CENTRAL Coast Mariners have closed the gap between ladder leaders Adelaide United to just two points after a well-earned 2-1 win against Brisbane Roar in the Hyundai A-League Round 8 clash at Bluetongue Stadium on Sunday evening.
Bernie Ibini scored and celebrated in style! Image: John Dewberry
CENTRAL Coast Mariners have closed the gap on ladder leader Adelaide United to just two points after a well-earned 2-1 win over Brisbane Roar in the Hyundai A-League Round 8 clash at Bluetongue Stadium on Sunday.
Goals from Central Coast young guns Bernie Ibini and Tomas Rogic sealed the victory for the yellow and navy against Rado Vidosic-s men. Indeed, the triumph was the Mariners- first ever over Roar at Gosford-s idyllic bayside arena.
The hosts looked dangerous from the outset and the Bluetongue faithful didn-t have to wait long to see the Mariners take the lead.
A classy header from youngster Ibini sent his side ahead four minutes in following some neat interplay in the midfield and a pinpoint cross from marauding right-back Pedj Bojic.
Brisbane weren-t happy and were handed a chance of their own ten minutes later as Ben Halloran fired a cross-cum-shot into the box. Nevertheless, he failed to trouble Mathew Ryan, the keeper making a comfortable save.
Gun midfielder Rogic was looking to double the advantage for Graham Arnold-s men not long after as defender Josh Rose played provider following a strong run down the left flank. The recently capped Qantas Socceroo midfielder Rogic struck his curling effort well, but unfortunately for the home team the shot thumped against the woodwork.
Roar responded in the 32nd minute through Massimo Murdocca. The diminutive blasted a low strike past Ryan from the edge of the area.
Soon after tempers began to flare in Gosford as Albanian ace Besart Berisha made a nasty challenge on Mariners stopper Trent Sainsbury. Players from both teams were involved in a heated exchange, with Berisha as well as Mariners marksman Daniel McBreen receiving yellow cards following the melee.
Roar came closest to entering the sheds at half time a goal to the good, however Central Coast skipper John Hutchinson was in the right place at the right time to clear the ball off the line following a goalmouth scramble.
It was a cagey start to the second stanza, with relatively few clear-cut opportunities created by either side soon after the restart.
Rogic sent Brisbane custodian Michael Theo scrambling on the 55-minute mark as he fired a long-range effort just wide.
And the Canberra-born talent was in the action again soon after as he delivered a dangerous ball to McBreen. Brisbane-s defence retreated well, clearing the ball for a corner.
The home side continued to press and were rewarded for their efforts in the 81st minute as an impressive Bojic free kick found New Zealand international Michael McGlinchey. McGlinchey nodded the ball back to Rogic who made no mistake in finding the back of the net for the third time this campaign.
Both coaches decided to make changes as the clock wound down. Rogic left the pitch to a standing ovation from the Bluetongue faithful, while Mitchell Duke entered the fray. Nick Fitzgerald replaced Halloran for Roar.
And Arnold-s men had a good opportunity to add another goal to the scoreboard in stoppage time as substitute Duke slammed the crossbar after receiving a neat pass from Oliver Bozanic.
But goals from Ibini and Rogic were enough for Central Coast to secure their third home win of the season and consolidate their place in second position on the Hyundai A-League ladder.
Post match, Central Coast Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold expressed his delight that his team had made history at Bluetongue Stadium.
“I had no idea of that stat until yesterday,” Arnold said of the fact the Mariners had never beaten Brisbane Roar on the banks of the Brisbane Water.
“The boys made history today which is great. It was a good game overall ... a good spectacle in those conditions. It was tough for both teams but I thought we did very well today.”
And Arnold explained that he believes most clubs' depth will be tested over the coming rounds with many Hyundai A-League players away on Qantas Socceroos duty in Hong Kong.
“I think the next couple of weeks are going to be interesting because there are a lot of players missing with the Socceroos,” he said.
“It will be a test of depth for clubs, for sure.”
“(But) we look forward to a top-of-the-table clash next week against Adelaide here at Bluetongue."
Central Coast Mariners host John Kosmina-s ladder leading Adelaide United outfit at Gosford-s premier entertainment destination, Bluetongue Stadium, on Saturday 1 December, 2012. Kick-off is 5:30pm with tickets available from Ticketek.
Central Coast Mariners 2 (Ibini 4-, Rogic 81-) Brisbane Roar 1 (Murdocca 32-) Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford
Central Coast Mariners: 1. Mathew Ryan (Gk), 2. Daniel McBreen, 3. Joshua Rose, 4. Pedj Bojic, 5. Zachary Anderson, 7. John Hutchinson, 9. Bernie Ibini (11. Oliver Bozanic 70-), 10. Tomas Rogic (19. Mitchell Duke 87-), 14. Michael McGlinchey, 16. Trent Sainsbury, 18. Nick Montgomery
Substitutes not used: 20. Justin Pasfield (Gk), 13. Brent Griffiths
Yellow cards: Hutchinson, McBreen, Montgomery
Red cards: Nil
Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael Theo (Gk), 2. Matthew Smith (c), 3. Shane Stefanutto, 5. Ivan Franjic, 6. Erik Paartalu, 7. Besart Berisha, 8. Massimo Murdocca, 10. Henrique (17. Mitchell Nichols 46-), 11. Ben Halloran (24. Nick Fitzgerald 87-), 19. Jack Hingert (4. Matthew Jurman 70-), 22. Thomas Broich
Substitutes not used: 20. Matthew Acton (Gk)
Yellow cards: Berisha, Jurman, Nichols
Red cards: Nil
Referee: Chris Beath