Wellington Phoenix 3 (Bonevacia 65’, Cunningham 79’ & 90+5’) Central Coast Mariners 2 (Fitzgerald 11’, Bosnar 35’)
The run down:
After taking a first half 2-0 lead, the Central Coast Mariners have suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 defeat to Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
Strikes to Nick Fitzgerald & Eddy Bosnar in the opening 45 minutes were made null and void after second half strikes to Rolieny Bonevacia and a brace to substitute Kenny Cunningham who delivered the final blow in the 95th minute of play.
Full attention now turns to AAMI Park next Sunday where the Mariners will face off against Melbourne Victory for their last game of the season and John Hutchinson’s final match of his 10 year career in the Hyundai A-League.
11’ NICK FITZGERALD GOAL – It was the away side that broke first through Fitzgerald with a clinical close range finish past Glen Moss. But it was 17-year-old Anthony Kalik who started the build up with a ball into Isaka Cernak, Cernak threaded the needle perfectly through to Fitzgerald who made a sharp run through Phoenix’s backline and composed himself in front of goal to slot his finish with no mistake.
35’ EDDY BOSNAR GOAL – Bosnar stepped up to a free kick from all of 25 yards out, confronted with a Wellington Phoenix wall. Despite the line of Phoenix defenders, Bosnar tried his luck with a firm strike that found its way straight through the wall & Glen Moss to double the Mariners’ lead.
65’ BONEVACIA GOAL – The Dutchman made a charging run towards the top of the Mariners box, his shot lacked power it, but his perfect placement in the bottom corner was enough to beat Reddy and put Phoenix on the score sheet.
79’ CUNNINGHAM GOAL – Super substitute Cunningham leveled the wagers with just over 10 minutes to go and made no mistake with his strike that flew into Reddy’s bottom corner.
90+5’ CUNNINGHAM – The substitute came on with a vengeance and beyond the allocated amount of time added on, the Costa Rican international made the most of possession just outside the six yard box and slotted home for a heart breaking third Phoenix goal.
16’ BOXALL CROSS – Michael Boxall steamed down the right touch line and looked to curl in a threatening delivery to the Mariners area but the danger was easily cleared by the away side’s back four.
18’ SIGMUND CHARGE – Wellington’s centre back, Ben Sigmund took it upon himself to get forward in the first half, his charging run up the middle of the park allowed him to link up with Bonevacia who laid the ball off to Roy Krishna that was shut down early.
21’ FITZGERALD RUN – The goalscorer made a flying run up the pitch in an attempt to chase down a long-ball, Fitzgerald was matched with a run by Louis Fenton who made a tackle on Fitzgerald that heralded calls for a penalty that were waved away.
32’ BURNS IN THE BOX – Phoenix’s in form striker, Nathan Burns found possession in the box and looked to link up with one of his attacking counterparts. Before Burns could offload a pass he was swamped by Mariners defenders who cancelled out the danger.
42’ KRISHNA SHOT – Roy Krishna tried to take it upon himself just before the break with a cracking shot from just inside the 18-yard box. As always, Reddy was up to the challenge and parried the effort onto his own cross bar.
51’ BURNS & KRISHNA COMBO – Krishna & Burns looked to link up down the left hand side but the finishing touch was not there and Reddy found himself with an easy pick up inside the area.
61’ MCGLINCHEY CHANCE – The former Mariner had a chance to put one past the yellow and navy but his curling effort from the top of the 18-yard-box drifted past Reddy’s upright.
62’ FITZGERALD CHANCE – Fitzy looked to double his tally for the night with a strike from inside the box but his effort was just wide of the upright.
69’ FENTON RUN – Fenton looked to charge up the middle of the pitch into the box but it was Josh Rose who came across in cover defence to make a great tackle and put an end to the Phoenix attacking threat.
70’ FLURY IN THE BOX – Bonevacia picked up possession inside the Mariners area after some scrappiness in the box, McGlinchey also had the ball but neither attacker could trouble Reddy.
“It’s one where you feel for the players because they’re obvously devastated. It’s too soon to reflect on what went wrong.”
“We’re trying to play a proactive, higher line and press earlier and we knew from the first half that they work very well in the midfield to get superiority around the ball.”
“I think they’ve got a real appetite to be challenged, I don’t think there’s ever nothing to play for. They’re professional sportsmen and they are under a development stage under a new manager so there’s plenty for them to go out and try and work on. To come out at Wellington and be two up is a great start for us, it put us in a really strong position, so getting them up for games is not really an issue.”
“I think the biggest challenge is building a level of sophistication around how we keep the ball so in that situation there was never intention to shut up shop and protect the lead but what we needed to be was bold in possession and try to run them out of steam but it wasn’t to be.”
“Anthony Kalik is great, he got his debut last week and played without fear. He’s 17 years old but he’s got pace, he’s got intent to drive at defenders and put himself into goalscoring opportunities. At training he’s been great and banged a few goals away so without a recognised and fully fit number nine we’ve tried a couple of people there and he’s done really well.”
Wellington Phoenix 3
Central Coast Mariners 2
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Peter O’Leary
Central Coast Mariners: 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Josh ROSE, 5.Zac ANDERSON, 7.John HUTCHINSON (c) (16.Liam ROSE 82’), 8.Nick MONTGOMERY, 10.Anthony CACERES (18. Glen TRIFIRO 85’), 11.Nick FITZGERALD 12.Liam REDDY (Gk), 20.Anthony KALIK (19. Matt SIMON 72’), 23.Isaka CERNAK, 25.Eddy BOSNAR
Substitutes not used: 1.Matthew NASH (Gk), 4. Jacob POSCOLIERO
Yellow cards: Hutchinson 58’, L. Rose 85’
Wellington Phoenix: 1.Glen MOSS (GK), 4.Roly BONEVACIA, 5.Michael BOXALL, 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ (2. Manny MUSCAT 60’), 9.Nathan BURNS, 10.Michael MCGLINCHEY (15.Jason HICKS 84’), 13.Albert RIERA, 16.Louis FENTON, 18.Ben SIGMUND, 21.Roy KRISHNA (7.Kenny CUNNINGHAM 60’), 22.Andrew DURANTE (c)
Substitutes not used: 20.Lewis ITALIANO (GK), 17.Vince LIA