Bojic beauty breaks Heart

A STUNNING free kick from right back Pedj Bojic helped Central Coast Mariners secure a 1-0 victory over Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon.

A STUNNING free kick from right back Pedj Bojic helped Central Coast Mariners secure a 1-0 victory over Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon.

Bojic-s curling effort just six minutes after the half time break ensured the Mariners claimed their second win of the 2012/13 Hyundai A-League campaign and extended their dominant record over the red and whites.

In seven A-League meetings with Heart the Mariners have now won fives times, Heart just once, while the two clubs shared the spoils of battle on the other occasion.

In a game of few clear-cut opportunities, Bojic produced a moment of true quality soon after the commencement of the second 45. After tapping the ball to former Qantas Socceroo Mile Sterjovski, the defender curled a sweet free kick past Clint Bolton and into the back of the net from 25 yards.

The two teams went into the sheds at half time with the score locked at 0-0. Indeed, the first 45 minutes was devoid of much action in front of goals as both Arnold-s men and Aloisi-s outfit struggled to craft many opportunities to open the scoring.

Heart did have the first opportunity of the game via the boot of former Qantas Socceroos midfielder Richard Garcia. Having been picked out by former Mariner Dylan Macallister, Garcia skewed his shot from a good position well wide of Mathew Ryan-s goal.

For a large portion of the first half the Mariners were restricted to chances from set piece positions. Bojic let fly from the dead ball in the 24th minute but his shot flew straight at Bolton who claimed comfortably.

In the 37th minute Garcia looked threatening again when he struck a low effort from long range. His shot had some venom behind it however Ryan did well to dive low to his right and save to ensure the score remained 0-0.

Just minutes before the break the Mariners crafted their best opportunity of the first 45. Following a neat midfield move, Michael McGlinchey sent an inviting cross into the box. Sterjovski stormed onto the pass and fired at Bolton however the experienced stopper reacted swiftly to deny the former FC Basel man.

But it would take Graham Arnold-s team just six minutes to open the scoring after the break. A well-worked set piece saw Bojic fire at goal having touched the ball to Sterjovski. With Patrick Zwaanswijk lining up as if he was going to cannon a shot at goal, Bojic curled a fine right foot effort into the top corner.

Josip Tadic had a guilt-edged chance to level proceedings in the 65th minute having been picked out by David Williams. But Tadic could only manage to strike straight at Ryan who blocked the shot away for a corner.

And Heart had another opportunity to restore parity to the clash late in the game when Garcia sent a diving header at goal. Nevertheless, Ryan again had his positioning spot on to thwart the Heart raid.

Post match Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold said that he would return to the Central Coast happy knowing his side hadn-t played to its potential, but had still earned three crucial competition points.

“I think both teams looked a little bit rusty,” Arnold said. “There was good patches of play but some average patches as well so it took a nice free kick to get us the three points.”

“I was very happy with our defensive structure. We work hard on our defence and we didn-t give too much away. Young Maty Ryan had one good save to make but other than that it-s three clean sheets in four games and our defence is strong.”

“I give us a five, six out of ten and we-ll go home with the three points happy," he said.

Arnold said the Mariners had focussed on frustrating Heart-s influential midfield.

“We tried not to give them any space,” he said. “I have a lot of respect and time for the players they-ve got, especially their three midfielders (Richard) Garcia, (Matthew) Thompson, and Fred.

“We tried to nullify those three getting on the ball and taking control of the game and I thought that we did that well.

“We tried to frustrate them and at times I think it worked,” he said.

The win lifts the Mariners into the Hyundai A-League top four before the visit of southern foes Sydney FC to Bluetongue Stadium next Saturday 3 November.

The round 5 clash between the yellow and navy and the sky blues is set to be a well attended showdown, with pre-sale numbers indicating a boom crowd for the contest.

Melbourne Heart 0 Central Coast Mariners 1 (Bojic 51-) AAMI Park, Victoria

Melbourne Heart: 1. Clint BOLTON (Gk), 2. Michael MARRONE, 4. Simon COLOSIMO, 5. FRED (c) (23. Mate DUGANDZIC 46-), 6. Patrick GERHARDT, 8. Matt THOMPSON (18. David VRANKOVIC 69-), 9. Dylan MACALLISTER (10. Josip TADIC 37-), 11. Richard GARCIA, 15. David WILLIAMS, 16. Aziz BEHICH, 19. Ben GARRUCCIO

Substitutes not used: 20. Andrew REDMAYNE (Gk)

Yellow cards: Colosimo 41-, Garcia 59-, Vrankovic 86-

Red cards: None

Central Coast Mariners: 1. Mathew RYAN (Gk), 2. Daniel MCBREEN, 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 7. John HUTCHINSON (c) (5. Zachary ANDERSON 90+2), 10. Tomas ROGIC (12. Troy HEARFIELD 75-), 14. Michael MCGLINCHEY, 16. Trent SAINSBURY, 18. Nick MONTGOMERY, 21. Mile STERJOVSKI (9. Bernie IBINI 65-)

Substitutes not used: 20. Justin PASFIELD (Gk)

Yellow cards: McBreen 39-

Red cards: None

Crowd: 6,357

Referee: Chris BEATH