Sydney FC will walk out at Allianz Stadium on Saturday afternoon looking for three points which will put them back into the top six on the table. Their challenge is Nick Montgomery’s Central Coast Mariners who are winless in their last two.
Sydney FC are buoyed following the pulsating Big Blue victory over Melbourne Victory last Thursday in Melbourne, a much needed win after some frustrating and unfortunate finishes to matches in recent weeks.
Adam Le Fondre added to Max Burgess’ first half strike and the Sky Blues walked away with a 2-1 comeback win and the mood amongst the camp appears more positive and focused on the task at hand which is surging up the table.
For Steve Corica, in the previous two matches, the only two goals conceded have been from range and both have been spectacular efforts. Much of the defensive improvements has come hand in the hand with the return of former Socceroo and captain Alex Wilkinson who brings experience, leadership and quality at the back as he is paired alongside James Donachie in the heart of defence.
Sydney’s home form has been concerning with Wellington Phoenix the last team to play at the venue who walked away with all three points after the most dramatic of finishes that included two missed penalties in stoppage time. This time around, they will be looking to change fortunes against the Yellow and Navy.
The Central Coast Mariners are the league’s perennial entertainers with the likes of Jason Cummings in their ranks, and they have been scoring goals freely this season. They have scored 29 from their opening 14 matches and boast one of the highest expected goals tallies along with the most number of chances created.
They play a counter attacking style of play which has brought them plenty of success in front of goal this season with the likes of new imports Marco Tulio and Sam Silvera contributing to the tally.
In the last meeting with Sydney FC in Gosford, it was a quickfire double from the hosts which cancelled out Paulo Retre’s opener and this time around, Sydney FC will be looking to start with the same intensity as they did that day when the Mariners struggled to get out of their own half.
In the last meeting between these two in Sydney, an Anthony Cacerers brace saw off a Mariners second half surge and the Sky Blues won 3-2 at Leichhardt Oval in hot conditions in January last year.
Overall, Sydney FC hold the ascendancy in this fixture winning 28, almost 50% of all matches in all competitions, losing 18 of the 57 and the other 11 have been drawn. Should Sydney FC find the net against the Mariners, it will be their 101st goal against the Gosford outfit, conceding 82.
Ones to Watch
James Donachie – Sydney FC
A consistent starter throughout the season, James Donachie appears to be finding his best form alongside Alex Wilkinson at the back. Their pairing has brought with it solidity and the amount of goals conceded has decreased. The former Melbourne Victory man had one of his best matches on Thursday as he minimised the threat of Victory front-man Bruno Fornaroli who was starved of any opportunities in and around the goal.
James Donachie who has played in three A-League Grand Finals, will walk out for his 200th professional football match in Australia on Saturday afternoon. The task is a tough one in the Mariners, but expect him to be as calm as ever.
Jason Cummings – Central Coast Mariners
The Scot turned Australian has spent over a year in Australian football and brings with him colour and flavour. Out of favour in Scotland, the striker moved to the Mariners and has found his way to goal which has included a call up to the Australian National Team and an appearance at the FIFA World Cup.
A goal-poacher, Cummings is always in and around the box looking for any opportunity at goal and so far this season sits second on the Golden Boot standings with eight goals. He has three assists to his name and boasts an expected goals tally of 7.60 which is an impressive conversion rate, but also highlights his potency in and around the box. If Sydney FC are looking to get all three points, they need to keep Cummings quiet.
Sydney FC v Central Coast Mariners
Isuzu UTE A-League Round 15
Saturday 4th February 2023
Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick Off: 5pm AEDT
Gates Open: 2:00pm AEDT
Broadcast Live: Paramount+
Tickets: Click Here