It’s second versus third, academy side versus academy side as the Central Coast Mariners and Western Sydney Wanderers FNSW League One team’s face off at Pluim Park on Easter Sunday.
The Wanderers make the trip up the M1 after suffering their first home defeat of the season, going down 2-1 to the Northern Tigers.
Without top scorer Jordi Swibel, their previously free-flowing attack ground to a halt against a resilient Tigers defence.
Two first half goals in two minutes for the away side meant that second half substitute Jakov Malbasa’s strike was merely a consolation.
The Mariners meanwhile are on a four match unbeaten run, with two late Lachlan Bayliss goals seeing them overcome Hakoah Sydney City East 2-1 away from home last time out.
Those goals made Bayliss the Mariners’ top scorer with three goals, and the side possesses a number of players who have played in the A-League Men’s side this season.
The Wanderers too are led by players who have A-League experience, with Swibel, Alex Badolato, Alessandro Lopane and Mark Natta all getting game time in the senior team and leading the way for the youth team.
The boys in Red and Black can also count on Jarrod Carluccio and Daniel Wilmering, who have spent time on the sidelines in recent weeks.
Travelling to the Central Coast will not be an easy task, with the Wanderers losing their last trip 3-0 in the first game of last season; they squared the ledger in the return fixture though, winning 4-0.
Despite only being early in the season, Tomi Vidovic and his side will want to get all three points up the coast, in order to keep up with the top of the table Tigers and to not get dragged into a dogfight for the promotion places.
Central Coast Mariners v Western Sydney Wanderers
Sunday 17 April 2022, 3:00pm
Stream live on NPL.TV