woodwork denies wolves as Central coast push home

HEADER IMAGE CREDIT: Pedro Garcia Photography

With three Central Coast Mariners (and former Wolvers players) in Corey Gameiro, Jordan Murray and Joshua Macdonald on media duties at WIN Stadium together with the Wolves stalwart, Chris Price on the Thursday morning prior, the stage was perfectly set up for Friday night’s friendly fixture. All the aforementioned players were keen for the game and the Mariners players talked about the Wolves’ role in their now new A-League professional career with the club.  Besides these players, two others of the game day team have also had ties with the Gosford club. Goalkeeper Justin Pasfield was the custodian from 2001 to 2014 and Brendan Griffin was in the youth team in 2010.

Before an official crowd of 2,691 under cloudy skies with wind blowing down the pitch, and with the rain keeping away, the Wolves surprised by scoring the initial goal. The Mariners then clicked into gear and scored two in a four-minute period late in the first half adding a third in the second half.       


The Wolves went into this game with a combination of 2018 NPL players, Under 20s, new recruits plus a couple of trialists and the Central Coast Mariners are still in pre-season and working up for the A-League opener.


The Wolves kicked off, running towards the southern stand and before too long, Mariner Tommy Oar began a quick attacking raid. Ultimately, a Matt Simon pass went to Jack Clisby, with his ensuing shot zooming straight into the arms of a grateful Wolves’ custodian, Justin Pasfield. The Mariners produced another shot on target from former Aston Villa and Melbourne City striker Ross McCormack but at this did bring forth any joy.


The Wolves’ Thomas James, a striker from the Canberra City club, intervened before Clisby could get the ball. Subsequently James showed a turn of foot down the right side to ultimately win a free kick after being tackled. Nick Littler, back at his original haunt following a number of years with near neighbours Sutherland Sharks, took a free kick, floating it just outside the far post. A short time, later The Wolves’ Okada Takeru burst into the penalty area but could not make his enterprise count.


Play was held up for a time following Ben Tosi, (a club returnee) and Jacob Melling colliding with both players going down and needing assistance. However, after scant time both players were restored to their on-field positions to maintain their influence for their respective teams.


The Mariners were beginning to settle into their rhythm and their quick passing was beginning to set up more probing raids. The Wolves’ defence at the far post headed a Clisby corner kick out before Connor Pain floated ball was also headed away. Another cross by Pain was over hit from inside the box to the left of goal, only for the ball to go for throw in on the far side. 


Four minutes later, Madden skipped through the defensive line, showing deft touch and control to finally project the ball into the goal to give his team the lead and suddenly the Mariners were in arrears.


Takeru with a driving shot on twenty-six minutes and looking to add number two, rattled the post to keep the Mariners on their toes and Griffin endeavoured to thread the ball through an opening only for the Mariners classy central defender, Khalifa Cisse to intercept perceptibly. Takeru intercepted a McCormack pass and immediately burst forward at speed to outstrip the defence. A Madden shot from the right followed and he again produced another a short time later, but the did not add to his tally.


Clisby passed the ball to Pain. However, his cross was a little too high but James Markovic headed away for another corner kick. Jordan Nikolovski made a ground breaking run up field but his enterprise did bring up the desired return.


Five minutes before the half time break, Central Coast deservedly restored parity. Pain had made a marauding rundown the left side before moving it on to Michael McGlinchey in his second stint with the club. He delivered the ball past Pasfield into the goal. At the other end, a Markovac corner a kick was cleared and later James pushed the ball to Takeru and then onto Griffin. In the subsequent action James received the ball on the run eluding Cisse on the way, before letting fly with a stinging shot that cannoned into the post, centimetres away from regaining the lead.


Fortunes can swing in quick time and so the Mariners added their second, four minutes after the teams initial goal. A Ross McCormack pass traversed to Pain and he managed to goal with verve.   


Following a Matt Simon pile driver looked to have hit pay dirt only for Pasfield’s fingertips to thwart this polished attempt. Simon is back at the Mariners for his third stint after being at Sydney FC for last A-League season. The final flourish of the half was a hit by Markovac. From his position on the edge of the box, he produced a shot that unfortunately went high.


In the second half, both clubs effected a host of substitutions with the former Wolves, Murray, Gameiro and Macdonald all getting game time for their new club. James was put through down the right in an attempt to get on the score sheet. He cut in and shot. Alas, his effort missed the target but the intent was there. Madden eluded a player in making ground up field before firing a shot into the side netting. Madden was in his usual impressive form, continuing on from the NPL season that concluded on the 12th August.


