The Western Sydney Wanderers recorded their first point of the season last night after a nil-all draw with the Central Coast Mariners at Pirtek Stadium.
Wanderers coach Tony Popovic named a full strength side that included Asian Champions League hero Tomi Juric and new signings Romeo Castelen and Nikita Rukavytsya, while the Mariners stuck to the same line up and formation that faced Melbourne City on the weekend.
The first half chances were dominated by the red and black side, most notably through Juric who had several chances. The best coming just before the half hour mark when Juric leapt highest, but his header lacked power and fell into the grateful arms of Liam Reddy.
The duel between Juric and Reddy continued throughout the match, as the Central Coast shot stopper denied the Wanderers striker again following some intricate passing on the edge of the box between Rukavytsya and Vitor Saba.
The Gosford club lifted the intensity in the second half through Mitchell Duke and Nick Fitzgerald which forced the Wanderers custodian Ante Covic into action. First duty was to race out of his box to squander a galloping Duke, and the veteran keeper escaped a clever lofted shot from Fitzgerald following a well timed pass from Nick Montgomery.
The resilient Central Coast defence withstood a late barrage from substitute Mark Bridge and Brazilian Saba to hang on and earn a share of the spoils.
The Mariners return to Bluetongue Stadium at the weekend where they welcome Adelaide United, while the Wanderers will host the Newcastle Jets in their second home game of the season on Saturday. – Jake O’Brien
Top photo from Joeventus’ Flickr photostream.