A second win in three days has pushed the Central Coast Mariners to the top of the table after a clinical 2-0 win away against Macarthur FC.
While the end result of 2-0 didn’t reflect the tightness of the 95 minute game, the Mariners have booked the three competition points and now sit atop the A-League ladder on 6 points with a 3-0 goal differential.
Despite maintaining a dominant control over possession throughout the game, Macarthur found limited opportunities to test Mariner’s goalkeeper, Birighitti, who earned himself another clean sheet.
The Mariners, on the other hand, were able to take advantage of their limited time on the ball and showed themselves to be an effective counter-attacking side, splitting open the Macarthur defence several times in each half.
The first 30 minutes went by without either team finding space in front of goal, but that all changed in the 35th minute when the Mariners Danny De Silva latched on to a cross from Josh Nisbet after Nisbet had chased down a pacey through-ball by Nigro.
De Silva punched the ball up into the top-right corner for a 1-0 lead
The second half started with a surge in intensity from Macarthur that asked more questions of the Mariners defence.
Tensions continued to rise as Macarthur kept pushing the focus of the game further up the pitch.
The Mariners were forced to match the intensity of their hosts, and in doing so gave away a number of fouls that Macarthur will be disappointed they didn’t capitalise on.
After a number of chances gone begging from Macarthur, another counter-attacking opportunity in the 89th minute was capitalised on by Jordan Smylie, on the end of a cross by 22 year old A-League debut Daniel Bouman running on to a forward lob down the right hand side by Lewis Miller.
Bouman edged forward, forcing Macarthur goalkeeper, Federici, to commit before sweeping it across to Smylie in front of an empty goal.
It is unfamiliar territory for the Mariners after a crushing wooden spoon year in 2020.
The once-mighty blue and yellow have not won back-to-back games since December 2017.
Although it is early in the season, their first two matches will give the young team a lot of confidence as they prepare for the next match against Western Sydney Wanderers at Central Coast Stadium on January 19.