A comfortable 2-0 win with goals from Tarek Elrich and Jaushua Sotirio for the Western Sydney Wanderers has condemned the Central Coast Mariners to a nearly inevitable wooden spoon, and seen the Wanderers head back up the A-League ladder after their clash at Homebush tonight.
Oriol Riera 15 minutes in had a free header inside the penalty area that he nodded down strongly, Mariners keeper Ben Kennedy going down smartly to save on his left. That header became the best chance of the half for either team until the opening goal. There was precious little goal mouth action, neither side showing any major amount of intensity, class on the ball was non-existent, the Mariners couldn't convert their corners and the Wanderers attackers weren't putting in good runs.
Despite the lack of quality & intensity, the Wanderers broke the deadlock as stoppage time began. Tarek Elrich took a throw in 35 yards from goal on the left sideline, was given the ball back by Kamau then took a touch before launching a speculative cross deep into the 6 yard box, neither Riera or Sotirio could get on the end of the ball, both Mariners central defenders were taken out of the play by the attacking runs, and Ben Kennedy could only watch as the ball bounced off the far post and nestled into the back of the net.
The teams trotted off for half-time seemingly nonplussed by the scoreline, the home fans mild cheers reverberated softly around the ground. If ever a dismal game deserved a dismal goal, this was it.
Matthew Millar had a good chance in the 55th minute, a failure to clear the ball by Vedran Janjetovic results in Connor Pain getting the ball in the penalty area, he chipped the ball over the top for Millar, but his jumping strike bounced off the turf and was palmed away by Janjetovic.
The Wanderers took a death grip on the game after the second drinks break in the 75th minute, the play resumed and Western Sydney were on the attack, Roly Bonevacia striding down the left flank, cutting in toward the middle then piercing the Mariners defensive line with a perfect through ball. Jaushua Sotirio, the clear man of the match for the evening cemented his good game by bursting onto the ball and passing it around the onrushing Kennedy into the side netting for a 2-0 lead.
That second goal broke the spirt of the Mariners, the game petered to it's conclusion, and the main talking point for the Wanderers will be a groin injury suffered early on by Kwame Yeboah. The Mariners were awful as per usual this season, and the home side will need to lift their quality if they are going to win more games before the season is over. Western Sydney head to Adelaide for their match on Saturday night.