Storm Roux and Liam Reddy combined to keep Wellington Phoenix winless on the season in the first A-League game played at North Sydney Oval. Central Coast Mariners hosted a rescheduled game from mid-November drawing 6755 at the historic cricket ground in Sydney's northern suburbs. Roux scored a first half goal and Reddy rebounded from a rough performance last weekend to save a Stein Huysegms penalty and keep a clean sheet.
The Mariners, who lost 4-0 at Adelaide United over the weekend, needed to bounce back with their game in hand to keep a firm hold on a finals position. While Phil Moss' group did not have their sharpest game, it was good enough for three points and a move back up to fourth place. Meanwhile, even with embittered Carlos Hernandez leaving Australia before the match, the Phoenix produced enough to have warranted at least a draw. Huysegms' penalty was the obvious missed chance but Reddy was in fine form and Jeremy Brockie missed another great opportunity for Wellington.
Much hyped due to the ongoing, public discussion about Central Coast's future in Gosford, the match at North Sydney Oval was a nice success for the Mariners' brass. The club doubled the attendance necessary to break even on the night and the pitch was acceptable enough to prevent it from being a major storyline. The Mariners will surely try to play another game or two in North Sydney next season, but it's also fair to say that the game against Wellington is not going to lead to relocation.
Making up a game puts every club in the A-League back on level terms but also creates a very short turnaround for both Central Coast and Wellington. The Phoenix will host shorthanded Sydney FC at Westpac Stadium on Sunday. The Mariners go to Sydney's western suburbs for a tough game at Western Sydney Wanderers on Monday night.
CCM: Roux 27'
Central Coast Mariners: Reddy; Rose, Seip, Sainsbury, Roux; Hutchinson (Caceras 92'), Montgomery; Sterjovski (Duke 65'), Flores (Simon 76'), Fitzgerald; McBreen
Unused subs: Pasfield, Morton
Wellington Phoenix: Moss; Muscat, Durante, Sigmund, Fenton; Cunningham (Boyd 74'), Riera, Lia; Huysegms, Hicks (Ifill 63'), Brockie
Unused subs: Bertos,, Italiano, Ridenton