A matchup between two chasing teams in the Hyundai A-League will take place on New Year’s Eve when Tony Walmsley‘s Central Coast Mariners host Ernie Merrick‘s Wellington Phoenix at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford, New South Wales, Australia.
Central Coast are at the bottom of the ladder at 1-2-9 (5 points) while Wellington are 4-3-5 (15 points), good enough for sixth. Last weekend, the Mariners were smashed by Sydney FC 4-1, while the Phoenix were shut out by the resurgence of Adelaide United 3-0 on the road.
“We’ve been given a great opportunity by our owner to expose young players to the demands of the A-League, 5 or 6 rounds in we were really happy with how these guys were going and of course the belief [of the players] starts to go a little bit because the results aren’t going our way,” said Walmsley of last weekend’s efforts. “You need to wait for that moment to galvanise the group. It will come, it will come when we can convert the 1-0 into a 2-0 win and that’s when this team will start to grow in belief.
“There are a lot of learnings that come from that and I’m really happy with the progress of our younger players. The way we go is to keep putting them out there, they have to adapt quickly because the game doesn’t discriminate and the more exposure, the quicker they will get there.
“[developing players] That’s the challenge I’ve accepted, that’s the one I relish. It’s a great opportunity. Resilience is key in this and we want the players to develop that and soon enough and at some point these young players won’t be young anymore, they will be leaders and they will be delivering performances.
“I believe that we can go out at home against Wellington on New Year’s Eve and get a result and go from there, it won’t be easy but that’s the challenge that’s in front of us next and we will tackle it head on.”
Kickoff is scheduled for midnight PT/3 a.m. ET/7 p.m. AEDT. Here’s what we think will happen between Central Coast Mariners and Wellington Phoenix on New Year’s Eve.
- At least 30 fouls will be whistled.
- Under six cards will be issued.
- Glen Moss will have under five saves.
- Tom Heward-Belle will have under four saves.
- No goals will be scored in the first 10 minutes.
- No goals will be scored in stoppage time.
- Roy Krishna will score for Wellington Phoenix.
- Roly Bonevacia will score for Wellington Phoenix.
- Central Coast Mariners will not score in this game.
- Under 10,000 will be in attendance.
All in all, this will be a straightforward win for Wellington Phoenix as they continue their pursuit of the top teams in the A-League. As for Central Coast, some changes to the coaching staff could be in the offing.
Wellington Phoenix 2, Central Coast Mariners 0
Editor’s note: Central Coast Mariners upset Wellington Phoenix 3-1