2019-20 Australian A League, Regular Season
  • Matthew Simon (82' PEN)
  • Nicolai Müller (42')
  • Mitchell Duke (76' PEN)
  • Simon Cox (90'+5')

Western Sydney Wanderers win first post-Babbel game vs. Central Coast Mariners

Western Sydney Wanderers scored their first win under caretaker coach Jean Paul de Marigny with a 3-1 victory over Central Coast Mariners.

In a game that went down to the wire in Gosford, the Wanderers showed an improved energy in front of goal in their first game since the club sacked head coach Markus Babbel.

The Wanderers went into the sheds up 1-0 at half-time but a penalty kick for each team ramped up the intensity in the second half. Mariners skipper Tommy Oar gave away a crucial penalty in the box in the 75th minute and was handed a yellow card, with Socceroo Mitch Duke landing the goal easily to extend the lead.

The Wanderers returned the favour at the other end minutes later when Pirmin Schwegler gave away a clear penalty, allowing Matt Simon to convert for the Mariners' first goal, creating a frenzied finish. Debutant Simon Cox polished off the result for the Wanderers with an easy goal in injury time.

The win ended a three-match losing streak for the Wanderers, while the Mariners have now lost three games in a row.

The first goal was a source of frustration for Mariners coach Alen Stajcic, losing the ball trying to play out the back with a pass from Jack Clisby landing on the toes of German attacker Nicolai Muller.

After missing an easy shot 12 minutes earlier, Muller made no mistake when his second opportunity was presented and snapped the ball into the back of the net in the 42nd minute to give the Wanderers the lead. Clisby was then hooked by Stajcic early in the second half.

As well as a new influence with caretaker coach de Marigny, the Wanderers also got their first look at new recruit Cox, who arrived at the club in the days before Babbel was sacked. The Irish international replaced former striker Alex Meier up front, and was brought on in the 58th minute as a substitute for Kwame Yeobah and showed plenty of intensity in his first outing, earning a goal.

Muller kept coming in the second half, and the Wanderers were unlucky not to score again in the 64th minute when he passed to Duke in front of the net, only to have his close-range shot blocked by Mark Birighitti's face.

The Wanderers will now play Sydney FC in an anticipated derby at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, while the Mariners will travel up the M1 to play close rivals Newcastle on Sunday night.