Wellington Phoenix Dominate Central Coast in Thrilling Home Win

The Wellington Phoenix have extended their incredible unbeaten streak to eight games with a thrilling 2-1 win against visiting Central Coast Mariners.

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The Wellington Phoenix have extended their incredible unbeaten streak to eight games with a thrilling 2-1 win against visiting Central Coast Mariners.

The Phoenix showcased their offensive firepower in the first half, with multiple attacking runs, crisp passing and good decision-making that electrified the home crowd. On the defensive side they relied on the goalkeeping brilliance of Stefan Marinovic, who made a string of highlight-reel saves to stave off the Mariner’s counterattacks in the second half.

The match – the first at the newly branded Sky Stadium – began with a moment’s applause in tribute to the heroic efforts of fire fighters, emergency service personnel and volunteers responding to the bushfire devastation around Australia.

The match opened with Central Coast on the attack early, with two attempts at goal in the first three minutes; the first straight into Phoenix goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic’s hands and the second hitting the crossbar.

Gary Hooper, making his second start of the season, had a chance at goal a few minutes later but couldn’t convert from inside the box. He would make up for it shortly after however, taking a superb pass from Tim Payne to bang home a beauty into the back of the net – putting the Phoenix up 1-0 and giving Hooper his second goal of the season.

The goal scoring continued for the Phoenix, with David Ball slotting home a stunning goal – over both the outstretched arms of Mark Birighitti and through a leaping Ulises Davila – putting the home side up 2-0 on the 29th minute mark. Ball had two more chances to add to his scoring tally before half-time, with both going wide of the goal.

Ball Celebration Article.jpg
David Ball Slotted In His Second Of The Season In A Performance Of The Season So Far

Then just before half-time, a goal was awarded to Central Coast after a corner floated into the 6-yard box; skimming off Luke DeVere’s head and past Marinovic – cutting the deficit to 2-1 in favour of the Phoenix.

The half ended with the Phoenix up 2-1 and thoroughly dominating play, thanks to the solid play of Ball, Marinovic and Cameron Devlin as well as the scoring prowess of Hooper.

The second half begin on a sour note, with David Ball pulling up lame and subbing off for Jaushua Sotirio. The loss of Ball had a noticeable impact on Wellington’s attacking prowess, showing just how vital he is to the Phoenix.

Both sides traded shots at goal with no success – the most promising a curling Davila attempt after aggressively running at the defence. Birighitti managed to catch this one, along with another attempt – this time by Liberato Cacace – barely a minute later.

Meanwhile De Silva had a decent chance at goal at 82 minutes that sailed wide of the goal. Newly-extended Steven Taylor was also a strong defensive presence in the Mariners’ box, using his smarts to disrupt a pair of Central Coast opportunities.

Davila had another chance at 87 minutes after a classic run by Cacace, but the Mariners made a goal-saving tackle to keep the score at 2-1 at full-time. The win secures a vital three points for the Phoenix and moves them up to fourth place w 18 points.

The Wellington Phoenix stay at home next round, taking on Western Sydney Wanderers – who they beat 2-1 at Eden Park earlier in the season – at Sky Stadium on 11th January at the family-friendly time of 4.45pm. In addition to this being Wellington’s chance to equal a club record for unbeaten games in a row, it will also be the Phoenix’s 150th match at Sky Stadium.

Watch the Match Highlights.

 

Wellington Phoenix Starting XI

1. Stefan MARINOVIC (gk), 3. Luke DEVERE, 5. Matti STEINMANN, 6. Tim Payne, 8. Cameron DEVLIN, 9. David BALL, 10. Ulises DAVILA, 13. Liberato CACACE, 21. Callum McCowatt, 27. Steven TAYLOR (c), 88. Gary HOOPER

 

Central Coast Mariners Starting XI

1. Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 2. Ian Zygmunt GORDON, 3. Jack CLISBY, 4. Eunsun KIM, 6. Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO, 10. Tommy OAR, 11. Daniel DESILVA, 15. Kye ROWLES, 18. Gianni STENSNESS, 27. Lewis MILLER, 29. Jair BRITTO

 

Wellington Phoenix Substitutes

53’ ON 11. Jaushua SOTIRIO                                         OFF 9. David BALL

63’ ON 31. Ben WAINE                                                  OFF 88. Gary HOOPER

68’ ON 4. Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI         OFF. 21. Callum MCCOWATT

 

Central Coast Mariners Substitutions

54’ ON 17. Samuel SILVERA                               OFF 15. Kye ROWLES

63’ ON 9. Jordan MURRAY                                 OFF 29. Daniel DESILVA

81’ ON 19. Matthew SIMON                              OFF 6. Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO

 

Goals

13’ Gary HOOPER (Wellington Phoenix)

29’ David BALL (Wellington Phoenix)

45+1’ (OG) Luke DeVere (Wellington Phoenix)

 

Next Match Details

Round 14 – Wellington Phoenix versus Western Sydney Wanderers at Sky Stadium, Wellington; Saturday 11th January 2020, 4.45pm NZT