Thumbs up … Shinji Ono makes a good start for Western Sydney.It wasn’t a fairytale debut for Western Sydney Wanderers but the new boys showed they are ready to match it with the A-League’s best by holding Central Coast Mariners to a 0-0 draw.
There was rain, thunder and fireworks but no goals as both teams struggled to take their chances in a soggy affair at Parramatta Stadium. Marquee player Shinji Ono made his debut from the bench, playing just over 30 minutes and showed glimpses of brilliance that dazzled the crowd of 10,458.
Fans were treated to a show of fireworks before the match and it wasn’t long after the smoke had cleared when Dino Kresinger put Labinot Haliti through on goal. Mariners keeper Matt Ryan denied an early goal by sprinting off his line to rush a clearance.
The Mariners showed their additional seven years of A-League experience with a patient approach game that contained the Wanderers’ enthusiasm.
The lively Mark Bridge and Haliti relentlessly teased the Mariners defence and just before the quarter-hour mark, Bridge was put into space by Haliti. The former Sydney FC striker did well to hit the target from 20 metres out but his stinging shot was fired straight at Ryan.
The Mariners continued to stifle the hosts’ energetic attack with a composed short passing game in their own half. The Wanderers were good enough, though, to launch a quick counter-attack that forced Ryan to run off his line for the second time in the match. On the 25-minute mark, Wanderers right back Jerome Polenz dinked passed his marker and let fly with an inch-perfect through ball that put Kresinger on goal. But Ryan cleared the ball from well outside his box.
Minutes later, Haliti had the first real chance on goal when he found space outside the box, but he shot while off balance and sent the ball to the left of the upright.
A long-range Aaron Mooy free-kick nearly gave the Wanderers the lead midway through the half. Ryan struggled to handle Mooy’s swerving 30-metre shot in the wet conditions and nearly fumbled it into the net.
Haliti had a great chance to give the Wanderers the lead on 27 minutes. A quick exchange with Mooy put Haliti through on goal again but the striker crumbled under pressure and had his weak shot smothered by Ryan.
The Mariners responded immediately and a quick counter-attack allowed Tom Rogic to beat the offside trap, but the youngster’s heavy first touch denied him a chance to open the scoring.
Bridge looked certain to score immediately after the restart when he went one-on-one with Ryan, but opted for power over placement and shot straight into the Mariners keeper.
The moment the Mariners had been waiting for arrived in the 59th minute. A deafening roar from 10,458 fans welcomed Japanese star Ono to Parramatta Stadium when the marquee man came on for Haliti. Ono’s first touch again attracted a loud response from the stands when he showcased his dribbling skills by turning his defender.
Wanderers goalkeeper Ante Covic had little do in the match but was finally called into action in the 79th minute, pulling off an excellent save to deny Michael McGlinchey from an acute angle.
The Wanderers continued to be dangerous on the counter-attack and Dino Kresinger had a good chance to put the hosts into the lead after 85 minutes. Kresinger broke down the middle and shot wide of goal when Ono and Bridge where in free positions on either flank.
Kresinger had another chance to steal the show in injury time when the ball fortuitously bounced in front of him in the box, but his scrambled shot failed to hit the target.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.