Western Sydney Wanderers have gone down to Central Coast Mariners 3-0 in their Round 1 NPL 2 clash at Pluim Park.
In what proved to be a tough outing against the defending champions, the Wanderers’ chances were not helped by a red card to midfielder Anthony Lesiotis after 57 minutes.
Lesiotis was one of a handful of players with A-League experience named in coach Patrick Zwaanswijk’s side, including Tass Mourdoukoutas, Kosta Grozos and Jordan O’Doherty.
Travelling to face last year’s NPL 2 winners was always going to provide a stern test for the Red and Black and the Mariners applied some early pressure.
Despite some willing defence the Wanderers soon found themselves down 2-0 thanks to a brace from James Bayliss.
The midfielder took advantage of some confusion in the Wanderers’ box off a set-piece and poked home to open the scoring. His second came only a couple of minutes later via a controlled finish from his left boot.
Entering the sheds 2-0 down provided some food for thought and a clear benchmark to aim for in the second half.
Western Sydney came out of the sheds with some determined play but a second yellow for the energetic Lesitois in the 57th minute made the task that much harder.
The home side didn’t wait long to press their advantage with Damien Tsekenis making it 3-0 just after the hour mark. The Mariners man drew a couple of Wanderers defenders before finding the far left corner with a precise shot.
That would be the last time the Mariners breached the goal however with the Wanderers’ defence holding firm in the last 30 minutes despite being a man down.
Despite the disappointing loss, the boys will be looking to continue their adjustment to life in NPL 2 when they travel once again to face St George City next Saturday.
Central Coast Mariners 3 (James Bayliss 23’, 25’, Dean Tzekenis 62’)
Western Sydney Wanderers 0
Western Sydney Wanderers: 18. Oliver Kalac (GK) , 6. Tass Mourdoukoutas, 7. Jarrod Carluccio, 12. Nectarios Triantis, 4. Mohammed Al Taay, 8. Jordan O’Doherty, 16. Anthony Lesiotis , 23. Kosta Grozos, 21. Isaac Hovar, 14. Alessandro Lopane, 9. Ali Auglah
Substitutes: 20. Jack Warshawsky (GK), 29. Alexander Badolato, 11. Lachlan Constable, 24. Peter Grozos, 22. Dean Pelekanos, 19. Joel Bertolissio