Central Coast Mariners ended their 11-game winless run in the A-League with a 3-1 victory over Wellington Phoenix on New Year’s Eve.
Mariners remain bottom of the table following just their sixth league victory of 2015 but closed the gap to Perth Glory to four points as the visitors’ inconsistency continued at the Central Coast Stadium.
Having won just once in the league this season before Thursday, Mariners had slipped well off the pace at the foot of the table but Tony Walmsley’s men scored twice in four first-half minutes.
On his first start in almost two months after injury, Fabio Ferreira scored from the spot 27 minutes in following Manny Muscat’s foul on Roy O’Donovan, with the Irishman setting up Mitch Austin for Mariners’ second.
O’Donovan remained in the thick of things as he appeared to headbutt Muscat off the ball only to receive a caution early in the second, as Phoenix pressed for a way back into the match around the hour mark.
Blake Powell converted Matthew Ridenton’s delivery from close range with 23 minutes remaining but Mickey Neill’s first A-League goal ended hopes of a comeback.
The young full-back capitalised on a dreadful error from Andrew Durante, who gave the ball away to Neil from a free-kick allowing the Central Coast man to tuck away his side’s third and give the home fans hope heading into 2016.
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