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Central Coast Mariners
The Central Coast Mariners surrendered a 2-0 lead to Melbourne Victory on Saturday to ultimately conceded a demoralising defeat.
Central Coast Mariners 2
Melbourne Victory 3
The still bottom-of-the-table Central Coast Mariners take on the top two opponents Melbourne Victory, live from Gosford Stadium, in the Saturday evening Round 17 clash. Join The Roar from 5:35pm (AEDT) for live scores and blog of the game.
The problem for the Mariners is that, of late, aside from their solitary win against Melbourne City, the results are not reflective of the performances on the park.
A disappointing draw to Brisbane, a completely undeserved loss to Newcastle, and a somewhat heartbreaking loss away to Adelaide, having taken the lead, has seen the Central Coast team take just the four competition points from four good games.
And now they come up against a team that they haven’t beaten in almost six years.
No doubt, Mike Mulvey likely didn’t need the added wrinkle of Matt Millar confirming this week that he has signed for the Jets for next season, and subsequently found himself banished from Mariners training.
When you are running bottom, player unrest and an opponent that is a bit of an albatross around your neck is not an ideal combination.
Still, the Mariners will be hoping that the good form shown will be followed by goals at the right end, and solid defence at the other.
Melbourne Victory, meanwhile, are flying high off a Big Blue win, a Toivonen set-piece pearler, and sitting pretty in the top two with ten rounds to go.
Melbourne, having navigated tricky opponents in Newcastle, Wellington, and Sydney, will be ecstatic in being in the top two, and still without their marquee man, who will come back from injury.
Melbourne will also be eyeing off top spot, and a win here will place the pressure firmly back on the men in purple from Perth.
The key for these two sides will be the inverse comparison of their defensive and attacking stats.
Where Melbourne have scored 36 goals this season, Central Coast have conceded 37, while Melbourne have conceded just the 19 goals and Central Coast have only scored 16.
Melbourne are playing good football, and the incentive to chase top spot should out-weigh the Mariners’ desire to put in a good showing, and try to avoid the wooden spoon.
While the ladder positions of each team are not determinative, they certainly are indicative, and this tipster is sticking with Melbourne.
Join The Roar from 5:35pm (AEDT) for live scores and blog, and don’t forget to leave a comment in the comment section below.