ALM Match Report: Western United 0-2 Central Coast Mariners

Angus Thurgate Western United A-League Men

Western United couldn’t repeat the heroics of the previous week at the Regional Football Facility, Tarneit, falling 2-0 to Central Coast Mariners in the Isuzu UTE A-League Men on Saturday.

The Mariners took control in the second half, scoring at its beginning and its end to claim all three points.

Western United had positive spells with chances to stay in the game, but it wasn’t to be in front of another strong home crowd in Tarneit.

Western United Team News

John Aloisi was forced into two changes to his starting XI as Khoder Kaddour returned to the starting line-up at right back in place of the suspended Josh Risdon.

Fresh from signing a new contract with the Club during the week, Matthew Grimaldi also came back into the starting line-up as Daniel Penha missed out with groin tightness.

Nikita Rukavytsya was ruled out with a quad injury, so Western United Academy products Luke Vickery and Jake Najdovski were elevated onto the bench.

First Half

Both sides sought to get on the ball early and wrestle the momentum at the beginning of the game, trading spells of possession and forays forward.

None of that really translated into meaningful chances at either end though with both goalkeepers remaining largely untroubled.

Michael Ruhs had a shot charged down in the box as United looked lively in possession, but the final bit of incision in the final third was missing.

The closest Central Coast came in the opening stanza was when Josh Nisbet stole a march on James Donachie on the counter-attack. Donachie recovered well, but Nisbet still managed to fire off a shot that skidded just past the left-hand post.

United’s best opening came from a sweeping move from left to right which brought the ball to the feet of Kaddour at the top of the box. The youngster’s cross-cum-shot was deflected and looped menacingly towards the target before bouncing just wide.

Second Half

After what was a reasonably uneventful first half, each team looked to bring further impetus after the break and the Mariners did so with great effect.

After a giveaway from United at the top of the box, Nisbet pounced on the ball and set up Max Balard who finished into the bottom corner.

The Green and Black sought an immediate response and got forward at the other end with a big penalty shout as the ball appeared to strike Balard’s arm, but a lengthy VAR review saw no intervention.

Aloisi’s men had their biggest chance to equalise just after the hour mark when Grimaldi released Lachie Wales down the right wing.

Wales’ early ball was struck perfectly into Riku Danzaki’s path, but the Japanese winger couldn’t find the bottom corner as his effort trickled wide.

That was unfortunately United’s last major opportunity in the game as Angel Torres soon struck the crossbar before Christian Theoharous confirmed the result with a superb hit from long range.