Clinical Mariners open up four point buffer

The Central Coast Mariners have opened up a four point gap on Adelaide United in second spot, and kept the pressure on Hyundai A-League leader Brisbane, after a dominant 2-1 victory over Adelaide at Hindmarsh Stadium tonight.

The Central Coast Mariners have opened up a four point gap on Adelaide United in second spot, and kept the pressure on Hyundai A-League leader Brisbane, after a dominant 2-1 victory over Adelaide at Hindmarsh Stadium tonight.

Patricio Perez showed wonderful skill to open the Yellow and Navy-s account after 11 minutes before Josh Rose doubled the advantage on the half hour, and despite an injury time goal to Adelaide captain Travis Dodd, the Mariners held on for a famous victory.

“The first 45 minutes was champagne football,” said Head Coach Graham Arnold.

“It was one touch football, the movement was great, the short passing in midfield, we destroyed them in the first half.

“We knew that Adelaide would come out in the second half and try to give a bit more, they changed their system to a narrow diamond to go with two up front but I thought the boys at the back handled everything well.

“It was a very good performance in those conditions.”

Despite both teams having a penchant for free-flowing, attacking football, it took a few minutes to get acclimatised with the stifling heat in the City of Churches, as the mercury soared well into the 30-s, even after 7:00pm.

It took ten minutes for the first meaningful strike on goal, as Matt Simon unleashed from 20 yards, curling an effort marginally wide of the far post with Eugene Galekovic at full stretch.

That opening kick-started the Mariners into life as Josh Rose teamed up with Oliver Bozanic with a well executed one-two immediately after, but Simon couldn-t quite put the finishing touches on an impressive move.

It was less than 60 seconds later that the Yellow and Navy did indeed find the back of the net, Patricio Perez taking the ball to Pedj Bojic and bouncing him, before turning and charging into the penalty box, where the Adelaide United defence looked on stunned as the Argentine blasted his side ahead.

Alex Wilkinson almost got his head on a Michael McGlinchey corner at the back post and Daniel McBreen flicked a Perez delivery just wide, while at the other end, the Reds- best chance of the opening half was a 25 yard speculator from Sergio Van Dijk which sailed harmlessly over the crossbar.

At the other end, Graham Arnold-s men continued to press, Simon fired at Galekovic before Rose deservedly doubled the Mariners advantage.

McGlinchey showed great vision to switch the play to Rose on the left and after playing a one-two with Perez, the in form left-back calmly slotted a right foot shot inside the far post.

McGlinchey had a goalbound effort blocked by former teammate Nigel Boogaard and McBreen saw a deflected shot sail safely into a grateful Galekovic-s arms, but the Mariners could be more than content with a thoroughly earned two goal half-time buffer.

McBreen did well to latch on to a long throw in from Bozanic early in the second stanza but couldn-t get his header on target, and almost had the Mariners third on the hour, when Galekovic recovered at the last second after fumbling a Simon strike at the near post.

Despite the injection of dangerous wide-man Matthew Leckie, Adelaide-s chances were reduced to a couple of Lucas Pantelis efforts which both sailed over the bar.

Perez was running rings around the Reds through the midfield and into their back four, and was a constant threat, but it was his midfield counterpart McGlinchey who was denied the third goal only by a wonderful one handed save from Galekovic to keep the New Zealand international at bay from point-blank range.

Galekovic was a little more comfortable in blocking a more direct McGlinchey salvo as the match headed into the final ten minutes, while Travis Dodd had a delightful opportunity to peg one back in the 85th minute, but mistimed a volley under minimal pressure.

The Adelaide skipper wasn-t to be denied though, firing home a loose ball in the box from close range in injury time, and while Simon could have put the final nail in the coffin in the dying stages, the Mariners had more than done enough to deservedly consolidate second spot, and keep their hopes of a second Premiership alive, by remaining within two wins of Brisbane with three matches remaining.

“We-re actually a little bit upset about conceding the goal because the boys strive to keep a clean sheet every week so to concede in the last 30-45 seconds or whatever it was, they-re not happy about it but the mentality of the players, the character and the way they play football is brilliant.

“We knew their front four were extremely strong but I saw things against North Queensland last week - even though they won 8-1 - that gave us a lot of hope. North Queensland had five or six really good chances in that game.

“We wanted to play our own game, we have only lost twice away from home all year and our motto from the start of the year has been to play away from home the same as we would at home, and never to change our style of football. It seems to be working so far,” said Arnold.

Mariners- defender Patrick Zwaanswijk was equally proud of his teammates.

“Arnie and the staff prepared very well and gave us a lot to work with. Everyone on the field knows what we have to do, in defence there are no options, we have to do what is on the whiteboard, but with the ball we can do what we think is best and it works out pretty well.

“If you see the growth from week one to week 25 where we are now, it-s unreal, unbelievable,” said Zwaanswijk.

The Mariners now turn their attention to the second of three away games in a row, against Melbourne Heart on Friday night.

“We can-t take the foot off the pedal, because anything can happen with three games to go,” said Arnold.

The Central Coast Mariners next match of the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season will be against Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park, Melbourne next Friday, 4 February. Kick-off is at 8:00pm AEDT.

Match Details

Adelaide United 1 (Dodd 90+1-) Central Coast Mariners 2 (Perez 11-, Rose 30-)

Adelaide United: 1. Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), Robert CORNTHWAITE, 3. Nigel BOOGAARD, 6. CASSIO, 8. Adam HUGHES, 9. Sergio VAN DIJK, 10. Marcos FLORES (19. Matthew LECKIE 66-), 13. Travis DODD (c), 14. Cameron WATSON (12. Paul REID 66-), 17. Iain RAMSAY (7. Lucas PANTELIS 46-), 21. Francisco USUCAR.

Subs not Used: 20. Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk).

Yellow Cards: Flores 55- Red Cards: Nil

Central Coast Mariners: 20. Mathew RYAN (gk), 2. Daniel McBREEN (23. Adam KWASNIK 81-), 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 8. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 10. Patricio PEREZ, 11. Oliver BOZANIC (7. John HUTCHINSON 86-), 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON.

Subs not Used: 30. Paul HENDERSON (gk), 22. Mustafa AMINI.

Yellow Cards: Bojic 52-, Perez 61-, Griffiths 79- Red Cards: Nil

Referee: Strebre DELOVSKI Crowd: 12,109 @ Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide