Pre-Season Wrap: Wanderers defeat Mariners

The Western Sydney Wanderers ISUZU Ute A-League team have defeated Central Coast Mariners 2-0 in their first pre-season friendly of the 2021/22 campaign.

Goals from Thomas Aquilina and Jordan Swibel in each half rounded out an impressive performance by the Red & Black in hot conditions at Wanderers Football Park.

Wanderers new signings Adama Traore, Rhys Williams, Ramy Najjarine, Dimi Petratos and Tomer Hemed all stared in the side who played in the first 60 minutes of the match.

The Red & Black dominated from the outset and did well to control the play given the stifling conditions.

The heat was rising both on and off the field and within the first few minutes, it all came to a head with Najjarine and the Mariners Storm Roux getting into a scuffle on the sideline.

The Wanderers had plenty of opportunities early on to break the deadlock with Traore getting into fantastic space and Petratos and Hemed combining to create chances.

At the other end, a collision between goalkeeper Daniel Margush and Mariner Matt Simon, saw Simon get the better of the situation with the referee awarding a penalty to the visitors.

Mariner Oli Bozanic stepped up to the spot but the strike smashed into the far post.

The Red & Black continued to pile on the pressure and kept Mariners goalkeeper Yaren Sozer very busy with Hemed, Ibini, and Najjarine all having chances to score the opener. 

After the break, the Wanderers hard work in the sweltering conditions finally paid off with Academy products Keanu Baccus and Najjarine combining well in the middle of the park before Thomas Aquilina pounced on a strike pushed out by the keeper to convert. 

The hour mark saw both teams stop for a much-needed drinks break in the heat with both coaches making a raft of changes to their sides.

The Wanderers brought on Daniel Wilmering, Mark Natta, Johnny Koutroumbis, Philip Cancar, Tass Mourdoukoutas, Tate Russell, Terry Antonis, Joel Bertolissio, Alex Badolato, and Jordan Swibel.

Ten minutes into the changes, the young guns extended the lead thanks to a pinpoint cross from Wilmering to Swibel who fired past the keeper. 

Impressive performances from Mourdoukoutas in the midfield, as well as Antonis and Swibel saw the sides first friendly of the pre-season end in a 2-0 victory.

The Wanderers and Mariners then played in an extra 30 minutes to get some more minutes in the legs with goalkeeper Jack Warshawky and defender Jarrod Carluccio coming on for the extended period. 

Wanderers Starting XI: Daniel MARGUSH (GK), Ziggy GORDON, Adama TRAORE, Rhys WILLIAMS, Thomas AQUILINA, Ramy NAJJARINE, Steven UGARKOVIC, Keanu BACCUS, Dimi PETRATOS, Tomer HEMED and Bernie IBINI.
Unused substitutes: Dean PELEKANOS and Isaac HOVAR.