DANIEL McBreen’s classy 70th minute strike ensured the Central Coast Mariners won their first home game of the season 1-0 over Perth Glory at Bluetongue Stadium on Sunday evening.
DANIEL McBreen-s classy 70th minute strike ensured the Central Coast Mariners won their first home game of the season 1-0 over Perth Glory at Bluetongue Stadium on Sunday evening.
Having come on just seven minutes earlier for hardworking young marksman Mitchell Duke, McBreen fired past former Mariners custodian Danny Vukovic to earn the home team a narrow, but ultimately deserved victory.
In front of 9,192 fans, the Mariners looked resplendent in all pink kits as they ran out in perfect conditions for football at Gosford-s idyllic bayside arena. Their one-off look was to help promote Pink Ribbon Day to be held on Monday 22 October, and seemed to win the support of the home faithful with hundreds of aficionados arriving at the ground decked out in their own unique pink attire.
The opening half of the game was a tussle, with neither side able to craft many clear cut opportunities to open the scoring.
Veteran defender Patrick Zwaanswijk had a good chance to open his account for the season and put the Mariners ahead, however his low drive from a free kick in the 23rd minute was well saved by Vukovic.
In the 32nd minute it was Glory who were on the attack via another former Mariners favourite Dean Heffernan. Sharp goalkeeping from Mathew Ryan, however, thwarted the Perth raid.
And just before the half-time break, impressive defender Trent Sainsbury headed over the cross bar from a Mile Sterjovski free kick.
The second stanza was a more entertaining affair, with the pace quickening and both teams looking more likely to break the deadlock. Sterjovski was proving an influential figure against his former Club as he combined down the right side with Duke on numerous occasions.
But in the 68th minute all nearly went awry for the home team. A lapse in concentration by captain John Hutchinson let in the Glory who powered forward, however Sainsbury-s timely intervention halted the Glory counter attack and spared Hutchinson-s blushes in his 150th Hyundai A-League appearance.
Having stopped a goal down one end, Sainsbury proved influential in McBreen-s winner just two minutes later. Indeed, the Western Australian born youngster fired a pinpoint pass to the former Falkirk and York City man, who controlled with his left foot before firing home with his right.
McBreen lapped up his fine finish, celebrating in style as he pumped his chest and ran to rejoice with the fans in Bluetongue-s western grandstand.
Despite a few late half chances, McBreen-s goal would prove to be all the home team needed to ensure they claimed their first win of the 2012/13 Hyundai A-League campaign.
Post match, Mariners boss Graham Arnold said he was pleased that his team showed improvement from their round 1 draw against A-League new boys Western Sydney Wanderers.
“Last week was probably a five and today was about a six (out of ten),” Arnold said. “We can do much better and we have to do much better. The standard of the A-League is going up and we need to go up with it.”
“I don-t want us to be in form in October, we weren-t last year. We build into the season and it-s important that we-re fit and we grind out results and we-re strong defensively.”
Arnold also shared his delight with the performance of 20-year-old defender Sainsbury.
“A lot of people were worried and concerned when we lost Alex Wilkinson but I have a lot of faith in Australian youngsters and Trent Sainsbury who has been with us for two years has had to sit back and be patient. He has learnt the ropes off ‘Wilko- (Wilkinson) and Patrick (Zwaanswijk) and I thought today he was superb,” he said.
Arnold believes the Mariners will have to lift again against northern foes Newcastle Jets next Saturday 20 October when the two teams meet in an F3 Derby at Hunter Stadium.
“Next week we will have to go up another couple of levels because I thought Newcastle were very good last night against Sydney in a wonderful spectacle. It-s still a work in progress and we will only get better.”
Central Coast Mariners: 1. Mathew Ryan (Gk), 3. Joshua Rose, 4. Pedj Bojic, 6. Patrick Zwaanswijk, 7. John Hutchinson (c), 9. Bernie Ibini, 10. Tomas Rogic (5. Zachary Anderson 90+3-), 16. Trent Sainsbury, 18. Nick Montgomery, 19. Mitchell Duke (2. Daniel McBreen 63-), 21. Mile Sterjovski (8. Adriano Pellegrino 78-)
Substitutes not used: 20. Justin Pasfield (Gk)
Yellow Cards: Zwaanswijk 35-, Bojic 60-
Red Cards Nil
Perth Glory: 1. Danny Vukovic (Gk), 3. Seb van den Brink, 4. Billy Mehmet, 7. Jacob Burns (c), 8. Dean Heffernan (12. Ryo Nagai 76-), 10. Liam Miller, 13. Travis Dodd, 14. Steven McGarry (6. Nick Ward 79-), 19. Joshua Risdon, 21. Scott Jamieson, 23. Michael Thwaite
Substitutes not used: 5. Steve Pantaledis, 39. Devon Spence (Gk)
Yellow Cards: Thwaite 12-, Burns 23-, Mehmet 81-, Miller 90-
Red Cards: Nil
Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium
Referee: Jarred Gillett