Wanderers take a point in their A-League debut

THE Western Sydney Wanderers settled into life in the A-League with a creditable 0-0 draw against the Central Coast Mariners.

There were 10,458 fans to watch them at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday night.

The fans were in full voice as the Wanderers started the game strongly by creating plenty of first half scoring opportunities.

The best fell to western Sydney junior Labinot Haliti, who was put through on goal in the 36th minute but caught in possession.

He wasn't put off by the miss, though, and responded with several troublesome crosses for attacking teammates Mark Bridge and Dino Kresinger.

The trio each had multiple shots on goal but couldn't find a way past Mariners goalkeeper Matt Ryan.

Mark Bridge tested Ryan with powerful right-foot strike early in the second half.

Wanderers coach Tony Popovic made a double substitution soon after, introducing Kwabena Appiah-Kubi and Japanese import Shinji Ono.

Fans gave Ono a warm welcome and he soon had them on their feet by beating a lunging challenge and threading a clever through ball.

Despite being heavily marked, Ono continued to create space and nearly scored in the 66th minute.

Central midfield partner Aaron Mooy teed up the marquee man but his shot flew over the crossbar.

Central Coast started to dominate the midfield and nearly made the hosts pay when Bernie Ibini-Isei forced a fine save from Ante Covic.

As the game wound down so did the chances, with heavy rain making play difficult.

In extra time the Wanderers had a late penalty shout turned down and Kresinger saw his effort cleared off the line.

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