Wellington Phoenix carried on their winning way in pre-season, as they defeated Central Coast Mariners 1-0 at Knox Grammar School in Sydney on Saturday, thanks to a 37th minute goal from Hamish Watson.
Both coaches were concerned about the state of the pitch and those fears were unfortunately confirmed when Mariners player Jake Adelson went down with what appeared to be a serious knee injury in the last minute.
Phoenix Head Coach Ernie Merrick gave three trialists a run out and also gave valuable game time to some of his own players who required match time.
It meant that Andrew Durante, Kosta Barbarouses, Michael McGlinchey and Tom Doyle began the game on the bench and Marco Rossi, Roly Bonevacia and Roy Krishna were withdrawn in the 70th minute.
Despite the state of the pitch the Phoenix moved the ball well and thoroughly deserved the lead when Watson scored from a cross at the far post.
Merrick was pleased with the application his players showed and that everyone got time on the pitch.
“It was a really good hit out after a strenuous training week in the heat of Townsville and I was pleased to keep a clean sheet,” Merrick said.
“I’ve always said that the performance is more important than the result in pre-season games, but it was nice to continue the run which has seen us unbeaten since the unlucky loss to the Wanderers in the FFA Cup.”