Central Coast Mariners Head Coach Phil Moss believes “things are starting to take shape” for his side after the yellow and navy earned a highly credible 0-0 draw away to 2014 AFC Champions League winners Western Sydney Wanderers on Wednesday night.
In front of over 14,000 raucous fans at the red & black’s Parramatta Stadium, the Mariners gave as good as they got against the Wanderers, creating numerous opportunities to win the match, defending with vigour, and showing signs of substantial improvement in their overall play.
Indeed, following the game Moss rated his team’s performance as their best yet this Hyundai A-League campaign – the draw was the Club’s second in the space of four days against high quality opposition after the Mariners drew 2-2 with Melbourne City on Sunday.
“I think we’ve built another block from what we’ve done over the last week – this is our fourth game in 11 days,” Moss said at his post-match press conference.
“We kept a clean sheet which was a real objective of ours tonight and we knew that would give us a chance to win the game. We created four great chances away from home and unfortunately it [the ball] just wouldn’t go in [the goal] tonight.”
“I am really proud of the boys [because] not too many teams will come here and take anything away from the place.”
“It’s definitely the best overall performance [of the season]. Tonight I thought we gave as good as we got.”
“The belief in our boys was there tonight, we just need to find the back of the net and once that happens then I have got no doubt that we’ll score goals on a regular basis,” he said.
The best opportunities the Mariners had to score in Wednesday’s encounter came via Nick Fitzgerald, Anthony Caceres, John Hutchinson, Matt Sim, Glen Trifiro and Zac Anderson.
Fitzgerald hit the roof of the net with his effort, while Caceres slightly mistimed a chance on the volley.
Hutchinson was just beaten to the ball when one-on-one with Ante Covic, while Sim forced the Wanderers’ custodian into a solid save.
Trifiro also forced Covic into a stop following strong play by Isaka Cernak, while Anderson went within whiskers of getting his head to a great Trifiro free kick with the clock winding down.
Nevertheless, Wanderers also had sound opportunities to score in the game, only to be denied by some dedicated Mariners defending, and/or the outstretched mitt of Liam Reddy.
Reddy made big saves off Tomi Juric and Mark Bridge, while Josh Rose threw his body in the way of a goal bound effort in the first 45.
Juric had a late chance to score what undoubtedly would have proven to be the game’s only goal, only to swing and miss the ball following Romero Castelen’s cutback.
So it ended all square at Parramatta – next up for Central Coast Mariners is Adelaide United at home in Hyundai A-League round 7 on Sunday. Kick-off 5:00pm.
Western Sydney Wanderers 0
Central Coast Mariners 0
Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Central Coast Mariners FC: 3. Josh ROSE, 4. Jacob POSCOLIERO (25. Eddy BOSNAR 88’), 5. Zachary ANDERSON, 7. John HUTCHINSON (C) (18. Glen TRIFIRO 78’), 8. Nick MONTGOMERY, 9. Mitchell DUKE, 10. Anthony CACERES, 11. Nick FITZGERALD, 12. Liam REDDY (Gk), 15. Matt SIM (23. Isaka CERNAK 73’), 21. Michael NEILL
Substitutes not used: 1. Matt NASH (Gk), 17. Richard VERNES
Yellow cards: Rose
Red cards: Nil
Western Sydney Wanderers FC: 1. Ante COVIC (Gk), 2. Shannon COLE, 5. Brendan HAMILL, 8. Mateo POLJAK, 9. Tomi JURIC, 10. Vitor SABA (7. Labinot HALITI 84’), 12. Nikita RUKAVYTSYA (19. Mark BRIDGE 66’), 13. Matthew SPIRANOVIC (C), 17. Romeo CASTELEN, 18. Iacopo LA ROCCA, 22. Seyi ADELEKE
Substitutes not used: 20. Dean BOUZANIS (Gk), 32. Daniel ALESSI, 35. Kearyn BACCUS
Yellow cards: Poljak
Red cards: Nil