Match Preview: Central Coast v Wanderers

Our Wander Women look to continue their fantastic run of form when they take the quick trip north to face the Central Coast Mariners.

Tickets to the away match can be purchased via Ticketek.

The Wanderers are currently on a three match winning streak where they have scored five goals without concession, and are on a wider run of just one loss in their last seven games which includes five wins and five clean sheets.

Their most recent victory came against the runaway league leaders no less in Melbourne City, where a Holly Caspers goal midway through the second half secured a 1-0 win, their second over Melbourne City at home in two seasons.

It also marked a unique clean sweep of Melbourne City for the Wanderers, as the A-League Men’s side also defeated City by the same scoreline on Friday night.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 14: Holly Caspers of the Wanderers celebrates scoring a goal with her teammates during the A-League Women round 12 match between Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne City at CommBank Stadium, on January 14, 2024, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jeremy Ng/Getty Images)

This run of form means the team is now fourth on the table, having been bottom after a difficult start to the season, and they still have a game in hand on many of the teams around them.

In addition, they have only conceded two goals in their hot run of form, showing that the switch to a five at the back formation during the season continues to pay dividends.

It is a testament to the work done by coach Robbie Hooker and his staff in his short time at the club, and his efforts were rewarded over the weekend as his contract was extended to the end of the 2024-25 season.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 14: Coach of the Wanderers Robert Hooker looks on prior to the A-League Women round 12 match between Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne City at CommBank Stadium, on January 14, 2024, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jeremy Ng/Getty Images)

Whilst the Wanderers may be in a good position on the table now, they know that can change in an instant, as they only sit two points ahead of their opponents who are down in ninth.

So whilst the players and staff will be happy with their recent form, they know they cannot rest on their laurels as the games continue to come thick and fast.

Their opponents have had somewhat of an inconsistent season in their return to the A-League Women’s competition, with the Mariners failing to win back-to-back matches so far this season.

They have had positive results of late, with a hard-fought scoreless draw against last season’s champions Sydney, before recording a 2-1 win in Unite Round against the Wellington Phoenix, coming from behind after conceding early.

This means they are clear of the teams at the bottom of the table and remain within striking distance of those above, and they also have a midweek game this week against Sydney, where a win could take them above the Wanderers and back into the top four.

The match is also part of a double header with the men’s side at Industree Group Stadium, meaning there will be a big crowd cheering the girls in yellow on, and another factor the Wanderers will have to contend with.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 08: Sophie Harding of the Wanderers celebrates scoring a goal with team mates during the A-League Women round seven match between Western Sydney Wanderers and Central Coast Mariners at Wanderers Football Park, on December 08, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Their away form has been mixed this season, with great wins over Western United and more recently the Perth Glory cancelled out by a difficult Sydney Derby loss and a 4-3 defeat against Melbourne City.

With the side also failing to win on the road last season, they know that if they are to be a serious threat at the business end of the season, they will need to find a way to get points away from home.

That said, they are undefeated in their last three away matches, and will be further boosted by the fact they defeated Central Coast in their first meeting this season.

Under the lights of Wanderers Football Park, it was the Sophie Harding show as the striker scored a brilliant double to lead the Red and Black to a 3-0 win; she will once again be the Wanderers’ biggest threat as she already has eight goals to her name this season.