The Central Coast Mariners spoiled the party at Campbelltown Stadium for the Macarthur Bulls inaugural home match and came away 2-0 victors in as Daniel DeSilva scored in the first half and Jordan Smylie sealed the victory late.
— Central Coast Mariners (@CCMariners) January 3, 2021
The opening stages of the game were very cagey with few chances for either side, with Simon going closest for the visitors and Najjar for the hosts early on.
The main action of the half came later on as Josh Nisbet was released down the line by Stefan Nigro. Nisbet then played a low cross back toward the penalty spot that evaded everyone except for De Silva who poked the ball into the top corner, giving the visitors a 1-0 lead.
The Mariners looked strong for the remainder of the half and could’ve doubled their lead when Kuol was put through on goal from Bozanic’s long ball, but pressure from the Bulls defence and a decent save from Federici prevented that.
Macarthur threatened on occasions through the second half, but a superb defensive display across the full 90 minutes from Kye Rowles, Ruon Tongyik, Jack Clisby, Nigro and then Lewis Miller too kept them at bay.
The hosts best chance came from a well worked free kick which teed up Ivan Franjic for a shot from the edge of the area, and despite deflecting was kept out by a wonderful save by Mark Birighitti.
There was concern for Clisby late on as he suffered a dislocated shoulder after going over the advertising hoardings while defending, but had it popped back in to finish off the game.
The sealing moment came late on as Miller found debutant Daniel Bouman down the right edge, and he beat the Macarthur line perfectly to stay onside. He drove into the box and squared the ball for Smylie to tap in, and after a brief VAR check Smylie’s first A-League goal was confirmed to wrap up the 2-0 win for the Mariners.
The victory marked the first pair of back to back wins in the league for the Mariners since December 2017, and leaves the Mariners on top of the A-League table with a 16-day break until the next home outing against Western Sydney Wanderers.