Wellington Phoenix travelled to Gosford to take on Central Coast Mariners for their 19th match of the A-League season. The New Zealand-based side did not have major issues to beat the Mariners and continue their good form in the league so far – it was their third victory in a row.
Phoenix had the most of the possession in the early minutes, but could not create goalscoring chances. But, when Ulises Dávila found Libby Cacace free in the box, the first finish of the afternoon for the Nix was directly to the nets of Mariners to open the scoreline for the visitors at the 18th minute of play. Cacace scored his 4th goal for the Phoenix in his 50th appearance for the club. 19-years-old full of talent!
Mariners created some trouble for the defensive system led by the captain Steven Taylor, but it was to be Phoenix the team to score again: a fantastic assist of Reno Piscopo found Gary Hooper free, he takes the ball and with a class finish scores his 5th of the season – the second in the clash for the New Zealand side.
Phoenix led at half time by 2-0. The advatange was solid and the good performance of the coached by Ufuk Talay seemed to be enough for their third straight win. Mariners started the second half on top, pressing the defense and hunting an opportunity to cut the deficit.
But again it was not to be for the home side: the Jaushua Sotirio that subbed Reno Piscopo received a fantastic ball from the also substitute Alex Rufer; the speedster made no mistake in front of the goalkeeper to score the third for the Nix.
Phoenix was close to get their third clean sheet in a row, but a powerful strike from the Brazilian forward Jair did not allow Stefan Marinovic to reach this mark. The finish was too strong for the Kiwi custodian to stop it and Central Coast reduced the margin to two – but it was only a consolation goal, the final result was a victory for the Nix by 3-1.
As Perth Glory lost at home against Melbourne City, Phoenix lost their 2nd place in the ladder despite their convicing win over Central Coast Mariners. Phoenix stands now 3rd in the run, three points above the fourth placed side Perth Glory and three points behind the 2nd in the process Melbourne City.
Phoenix will be back to Wellington in their next fixture, when they take on Melbourne Victory at Sky Stadium next Sunday (15/03).