Central Coast Aim To Reduce Roar To A Whimper

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After coming off an impressive performance in the F3 Derby in round 16, the Central Coast Mariners this week travel to Suncorp Stadium to take on the Brisbane Roar.

Central Coast played their most dominant first half of the season so far against Newcastle with the home side leading 3-0 at the half. A goal right on half time to Matt Simon capped off a memorable 45 minutes for the hosts with earlier goals to Anthony Caceras and Daniel McBreen coming straight from the top shelf.

Brisbane too enjoyed some cracking goals the night before in their come from behind victory over Wellington. Down 1-0 at half time it took debutant Devante Clut’s top class volley to the get the Roar level, with Luke Bratten’s screamer in the 87th minute earning all three points.

The respective wins from both clubs sets up a fascinating contest on Sunday, with both sides in form and enjoying a healthy rivalry that stems back to the epic 2011 decider.

Ins & Outs:

The Mariners go in with unchanged squad that defeated the Jets, with captain John Hutchinson again starting from the bench for the second consecutive week. Anthony Caceras has impressed with the chance he has been given, and it looks likely Hutchinson will again not be a part of the starting XI.

Besart Berisha is the big inclusion for the Roar as he returns from a suspension served last week.

Despite being listed as out of the squad, Ivan Franjic is working hard to overcome a stomach injury, and is still in contention to feature on Sunday.

The Stats:

- Brisbane Roar have scored at least once in 15 of their last 16 league meetings with Central Coast Mariners.

- No player has created more chances for his teammates this season than Brisbane Roar’s Thomas Broich (54).

- No side has kept more clean sheets this term than the Central Coast Mariners (7).

- Only one of the last nine matches between these sides has ended in a draw.

The Key Issues:

Central Coast: can the Mariners overcome their bogey side? In the 32 matches played between the sides, the reigning champions have only enjoyed victory on six occasions. Their opponents though have earned the three points 17 times. Can the Mariners overcome this terrible statistic and make it three consecutive wins?

Brisbane: despite starting the season with a strong record at home, Brisbane’s performances at Suncorp have left a lot to be desired of late. While they are still five points clear at the top, winning games at home is crucial if they are going to maintain that buffer heading in to the business end of the season.

Prediction:

Central Coast are in form at the moment and despite their horrible record against Brisbane, Sunday provides a wonderful opportunity to extend their gap on the Victory and maintain pressure on the Wanderers above them. However Brisbane will look to right the wrongs of last week’s first half performance, and I expect them to throw everything at the Mariners early. This alone provides too tough a task for Phil Moss’ side to overcome.

Brisbane 1-0.

Brisbane Roar v Central Coast Mariners
Sunday, 2 February 2014
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 4:00pm local (5:00pm AEDT)
Referee: Strebre Delovski
Assistant Referee 1: Nathan MacDonald
Assistant Referee 2: Anton Shchetinin
Fourth Official: Alan Milliner
#BRIvCCM

Head-To-Head:
Played: 32 – Wins: Roar 17, Mariners 6, Draws: 9

Last Time They Met:
November 10, 2013. Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford. Central Coast 0-1 Brisbane.

Form: (past five matches)
Roar: WDLWW
Mariners: WWDDW

Brisbane Roar squad: 1.Michael THEO, 2.Matthew SMITH (c), 3.Shane STEFANUTTO,7. Besart BERISHA, 10.HENRIQUE, 11.Liam MILLER, 13.Jade NORTH, 14. Diogo FERREIRA, 15. James DONACHIE, 17.Matt McKAY, 18.Luke BRATTAN, 19.Jack HINGERT, 20.Matthew ACTON (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 26. Corey BROWN, 27. Devante CLUT, 28.Brandon BORRELLO
“*Two to be omitted**

Ins: 7.Besart BERISHA (returns from suspension)

Outs: 35.Jai INGHAM (omitted)

Unavailable: 5.Ivan FRANJIC (stomach injury – one week), 25.George LAMBADARDIS (knee – season)

Central Coast Mariners Squad: 1. Justin PASFIELD (Gk), 2. Daniel MCBREEN, 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Marcel SEIP, 5. Zachary ANDERSON, 6. Brent GRIFFITHS, 7. John HUTCHINSON (C), 8. Nick MONTGOMERY, 9. Mitchell DUKE, 11. Nick FITZGERALD, 12. Liam REDDY (Gk), 13. Hayden MORTON, 15. Storm ROUX, 16. Trent SAINSBURY, 17. Anthony CACERES, 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Bernie IBINI, 21. Mile STERJOVSKI
**Two to be omitted**

Ins: 4. Marcel SEIP (promoted), 13. Hayden MORTON (promoted)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 10. Marcos FLORES (knee – season), 14. Michael MCGLINCHEY (on loan – Vegalta Sendai), 18. Michael NEILL (knee – season), 23. Adam KWASNIK (knee – season)

Matthew Berry

Matthew Berry is Football Central's Central Coast Mariners correspondent.

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