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Wellington continue Mariners free fall

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The Central Coast Mariners nightmare run has continued as they suffered their fourth straight loss, a heavy 4-1 defeat to Wellington Phoenix at Central Coast Stadium on Friday night.

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The loss makes it just one away the worst run in Central Coast history (coming in 2009, the last time the Mariners didn't make the finals) and provides a horrible footing for the start of their Champions League campaign, which kicks off in Seoul mid-week.

For Wellington the result is a perfect response to their 5-0 thumping at home to Melbourne Heart last week and sees the New Zealanders back in to the finals places.

It was always going to prove difficult for the Mariners, missing Nick Fitgerald, Josh Rose and Matt Simon through suspension, which forced Phil Moss to give A-League debuts to the highly rated Matt Sim and Korean import Kim Seung-young, who was expected to start anyway.

There was an end to end start to the match with both sides going for the match from the very start of the match.

In the 16th minute Wellington went close to opening the scoring as Richie Cunningham beat Sim and got on the end of a Carlos Hernandez free-kick but could only head his effort wide.

The Mariners responded well and nearly found their opener almost instantly as Liam Reddy’s goal kick found Mitchell Duke who got past Durante but shot wide.

The Mariners work was rewarded in the 20th minute with some solid work from new star Kim who sent Bernie Ibini through, behind Sigmund to slam home the opening goal.

The Mariners did well and held Wellington at bay largely controlling the match as Wellington were restricted to shots from distance that were too easy for Reddy.

But after the break Wellington came alive, scoring all four goals as the Mariners confidence took another severe hit.

Central Coast native Reece Caira was able to punish the place of his birth as his cross was deflected allowing Kenny Cunningham to poke home the equalizer.

Just seven minutes later the Mariners should have had the lead after Durante, bizarrely picked up the ball in his own box, thinking a free-kick would be awarded, giving away a penalty to the Mariners. Mile Sterjovski took the shot but was denied as Glenn Moss made the save to his right.

That miss spurred Wellington and they took full advantage of the missed opportunity and in the 64th minute they took the lead as Hernandez hit a powerful strike from the edge of the area that clipped the crossbar on its way in.

One minute later Stein Huyseygems made it a two goal lead as he headed home Cunningham’s header that went across the face.

The Mariners could have pulled a goal back with less than 20 minutes to play but Moss continued to deny Sterjovski pulling off a top drawer save to deny the veteran again.

Yet again the Mariners were punished for a miss as Jeremy Brockie sprung the Mariners defense and was found by Huysegems to seal the 4-1 win as the Mariners looked completely deflated.

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