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A-League heartbreak for winless Mariners

Wellington Phoenix have celebrated Andrew Durante's milestone 300th A-League game with a come-from-behind 3-2 win over a shattered Central Coast.

A-League heartbreak for winless Mariners

Wellington Phoenix have celebrated Andrew Durante's milestone 300th A-League game with a come-from-behind 3-2 win over a shattered Central Coast.

ROY KRISHNA of the Phoenix in action during the A-League match between the Wellington Phoenix and the Perth Glory at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand.
ROY KRISHNA of the Phoenix in action during the A-League match between the Wellington Phoenix and the Perth Glory at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand. Picture:Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

Central Coast have suffered another bout of red-card heartache in the A-League after crashing to a 3-2 loss to the Phoenix in Wellington.

The out-of-luck Mariners had to digest a 10th successive defeat but this was among the most sour for Mike Mulvey's last-placed side, having fully warranted their 2-0 halftime lead.


A straight sending off of defender Kye Rowles 40 seconds after the break turned the match on its head.

It allowed Wellington to take control, extending their unbeaten run to a club record eight games and remain entrenched in the top six.

History repeated for Central Coast, who also dominated the early stages of last week's 5-2 loss to Sydney FC before defender Kalifa Cisse saw red.

Phoenix marksman Roy Krishna was the beneficiary, converting two penalties to take his season tally to nine.

Both times he won the spot kick, including the critical moment when Rowles was dismissed for a push to his back when clear on goal.

Referee Alex King also had no hesitation when Krishna was clattered into by Jacob Melling 10 minutes later.

Krishna set up the 65th-minute winner with a slick burst and assist for fellow-striker David Williams.

It meant a season-high home crowd 10,186 could celebrate a milestone for skipper Andrew Durante, who became the first player to appear in 300 A-League matches.

The central defender compared the performance to last week's fighting 3-2 win over Western Sydney.

"To come from behind tonight and win the game late last week speaks volumes about these boys," Durante said.

"It was extremely disappointing, the way we started, but the way we finished was just awesome.

"We spoke about this game being a banana skin and it nearly was. A win's a win and in my milestone game, it's pretty special. I'm pretty proud of the boys."

It seemed the night would fall flat for the central defender as Central Coast owned the opening exchanges.

They went in front through an eighth-minute penalty converted by Matt Simon, who had been held down by Steven Taylor.

Andrew Hoole bagged his first goal of the season in the 21st minute, a fine solo effort after Melling stripped Mitch Nichols of possession.

The Mariners had visions of their first win since beating the Phoenix in Gosford 11 months ago but instead blew a lead for the sixth time this season, extending an overall winless run to 18 games.

In a campaign of near-misses, Mulvey said this outcome hurt the most.

"It's gut-wrenching. We've got a very upset dressing room," he said.

"If you pare back the fact that it's another loss and you look at the performance, we were great in the first half. Honestly, they didn't get a kick, we took them apart, as we did with Sydney in the first half last week."

AAP


AAP




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