Sport Football Ibini strikes late to help Mariners sink Wanderers

Ibini strikes late to help Mariners sink Wanderers

Bernie Ibini
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Bernie Ibini has scored a dramatic late goal to hand the Central Coast a 2-1 victory over Western Sydney in the A-League.

Ibini’s 90th-minute strike secured the three points for the Mariners as the Wanderers surrendered second spot with the defeat.

The Mariners snatched second but could lose it should Melbourne Victory beat Sydney FC in Saturday’s late game.

Joshua Rose put the Mariners in front before Nikolai Topor-Stanley levelled just before the break at Central Coast Stadium on Saturday, and substitute Ibini put the game beyond doubt.

Aaron Mooy drew the first save of the match in the 26th minute, in what was a slow-starting game, creating a chance out of nothing, with Mariners gloveman Liam Reddy doing well to diffuse his strike.

The shot seemed to spark the game into life with Jerome Polenz putting Reddy to work just moments later.

But just as the Wanderers appeared to have the momentum the Mariners broke the deadlock.

Rose went on a menacing run from the half-way mark beating the Wanderers defence and outstretched keeper Ante Covic to put the hosts in front in the 32nd minute.

Celebrations were short-lived however, with the Wanderers equalising eight minutes later.

Mooy provided a superb ball into the box finding Tomi Juric who crossed the ball to the waiting Topor-Stanley to slot home.

It was a much more attacking Mariners who started the second half looking to regain the lead.

Mile Sterjovski, playing his last home game before hanging up his boots, made way for Ibini in the 55th minute with coach Phil Moss looking to get more pace up front.

It proved a masterstroke as Ibini threatened from the get-go, putting Covic on his toes with a booming strike just moments after coming on.

Ibini looked like scoring the winner with just over 10 minutes, remaining brushing the post with a powerful strike.

Substitute Brendon Santalab had a chance to secure the three points for the Wanderers in the dying minutes getting on the end of a Shinji Ono free-kick into the box, but sent his header wide.

The Mariners kept searching for another goal with Mitchell Duke forcing a save from Covic.

But it was Ibini who netted the winner in the final minute of the match with Storm Roux providing the perfect cut-back for the forward.