ALM Match Preview: Western United vs Central Coast Mariners

Ben Garuccio Western United

Western United heads back to Ballarat for the final time in the 2022/23 season, taking on Central Coast Mariners in a huge Isuzu UTE A-League Men clash.

Match Details

Isuzu UTE A-League Men Round 23

Western United vs Central Coast Mariners

Friday, 7 April

Kick-off: 3:00pm AEST

Mars Stadium, Ballarat

Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live on Paramount+

Team News

Josh Risdon will give John Aloisi a boost ahead of this fixture, making his return from suspension after sitting out last week’s clash against Sydney FC.

Western United Academy star Matthew Grimaldi is included in the extended squad for the first time and will be pushing for a potential debut, while Ramy Najjarine will be managed as he continues to work his way to full fitness after a groin injury.

Western United squad: 1. Jamie YOUNG (gk), 4. Leo LACROIX, 5. Dylan PIERIAS, 6. Tomoki IMAI, 7. Tongo DOUMBIA, 8. Lachie WALES, 9. Michael RUHS, 10. Steven LUSTICA, 11. Connor PAIN, 17. Ben GARUCCIO, 19. Josh RISDON, 21. Sebastian PASQUALI, 23. Alessandro DIAMANTI (c), 27. Jacob TRATT, 31. Adisu BAYEW, 37. Ryan SCOTT (gk) 38. Noah BOTIC, 39. Matthew GRIMALDI, 44. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 99. Aleksandar PRIJOVIC

Full Western United squad

Last time out

Western United played out a thrilling 3-3 draw against Sydney FC last time out with three goals in each half at Allianz Stadium.

READ MORE: ALM Match Report: Sydney FC 3-3 Western United

Connor Pain shone in the first half with a goal and an assist while Lachie Wales also got on the scoresheet, but Sydney were able to take a point late on.

Previous Meetings

Central Coast have been something of a bogey team for Western United in recent meetings, with the Green and Black winless in the last four matches against the Mariners.

Prior to that, United had won three of the first five meetings between the two sides and John Aloisi will be hoping to recover that form on Friday.

Key Matchup: Jamie Young vs Jason Cummings

Jamie Young submitted another entry into his catalogue of outstanding performances last week, and the Western United goalkeeper will need to be at his sharpest yet again in the face of one of the competition’s deadliest strikers.

Jason Cummings is on a run of eight goals in his last nine matches, taking him up to 15 for the season and just three behind Jamie Maclaren in the golden boot race.

United will be well aware of Cummings’ quality with the Mariners No.9 having scored three goals in the last three meetings between the two sides.

Young saved a late penalty from Cummings at Mars Stadium last season and the No.1 will hope for similar heroics in order to help United secure a big win.

Player to Watch: Lachie Wales

Wales has been on fire in Ballarat recently with a goal and two assists in his last three appearances for United at Mars Stadium.

Fresh from his fourth goal of the season last weekend against Sydney FC, Wales will be out to continue building momentum towards the end of the season with Finals football on the line for the Green and Black.

Playing against his former side, Wales will be one to watch as he and his teammates go in search of an important result.

Words from John Aloisi

On what he is taking from the 3-3 draw against Sydney

“There were definitely a lot of positives. I thought the tema played very well against a team that were going to come at us at home.

“To create that many goals away from home, that’s a massive positive. We looked dangerous every time we went forward but the boys will come away from that with confidence.”

On the challenge of four big matches to close the season

“We love the challenge, I love the challenge. I believe we’ve got a team good enough to beat any side in this league, it doesn’t matter where they are on the table.

“We know that every game will be hard, every opposition that we’re facing is playing for something. It’s going to be tight, it’s going to be exciting and we can’t wait for that challenge.”

Words from the playing squad – Nikolai Topor-Stanley

On the continued determination of the squad heading into the end of the season

“One of the real strong points of this group, not just the playing group but coaching staff as well, is our resilience this year.”

“Even in the face of poor performances and results not going our way, we’ve stuck to our gameplan and we’ve stuck together as a team. I’ve played in teams where it hasn’t gone that well and cracks have started to appear immediately. I’m proud to say that this group has stuck together.”

On the support the players feel in Ballarat

“It’s great. The few times we’ve been there there’s been plenty of local kids turn up, show their passion and show their support. Seeing them after the game asking for signatures is great.

“It’s what we play for, we want to see young kids getting involved with football and following our team. We’re really looking forward to seeing their faces again and hopefully we can give them a win.”