March 09, 2015 09:17:02 UK
New interim coach Tony Walmsley saw Central Coast Mariners maintain their slim finals hopes with a 1-0 win at home to Melbourne City.
City boss John van ‘t Schip had warned his side to be wary of the new coach factor for the Mariners, who put Walmsley in temporary command after axing Phil Moss two days before the game.
And the match followed that script, with the Mariners chalking up just their fourth win of the campaign courtesy of Fabio Ferreira’s second-half strike.
The home side won a free-kick on the edge of the box and appeared ready to lay the ball off for Eddy Bosnar to strike. Instead they went the other way and Ferreira’s shot went through the wall – midfielder Aaron Mooy having pulled away from his teammates – to flash past Tando Velaphi.
It maintained the Mariners’ bragging rights over City, the Gosford club now being unbeaten in the past nine meetings.
The visitors, who are 2.25 to finish in the top six, made it four away games without a goal as they squandered their best chance late in the second half when substitute Iain Ramsay was denied by a point-blank save from Liam Reddy.
Nick Fitzgerald should have broken the deadlock for Central Coast early in the second half but sent his close-range header straight at Velaphi.
It was a memorable day for Mariners skipper John Hutchinson, who equalled the A-League’s appearance record in his 221st match.
Hutchinson was able to play an even bigger role than usual after being upgraded to player-assistant coach on Friday as part of the club’s restructure.
The result leaves his side six points outside the Finals Series places, having played two games more than sixth-placed Brisbane Roar.
Central Coast are 6.00 to win their next game against Adelaide United, who are 1.53 with the draw 4.00.
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