Pasfield once again pulled off a top save to thwart the dangerous Pain before McCormack teed up supports by squaring the ball in the box, only for the defence to intervene in the nick of time. The Wolves’ Guy Knight from the IPL team champions Bulli, headed out and Madden got his head to clear out a McGlinchey cross. It was in the sixty-eight minute when the Central Coast Mariners shored up their victory. Murray sped down the right to put a delightful pass into Simon who duly converted the opportunity. 


Murray and Macdonald exchanged passes before Gameiro put a shot in. Luke Genoa, a substitute Wolves’ goalkeeper bravely went down at Gameiro’s feet to deny him in later action. The Central Coast Mariners were comfortable victors going about their business with professional efficiency and style with the Wolves showing competitiveness and an impressive approach to make the desired impact.



Wolves’ coach Luke Wilkshire: "I can’t fault the boys, we’ve had two weeks preparation for this game with a lot of new faces and the way they gelled and combined together, I was really proud of them… They have taken everything on board very quickly with the shape but obviously the lack of fitness came in at the end. That’s understandable, they are weeks from the start of their season and the boys have been on holidays…. I’m very impressed and there’s a lot of quality there…. Definitely something to work with. I told the boys before the game that I believed in them. What I have seen in the last couple of weeks They took everything on board. The quality, the attitude, the application, the understanding, there was no difference to me. They scored two without really pressing. They had the extra fitness and they had the extra yard. Connor Pain got the passes through with the extra yard … In the first half we rattled them, we had spaces, hit the post twice and had a few other chances but could not quite execute."


Wolves’ goalscorer Darcy Madden: "We did well, it was great turnout for a cold night. We had to build the trial team with some core players from last season. And we had to build also around players from the local league… I thought after the preparation we have had, the play was very good. It was vey enjoyable to score and I have haven’t scored for a while…. The new guys came in performed really well. I think TJ played unreal. We tested them especially in the first half but we gave away two soft goals…it was the best performance this season along with the Marconi game…. We are always going to rise for the occasion, against an A-League team. We had the right mix of experience, we had some speed on the counter to test them and I think everyone put in a great shift."


Central Coast Mariners striker Jordan Murray: "It was beautiful, good to back playing here in front of family and friends at WIN Stadium. We put in a good shift and came on for the last 15 and got cheeky little assist (for Simon’s goal) and I’m happy with this and we will take it board and hopefully be ready for the season."





Darcy Madden 24’



Michael McGlinchey 40’ Connor Pain 44’ Matt Simon 68






7:30 pm Kick-off




Coach: Luke Wilkshire


1.Justin Pasfield (GK) (Capt.) (12.Luke Genoa) 5.Darcy Madden 6.Ben Tosi (17James Stojcevski 55’) 3.James Baldacchino 4. (James Carli 80’) 7.Chris Price (Guy Knight 54’) 8.James Markovic 10.Brendan Griffin (14.Harry Callahan 45’)  9.Thomas James (18.Sebastian Gallegos 62’) 11.Okada Takeru 15.Nick Littler 23.Jordan Nikolovski (19.Tory Musumeci 63’). 

Substitutes not used: 2.Taylor McDonald


Yellow Cards: Nil

Red Cards: Nil




Coach: Mike Mulvey


1. Ben Kennedy 18.Mat Millar 20.Kalifa Cisse 15.Kyle Rowles 3.Jack Clisby 22.Jacob Melling (5.Tom Hiariej 52’) 10.Tommy Oar (25.Mario Shabow 64’) 8.Michael McGlinchey (14.Adam Berry 77’) 11.Connor Pain (16.Joshua Macdonald 72’) 19.Matt Simon (21Corey Gameiro 76’) 44.Ross McCormack (25.Jordan Murray 64’).


Substitutes not used: 12 RGK Adam Pearce Joe Gauci 4.Jake McGing 17.Peter Kekeris 13.Aiden O’Neill, 95.Usain Bolt (Trialist)


Yellow Cards: Kyle Rowles 45’


Red Cards: Nil


Referee: Jarrad Gillett

Assistant Referees: James Tesoriero and Matthew McOrist


By Malcolm Rowney

Football Federation Australia
Football NSW
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