In the 18th round of A-League, we will see 2 bottom teams playing against each other in hopes to grab the much-needed points which could see them climbing to the mid-table.
WS Wanderers are coming into this match as an 8th team in the league with an overall record of 2-4-11 and 10 points. Looking at their recent performances, WS Wanderers have not won a match since December 7th 2018, which translates to a 0-2-8 record in their last 10 games. In their most recent match, WS Wanderers were completely smashed by Newcastle Jets who won 1:5 in an away game! The first goal was scored in 18th minute, to which Newcastle Jets added another one only 4 minutes later. In the 45’+1 WS Wanderers gave away a penalty which Jets missed but then converted into a goal. With that, the teams went into the 2nd half 3 goals apart (0:3) and there was little hope of WS Wanderers to come back. Those speculations proved to be true only 5 minutes into the 2nd half when Newcastle Jets scored yet another goal, to which they added their 5th goal 10 minutes later. WS Wanderers, however, did not give up and scored a goal of their own in the 69th minute but it was too late too little for them to come back. Surprisingly Wanderers had 60% ball possession throughout the match with 19 goal attempts and 7 shots on goal but failed to use their chances. Newcastle Jets on the other side had 40% ball possession, 19 goal attempts and 10 shots on goal, 5 of which were converted into a goal. Final score: 1:5.
Central Coast Mariners seemingly lowered an anchor at the bottom of the league where they have been sitting for a while now. With an overall record of 1-3-13 and only 6 points, they are still 3 points behind Brisbane Roar at 9th spot, but if they continue with their poor performances I don’t see them rising above the 10th spot this season. Looking at their last 5 games, Central Coast holds a 1-1-3 record. While it’s far from a good record to have, at least they managed to win their 1st match of this season against Melbourne City (2:1) on January 16th. Despite that, Central Coast went on to draw their next match against Brisbane Roar (1:1) and lost the next 3 against Newcastle Jest (1:0), Adelaide United (1:2) and most recently against Melbourne Victory (2:3). The result against Melbourne Victory was not what Mariners had hoped, nonetheless, they performed well, scoring 2 goals against the 2nd team in the league. The worst part about the mentioned match was the own goal scored by Kennedy in the 68th minute who basically gave away free points to his opponents. Surprisingly enough, Mariners were 2 goals up in the 1st half, but it all came crashing down in the 2nd half when Victory scored a goal in 50th minute. 18 minutes later Kennedy scored the mentioned own goal which levelled the match at 2:2. Then it came the 88th minute when Barbarouses found his way to the net and scored the game-winning goal for Victory. Final score: 2:3.
When it comes to holding down for the late game Mariners seemingly lose their focus and give away the lead they accumulate in the first half of the match, which was clearly seen in the match against Melbourne Victory. Tonight they will go against WS Wanderers who are simply terrible. The biggest issue with Wanderers is their defence. In the span of their last 5 games, WS Wanderers conceded 17 goals. 17 goals in 5 games! Not only have they conceded that many goals, but they also conceded 2 goals against Brisbane Roar and 4 against Melbourne City, who are far from impressive in the offensive end in recent matches. On the bright side, Wanderers scored on average 2 goals per game in the last 5, which should prove to be beneficial against Mariners, especially in the 2nd half, when as mentioned Mariners do not shine. Calling out a winner here would be difficult as neither of the teams impressed me. Instead, we will be looking at Over/Under market. With poor defence and decent offence on Wanderers side, and the chaos that erupts among Mariners squad in the late game, I expect this match to end as a high scoring one with at least 3 goals.
Prediction: Over 2.5 goals