The Wanderers have bounced back to form and moved to within four points of the Top Six following a solid 3-1 win over the Central Coast Mariners in Gosford today.
Man of the match Nicolai Muller, captain Mitchell Duke and new signing Simon Cox, in his club debut, were all on the scoresheet as the Red & Black gave Jean-Paul de Marigny a dream start to his interim head coach role.
The Wanderers dominated the first half for their 1-0 lead but could have gone into the break with a more comfortable scoreline.
With Muller pulling the strings in the number 10 role and Bruce Kamau and Daniel Georgievski tormenting the Mariners defence down Both flanks, the Wanderers constantly opened up the home side, but just couldn’t find the right final pass.
However, they finally got their just rewards three minutes from half time when the Mariners gave away the ball for Kamau to pounce.
Kamau immediately found Muller unmarked in the penalty area and the German did the rest, calmly smashing the ball into the back of the net.
As expected, the home side came out with a bit more fight in the second half but the Wanderers defence was superbly marshalled by Matt Jurman, who was a beast in the air, and Dylan McGowan.
De Marigny brought Cox into the fray on 58 minutes and he took just 16 minutes to make an impact.
The Englishman found space inside the box and turned a defender. Cox appeared certain to score only to be brought down in a cynical tackle. The referee had no option but to award a penalty.
As he did in the first game of the season against the Mariners, Duke made no mistake with his spot kick to make it 2-0.
There were, however, some late scares for the Wanderers.
Goalkeeper Daniel Lopar was forced to make two unbelievable saves but there was nothing he could do after the Mariners were awarded a penalty in the 82nd minute. Matt Simon converted and set the scene for a frenetic finish.
However, the Red & Black held their nerve. They broke away with replacement Mo Adam feeding Muller, who then laid off to Cox for the English to score from close range.