only for the Assistant Referee to rule the big Dutchman had strayed into an offside position.

For the second time in ten minutes the Phoenix found woodwork, this time Greenacre, who flicked a Bertos cross on to the far post, the ball rebounding into the grateful arms of Ryan, who received a kick from Tim Brown for his troubles.

Amini made way for Adam Kwasnik with 25 minutes remaining, and a short time later the ex-Phoenix striker almost had the Mariners- second, but Paston managed to tip his curling effort around the far post.

The second goal, which seemed to have been on its way for quite some time finally arrived on 80 minutes, Rostyn Griffiths playing a pinpoint ball over the top for Rose, who cut inside and sent a low shot past Paston to complete his double.

“It was nice to get a couple of goals tonight but I think the most important thing was the three points,” said Rose.

“I-ve been a bit disappointed with my performances over the last few weeks so Arnie has been giving me a few tips on how to improve, telling me to get forward a bit more so it was nice tonight to get that space and get a couple of goals.”

The Mariners- night was well and truly made on 85 minutes as Rose squared for McBreen who flicked on to Kwasnik, who found himself completely unmarked at the back post to tap in, and continue what is now a three match winning streak.

Despite this impressive record, Arnold concedes the side is still some distance from the finished product.

“I can see us every week getting better and better and better, and still there-s a lot of improvement left. If there was one negative about tonight it was in front of goal. It could have been 3-nil and game over, dead and buried, but it was still 1-nil.

“We had a tough travel last week to North Queensland and now we-re over here so we haven-t had it easy, but the mentality of this playing group is fantastic. We-ve got no stars, I don-t want any stars, we-ve got blokes who are prepared to go out there and work for 90 minutes, carry out a game plan and work for each other, and confidence is growing.”

When asked if the Mariners could be a Premiership contender, Arnold remained philosophical.

“They (Brisbane and Adelaide) are pretty much the two best teams in the league. Brisbane are playing great football and are well coached by Ange (Postecoglou). Rini Coolen has done a great job and Adelaide are a very, very good side. Are we ready for them at the moment? I don-t think so.”

The night will also be a memorable one for Mariners- fan Harry McDougall, who made his way across the Tasman to witness the historic win, and found himself welcomed in to be a part of the side-s post-match dinner.

The Central Coast Mariners next match of the 2010/11 Hyundai A-League season will be against Melbourne Victory this Thursday, 18 November at AAMI Park, Melbourne. Kick-off is at 7:30pm (AEDT).

Match Details

Wellington Phoenix 0
Central Coast Mariners 3 (Rose 17-, 80-. Kwasnik 86-)

Wellington Phoenix: 1. Mark PASTON (gk), 2. Manny MUSCAT, 6. Tim BROWN (11. DANIEL 73-), 7. Leo BERTOS, 8. Paul IFILL, 9. Chris GREENACRE (23. Dylan MACALLISTER 80-), 15. Jade NORTH (13. Troy HEARFIELD 78-), 17. Vince LIA, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 22. Andrew DURANTE (c), 26. Simon ELLIOTT.

Subs not Used: 19. Danny VUKOVIC (gk).

Yellow Cards: Brown 64-
Red Cards: Nil

Central Coast Mariners: 20. Mathew RYAN (gk), 2. Daniel McBREEN, 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK (17. Chris DOIG 89-), 8. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 11. Oliver BOZANIC (12. Matthew LEWIS 83-), 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 18. Alex WILKINSON, 19. Matt SIMON, 22. Mustafa AMINI (23. Adam KWASNIK 65-).

Subs not Used: 30. Paul HENDERSON (gk).

Yellow Cards: Zwaanswijk 18-, Bozanic 48-, Simon 70-
Red Cards: Nil

Referee: Peter O-LEARY
Crowd: 3,625 @ Westpac Stadium, Wellington