Wanderers hold Mariners to scoreless draw
The Western Sydney Wanderers survived their A-League initiation unscathed, more than matching minor premiers the Central Coast in an entertaining stalemate to mark the first game of the club’s history.
While most predicted a baptism of fire for the Wanderers, who had only three months to assemble a team, it was the A-League newcomers who looked more impressive than the well-oiled machine that is the Mariners, creating more chances in the match that finished 0-0.
A crowd of 10,458 witnessed the historic first match at Parramatta Stadium with the rowdy Red and Black Block rivalling Sydney FC’s supporters’ Cove.
It didn’t take for last season’s minor premiers to get into a rhythm, both Mile Sterjovski and Pedj Bojic threatening with early crosses into the box and Thomas Rogic testing the Wanders defence with a dangerous shot within the first 10 minutes.
But it was the Wanderers who came closest to an early goal with former Sydney FC striker Mark Bridge forcing Mariners teen ‘keeper Matt Ryan into action.
Ryan was kept busy with local western Sydney product Aaron Mooy firing a long-range effort on target midway through the opening half.
Ex-Newcastle forward Labinot Halit had perhaps the best opportunity to open the Wanderers’ A-League account when he found himself one-on-one with Ryan but the Mariners gloveman was taking no chances, charging off his line to make the save.
It was a fired-up Wanderers that took to the field in the second half with Bridge forcing Ryan into action only a minute after the break.
Asian star Shinji Ono was brought on in as a 60th-minute substitute for Haliti and it didn’t take long for him to have an impact, threatening with a shot from outside the box minutes later.
Michael McGlinchey attempted to get the Mariners onto the scoreboard stinging the palms of Wanderers ‘keeper Ante Covic with only 10 minutes to go.
Wanderers Croatian striker Dino Kresinger could have clinched the winner in the dying minutes but sent his shot wide.
The Mariners had a flurry of last minute shots from McGlinchey and Mitchell Duke.© AAP 2013
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