A game for the ages, but not for all the right reasons…
Sheer elation for the Wellington Phoenix, dire defeat for the Central Coast Mariners. For all of the Mariners’ excellent effort in the first half, it proved to be a red card that changed the game completely for Mike Mulvey’s side.
The Mariners immediately demonstrated a passion that has been missing for much of the season. But again they surrendered a lead, going ahead originally through Matt Simon’s clinical penalty and then Andrew Hoole’s well taken finish.
They were brought down a peg as a result of a red card earned by Kye Rowles, within 30 seconds of the second half’s start. Central Coast lessened their intensity as the half came to a close, subsequently losing their attacking prowess - Connor Pain had little to work with following Rowles’ red.
In contrast to showings throughout the season, this Mariners did not give up though, having a late equaliser through Jordan Murray ruled out for offside.
Mandi’s absence for the Phoenix appeared to be a larger loss than it did on Tuesday against the Wanderers, but in the end the Phoenix’s attacking prowess was left less required by the Mariners’ defensive weaknesses.
A fantastic Wellington crowd would have been delighted with their side’s showing, shown especially as a streaker entered the field in the 69th minute with plenty of time to give his side the recognition they well and truly deserved.
It is unknown at this time what became of him.
Filip Kurto — 6
Definitely had to do better against Andrew Hoole’s low drive, but the Pole did subsequently deal with Pain’s unexpectedly strong hit at his near post.
Had little to contend with in the second half (beyond an effort from Connor Pain just outside the box) and therefore had little air time to perform his theatrics.
Steven Taylor — 6.5
Finally met his first real individual match in the form of the equally cheeky Matt Simon. Poorly handled the aforementioned Wizard of Woy Woy in the box, leading to the game’s opener.
As with the theme of the game, the Geordie excelled as his side did.
Andrew Durante — 6
Had a mediocre showing on his 300th appearance, but was strong aerially in challenging Matt Simon.
Tom Doyle — 7
Possibly could have prevented Hoole’s goal had Kurto not got a hand to it. Broke forward often to create something for his side with mixed results.