League One Preview: Wanderers v Mariners

Matches between A-League academies are always enticing, yet Saturday’s encounter between the Western Sydney Wanderers and Central Coast Mariners FNSW League One sides carries huge significance.

With the sides sitting in first and third and only separated by two points, both will be desperate for a victory that would not only cement a high position on the ladder for the finals, but also to help secure the holy grail of promotion.

Since losing to the Mariners in a 4-3 thriller in April, the Wanderers have not lost a game, winning seven and drawing three to lift themselves to top spot.

They replaced their opponents at the summit, who have had two disappointing home games in a row; defeat to a 10-man NWS Spirit was followed up by a frustrating 1-1 draw against Hakoah last round.

The Wanderers were also forced to share the points in their last game, fighting to a 1-1 draw with Northern Tigers in a hard fought contest at North Turramurra.

New signings Zac Sapsford and Aidan Simmons made their debuts – with the latter netting the equaliser – whilst Yohann D’Souza had his maiden game in the first grade team.

Whilst the Wanderers boast the league’s best attack, their defence has also impressed recently, conceding only two goals in their last four games.

They will have to be at their best once again to keep out a Mariners side that has the league’s top scorer in Lachlan Bayliss, who has 13 goals, whilst his strike partner Dor Jok has chipped in with seven, including the stoppage time winner the last time these sides met.

That match was one of the most thrilling of the season, with penalty saves and two goals after stoppage time, and whilst supporters would love another entertaining match like that, the Wanderers will be hoping to be on the right side of the scoreline at Wanderers Football Park.

Western Sydney Wanderers vs Central Coast Mariners
Saturday 2 July 2022, 7:00pm
Wanderers Football Park