Western United will take to the Mars Stadium pitch once again this weekend to face Central Coast Mariners in another crucial fixture in the Isuzu UTE A-League Men.
Western United vs Central Coast Mariners
Saturday, 2 April
Kick-off: 2:05pm AEDT
Mars Stadium, Ballarat
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live on Paramount+
Western United: WDLDW
Central Coast Mariners: WDDWW
Western United got back on the winner’s list last weekend after three games off it, claiming a thrilling 3-2 win over Brisbane Roar.
That win followed draws against Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory either side of a defeat to Sydney FC, and it ensures that the Green and Black remains in control of its own destiny at the top of the table.
Central Coast have blossomed into one of the most in-form sides in the entire competition with a run of five straight matches without defeat.
That run includes three wins, two of which have come in the Mariners’ last two games against finals challengers Macarthur FC and Adelaide United.
United will have a stern test on its hands in the form of Nick Montgomery’s side, which should make for a fantastic spectacle at Mars Stadium.
As with many of Western United’s head-to-head records, the side’s meetings with Central Coast have so far been split evenly.
The Mariners took the first meeting with a 1-0 win before United poured in nine goals across the next two matches, winning 3-0 and 6-2.
Central Coast then stole a 3-2 comeback win in February last year before the final two meetings of last season were split, leaving both sides on three wins each against the other.
Nikolai Topor-Stanley is set to start again at the heart of the defence and will break the all-time record for most appearances in the A-Leagues, surpassing Andrew Durante with game number 359.
John Aloisi said Alessandro Diamanti could still be a couple of weeks away and Josh Risdon will also be out, but United will welcome back Neil Kilkenny into the midfield.
What John Aloisi is saying
On Nikolai Topor-Stanley’s milestone moment
“It’s an amazing feat. It’s not only because he’s such a great player and a talented defender, it also shows the professionalism and the way he’s gone about his career. The amount of games he’s been able to play is incredible, and I still think that he’ll get to 400.
“Watching him train and move and play, he hasn’t missed a beat for us. He’s a great person to have around the club, he’s great with the younger players because he shows them what it takes and what it’s like to be a professional and how he’s been able to prolong his career, and also he’s just always positive and he loves the game.”
On the threat of Jason Cummings and Marcos Urena up front for Central Coast
“They’re very good going forward. They make good runs in behind – we’ve shown the players that, we’ve worked on our defensive structures this week as well as our attacking.
“They work really well together, they’re hard working. The players understand their movements and understand what they’re going to come up against.
“Then it’s up to us to try and limit them as much as possible, but also with the ball to make them run as much as possible so they don’t run as much when they get the ball.”