Will the Sky Blues’ incredible unbeaten run roll on in 2017? Or will the reinvigorated Mariners, fresh from surprising Melbourne City on New Year's Eve, cause a huge upset in Gosford this Sunday?
Sunday, 8 January 2017
Central Coast Mariners v Sydney FC
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Kick-Off: 5:00PM (Local) (5:00PM (AEDT))
Referee: Chris Beath
Assistant Referee 1: Andrej Giev
Assistant Referee 2: Greg Taylor
Fourth Official: Kris Griffiths-Jones
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 4.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: 92.5 ABC Central Coast, 702 ABC Sydney, ABC Local Radio NSW, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live, Coast FM 96.3
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #CCMvSYD
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au
Central Coast Mariners Squad: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 5.Harry ASCROFT, 6.Blake POWELL, 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 10.Mickael TAVARES, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 13.Kwabena APPIAH, 14.Adam BERRY, 16.Liam ROSE, 17.Josh BINGHAM, 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 21.Michael NEILL, 22.Jake McGING
Ins: 2.Storm ROUX (return from injury), 16.Liam ROSE (promoted), 17.Josh BINGHAM (promoted)
Outs: 19.Jacques FATY (hamstring – 1 week)
Unavailable: 23.Jake ADELSON (ACL – indefinite)
Sydney FC Squad: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 4.Alex WILKINSON, 6.Josh BRILLANTE, 7.Michael ZULLO, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.BOBÔ, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 11.Bernie IBINI, 13.Brandon O’NEILL, 17.David CARNEY, 18.Matt SIMON, 19.George BLACKWOOD, 20.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 21.Filip HOLOSKO, 22.Sebastian RYALL, 23.Rhyan GRANT, 24.Charles LOKOLINGOY, 25. Patrick FLOTTMAN.
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (new signing), 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC (promoted), 19.George BLACKWOOD (promoted), 24.Charles LOKOLINGOY (promoted), 25. Patrick FLOTTMAN (promoted).
Outs: 5.Matt JURMAN (transferred overseas), 14.Alex BROSQUE (c) (suspended – 1 week), 31.Tomas MANOS (return to NYL)
There’s no bigger test than facing the Sky Blues juggernaut at the moment but the Mariners will really have nothing to lose when they host the league leaders to complete Round 14.
Recent history between the two sides suggests Central Coast stand little chance of gazumping their former coach, with Sydney FC undefeated in the last seven meetings and scoring ten goals across their last three excursions to Gosford.
Instead, Paul Okon’s side will prefer to look to their second half showing against City on New Year’s Eve, where they were minutes away from completing a remarkable comeback win.
They used their speed on the flanks to great effect, exposing City on the break and coming up with a couple of classy finishes – something they’ve failed to produce on a consistent basis this season.
Graham Arnold will no doubt have taken note and while Sydney FC deposed of title rivals Roar in commanding fashion last Friday night, a plucky Mariners side will be a different type of proposition.
After a busy festive schedule both sides will benefit from over a week’s rest – something the Sky Blues will be especially grateful for after they had to play the last half hour at Allianz Stadium with ten men.
Their skipper Alex Brosque will miss the match due to a subsequent suspension, while Seb Ryall seems the obvious candidate to replace the departed Matt Jurman in central defence after his move to the K-League this week.
The home side will also be forced into a backline reshuffle with Jacques Faty failing a fitness test on his injured hamstring, however the return of New Zealand international Storm Roux is a big inclusion.
The Mariners will wear a specially designed pink strip in support of breast cancer for this clash with the kits to be auctioned post-match and profits going to Cancer Council NSW.
- Sydney FC are undefeated in their last seven games against Central Coast Mariners, scoring 4+ goals in four games across that span.
- Roy O’Donovan has scored three goals in his last four games on home soil, including one in each of his last two.
- Sydney FC are undefeated in their last seven games away from home (W6, D1), having conceded only two goals in that span while scoring 18 of their own.
- Central Coast Mariners have conceded just 23 yellow cards this season, the fewest of any team and nine fewer than Sydney FC.
ROUTE TO GOAL
The Sky Blues have scored an incredible eight goals from their last two away matches but with Victory now breathing down their neck in the title race they know they can ill afford a slip up in Gosford.
Bobo had his best game in a Sky Blues jumper last time out, setting up both goals in the win over Brisbane, but his strike partner Brosque will be suspended.
That said Sydney FC have form players right across the park, with Milos Ninkovic receiving plenty of plaudits and Michael Zullo and Rhyan Grant causing havoc down the flanks.
Arnie may look to use this clash to get some substantial minutes into Bernie Ibini, while Matt Simon is another former Mariner who would undoubtedly relish another crack on the coast.
The rise of Trent Buhagiar is definitely something Mariners fans can look forward to in 2017, with the 18-year-old netting in back-to-back matches.
However the fact that this makes him only the second multiple goal scorer behind talisman Roy O’Donovan encapsulates the goal scoring troubles Central Coast have had this season.
O’Donovan himself has scored in back-to-back matches at Gosford so if the home side can give their Irishman the supply he craves his physicality in the box will definitely test the Sky Blues.
Kwabena Appiah was lively down his wing after he was handed a rare start against City and with Connor Pain and Fabio Ferreira fresh after being rested from the starting XI on NYE, Paul Okon certainly has some options in attack.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Andrew Redmayne. The 27-year-old shot-stopper signed an 18 month deal with Sydney FC this week. He’ll reunite with goalkeeper coach John Crawley and deputise for Danny Vukovic, with the trio having previously worked together when they were all on the books of the Mariners.
Central Coast Mariners: LLLLD
Sydney FC: WDWWW
Central Coast Mariners 1-4 Sydney FC