Five star Mariners on fire in Townsville heat

The Central Coast Mariners have delivered a footballing lesson in the sultry heat of Far North Queensland, in racking up a 5-1 victory over a gutsy North Queensland Fury.

The Central Coast Mariners have delivered a footballing lesson in the sultry heat of Far North Queensland, in racking up a 5-1 victory over a gutsy North Queensland Fury.

While the scoreline may not have reflected it, the Fury could count themselves a little unlucky not to get more out of the match, but Ian Ferguson-s men could do little to prevent a finishing master class.

"Our finishing tonight was outstanding. On paper it looks like a very easy win, but I can assure you it was very hard," said Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna.

"They put us under pressure and hit the woodwork twice. Danny Vukovic showed he is the best goalkeeper in the league with some of those saves, and we did the job.

"It-s hard to come here, with the travel, the time and the humidity. The boys were running their legs off at the finish.

"It-s an achievement to come here and get that many, it-s a credit to the team, their finishing, their concentration and their hard work defensively, because they put us under a lot of pressure."

Brilliantly executed goals to Pedj Bojic, Ahmad Elrich and John Hutchinson, as well as a powerful double to in-form striker Nik Mrdja confirmed back-to-back victories for the first time this season.

More significantly, the club enjoyed its most lucrative day at the office in history, scoring five goals in a Hyundai A-League match for the first time ever.

The Mariners hadn-t recorded consecutive victories this Hyundai A-League campaign before tonight, and were very nearly forced to play from a goal behind after just three minutes, when Fred Agius put Robbie Middleby-s dangerous cross from the right over the bar from around eight yards.

Pedj Bojic volleyed over after Nicky Travis delivered a ball in from the left seven minutes in, and a minute later Adam Kwasnik headed wide, as the yellow and navy began to assert their dominance.

Danny Vukovic was called upon on 21 minutes to pull off a fine reflex diving save low down to his right to block Osama Malik after a lovely ball through by Agius, and less than a minute later, the Mariners would find the lead.

Dean Heffernan played a long ball for Bojic, who controlled at the right edge of the penalty area before sending a powerful volley past Paul Henderson from an extremely tight angle, the ball nestling just inside the far post.

The goal sparked the visitors into action, and it wouldn-t be long before the advantage was doubled.

Kwasnik won a free kick 22-yards out, allowing Nik Mrdja to power a low drive through the Fury wall, the set piece play sneaking inside Henderson-s near post.

That sparked a heavy period of dominance for Lawrie McKinna-s men, as, from the restart, the Mariners very nearly went three up, as Kwasnik broke down the left, only to see his seemingly goalbound effort deflected into the post.

Kwasnik was again in the thick of it seconds later, when his cross whipped in from the right was headed wide by Travis.

The hosts best chance of the first 45 minutes came with virtually the last kick of the half, when Robbie Fowler cannoned a powerful shot into the crossbar from close range, Vukovic doing brilliantly to block Daniel McBreen-s follow up effort, although the big striker was ruled to have been offside.

Vukovic proved the hero again immediately following the resumption when Malik fed a lovely ball through to put David Williams one-on-one, but the Central Coast custodian did brilliantly, pulling off a superb reflex save to his left to keep the two goal buffer intact.

The Fury-s frustration was possibly best summed up by substitute Dyron Daal-s 56th minute strike, the sweetly timed curling effort smashing into the crossbar. No such frustration for the visitors though, who soon made it three.

Bojic played Mrdja into space on the edge of the area, and while he had two teammates unmarked on his right, he opted to fire a low drive goalward, Henderson unable to keep it from rippling the back of the net.

Three minutes later and the Central Coast had four, for the second successive match, Ahmad Elrich with perhaps the most memorable first touch of his career.

Introduced on 61 minutes in place of double goalscorer Mrdja, Elrich sent a sweetly timed volley past Henderson, after good lead up play by Kwasnik and Bojic.

The hosts did manage to claim a goal back, when Rostyn Griffiths - who represented the Mariners in a pre-season trial between these two teams - neatly flicked a David Williams cross past Vukovic on 68 minutes.

Daniel McBreen shot straight at Vukovic soon after, and while the hosts put men forward in an attempt to get something out of the match, the Central Coast defence remained solid.

The night was rounded off on 82 minutes as a long Andrew Clark ball fell for John Hutchinson, who made no mistake to confirm the 5-1 scoreline.

"We-ve done well against teams at the top of the league but struggled against teams at the bottom. Although there-s not much in it we-ve sometimes taken our foot off the pedal, and it was a big mental focus tonight to get back-to-back," said McKinna.

The win provides a huge confidence boost for the team, who will head back to Bluetongue Stadium next Friday night for the first time since the 3-nil victory over the Gold Coast back in October.

"Going back to Bluetongue on the back of a great run is great for us. We have played five games (away from home), three wins, Brisbane, Melbourne and Fury, a draw against Adelaide and we got beaten by Newcastle.

"It-s a huge achievement for the boys getting that form on the road, but going back-to-back gets that momentum going, it-s a huge win for the club," McKinna said.

Pedj Bojic got the ball rolling tonight with his 22nd minute strike, and, along with outstanding goalkeeper Danny Vukovic, was a shining light.

"I-m enjoying the freedom to get a bit further forward now and getting more involved with the play, and tonight I was lucky enough to get on the scoresheet and help out with a few goals, so it-s going well so far," said Bojic.

"This is probably the trickiest part of the season and to get the results we have been is pretty phenomenal for an away record.

"Now coming home, it-s not as though the pressure is off us, because we still have to keep it on and keep the home record going, because we haven-t lost at home yet this season."

The Mariners- next home match of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season will be against Perth Glory on Friday, 27 November. Kick-off is at 8:00pm. Tickets are available online here or by phoning 132 849.

Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season are now on sale by clicking here

Match Details

North Queensland Fury 1. Paul HENDERSON (GK), 2. Robbie MIDDLEBY (24. Dyron DAAL 51-), 3. Chris TADROSSE, 9. Robbie FOWLER, 11. David WILLIAMS, 15. Fred AGIUS (10. Jeremy BROCKIE 61-), 17. Osama MALIK, 19. Daniel McBREEN, 21. John TAMBOURAS, 22. Karl DODD (12. Jack HINGERT 63-), 23. Rostyn GRIFFITHS.

Unused Subs 20. Justin PASFIELD (GK).

Yellow Cards None Red Cards None Goals GRIFFITHS 68-

Central Coast Mariners 20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Brad PORTER, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Dean HEFFERNAN, 9. Nik MRDJA (21. Ahmad ELRICH 61-), 14. Michael McGLINCHEY (15. Andrew CLARK 75-), 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 22. Nicky TRAVIS (2. Matthew CROWELL 46-), 23. Adam KWASNIK.

Unused Subs 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK).

Yellow Cards None Red Cards None Goals BOJIC 22-, MRDJA 35-, 59-, ELRICH 62-, HUTCHINSON 82'

Referee Gerard PARSONS Crowd 7,587