NPL Wrap: Wanderers defeat Mariners in epic comeback

The Western Sydney Wanderers have moved up to third in the NPL 2 after a thrilling comeback victory against Central Coast Mariners at Valentine Sports Park on Thursday afternoon.

A goal from Kyle Cimenti, as well as a double from Kosta Grozos, secured the win for the Red & Black after the Mariners had led 2-0 thanks to goals from Peter Kekeris and Brenton Fox.

Central Coast started well and took the lead on 8 minutes. Although Wanderers goalkeeper Mackenzie Syron did well to save Duncan Stewart's initial shot, he was powerless to stop Peter Kekris netting from the rebound.

The Wanderers attempted to hit back straight away with Cimenti getting on the end of a cross from the right, but his shot was blocked.

Halfway through the first half, Mathieu Cordier made a crucial tackle to prevent a chance for the Mariners.

However, Central Coast doubled their lead seconds later when Fox got on the end of a cross to head past Syron.

The Red & Black almost made it 2-1 a few minutes later after Cimenti's curling effort from the edge of the penalty area struck the crossbar. 

Tariq Maia then went close with a few efforts from distance, while Syron had to be alert at the other end, rushing off his line quickly to clear a couple of through balls.

Cimenti had another great chance for the Red & Black after he got behind the Mariners' defence but he was unable to beat keeper Adam Pearce.

The Wanderers striker would not be denied however and pulled one back in the 67th minute.

Substitute Kosta Grozos crossed from the left flank and although Emmanuel Gonzalez’s shot was saved by Pearce, Cimenti was on hand to score from the rebound.

A couple minutes later the Wanderers drew level after Grozos got on the end of a through ball, where he expertly beat a defender and curled the ball into the top corner.

Incredibly, two minutes later the Wanderers went into the lead.

Gonzalez was played into space on the right wing and his pinpoint cross found Grozos at the far post who made no mistake in putting the Wanderers in front. 

Grozos was everywhere and made a crucial defensive contribution with 12 minutes to go when he threw himself in front of a goalbound shot from Gianni Stesness to help hold onto the Wanderers' lead. 

Despite heavy pressure from Central Coast in the closing stages, the Wanderers managed to hold on for the victory with halftime substitute Noah Pagden having an excellent performance in the centre of defence. 

The win sees the Red & Black continue their unbeaten run and on Sunday afternoon, they'll return to Valentine Sports Park to face Mounties. Kick-off is at 1:00pm.

Central Coast Mariners 2 (Peter Kekris 8', Brenton Fox 22')
Western Sydney Wanderers 3 (Kyle Cimenti 67', Kosta Grozos 69' 71')

Western Sydney Wanderers: Mackenzie Syron, Tate Russell (Noah Pagden 46’), Jordan Hall, Mathieu Cordier, Thomas Aquilina, Charles Abou Serhal, Joshua Bartolotto, Tariq Maia (Kosta Grozos 63’), Emmanuel Gonzalez, Matthew Lecce (Oliver Puflett 57’), Kyle Cimenti
Unused substitutes: Daniel Axford, Abelrahman Kuku