Late show secures precious win for Mariners
Not as many goals as usual, but enough drama and excitement to compensate – the Central Coast Mariners defeated their traditional rivals Sydney FC 2-1 in another Bluetongue Stadium classic this evening to rocket to third place on the Hyundai A-League table.
Not as many goals as usual, but enough drama and excitement to compensate - the Central Coast Mariners defeated their traditional rivals Sydney FC 2-1 in another Bluetongue Stadium classic this evening to rocket to third place on the Hyundai A-League table.
Dylan Macallister slotted his fourth of the campaign early in the first half before former Mariners marksman John Aloisi netted from the penalty spot, only for Mile Jedinak to secure all three points for the home side in second half stoppage time.
The Hyundai A-League-s customary heavyweight clash delivered all that it promised in front of 11,220 spectators on a mild Central Coast evening where those clad in yellow emerged victorious and deservedly so.
"I thought we deserved the three points on the measure of the game," said Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna after the match.
"Fortunately for Sydney, they got the penalty to get them back in the game because I thought they never really looked like getting in the game.
"I thought we dominated the first half and deserved to be up by more than one goal - we said at half time that it could come back and bite us, but credit to Sydney they put us under a bit of pressure in the second half but I thought we defended reasonably well.
"Just before we got the penalty the instruction was to run at them and drive at their defence because we have big, strong boys up front, we-ve got pace and thankfully Dylan got the penalty and Mile produced a fantastic finish."
Macallister-s respected reputation amongst Mariners Members and supporters following his match winning effort against northern rivals the Newcastle Jets earlier in the season was only further enhanced after another derby special on eleven minutes.
Certainly not as eye catching as his Round 9 effort but just as effective - Macallister showed great awareness to poke home from close distance after Sydney ‘keeper Clint Bolton could only parry Brendan Gan-s deflection into the path of the Qantas Socceroo hopeful.
Perhaps the Mariners deserved to extend upon their advantage as the first half wore on and such was the comfortable nature exuded by the yellow and navy throughout the opening stanza, there was little need for McKinna to alter his line up in the second half.
Matthew Osman was withdrawn shortly before the hour with a slight strain - making way for crowd favourite and electric wingback Dean Heffernan to make his belated first contribution to the Mariners- fourth Hyundai A-League season.
The festive mood of the Bluetongue Stadium audience was soured shortly after, however, when former Mariners drawcard Aloisi slotted home from the penalty spot despite the best efforts of Danny Vukovic.
Having fouled Aloisi to concede the penalty, Vukovic produced a fine stop only for referee Peter Green to order a re-take after Pedj Bojic was ruled to have encroached inside the penalty area before Aloisi had taken his shot.
Aloisi made no mistake with his follow up and until Jedinak emulated the feats of his former team-mate in stoppage time, the Mariners looked destined to play out a draw that would have been, amazingly, their eighth of the season.
Not to be denied, however, standout Macallister was hacked down by Iain Fyfe on the fringe of the penalty area after receiving a short pass from Heffernan, leaving referee Green with little choice but to provide the home side with a chance from the spot.
Qantas Socceroo Jedinak underlined his class and maturity with a sweet right-footed drive that slammed into the back of the net to secure the yellow and navy a justified, hard earned and crucial three points.
"We-ve had a few draws and the only game that we perhaps didn-t deserve to get a win was the game against the Perth Glory in Perth where we got out of jail - tonight we definitely deserved to get three points," said McKinna.
"It wouldn-t have been a good feeling in the dressing room if we-d come off the park with only a draw.
"Tonight, it was those little things that we improved on - the back four did a great job and the shape in midfield was critical to the win tonight."
The Mariners- Hyundai A-League season continues across the Tasman on Friday, 19 December at Westpac Stadium against the Wellington Phoenix. Kick off is at 5.30pm AEDT.
The Mariners return to their Bluetongue Stadium home on Wednesday, 31 December - New Year-s Eve - for the showpiece of their annual summer holiday extravaganza, which will culminate with a Hyundai A-League fixture against the Perth Glory. Kick off is at 6pm.
Tickets for this match are on sale from Ticketek outlets, from the Ticketek website - www.ticketek.com.au, or via phone on 132 849.
For more information regarding the Gosford waterfront New Year-s Eve festival, visit www.gosfordnye.com.au.
Central Coast Mariners 20. Danny Vukovic (gk), 2. Andre Gumprecht, 4. Pedj Bojic, 5. Bradley Porter, 7. John Hutchinson, 10. Adrian Caceres (9. Nik Mrdja 90-+1), 11. Dylan Macallister, 17. Matthew Osman (8. Dean Heffernan 52-), 18. Alex Wilkinson, 22. Sasho Petrovski (19. Matt Simon 72-), 23. Mile Jedinak
Unused Subs 30. Andrew Redmayne (gk)
Yellow Cards Vukovic 63-, Bojic 64- Red Cards None Goals Macallister 11-, Jedinak 90-P
Sydney FC 1. Clint Bolton (gk), 2. Iain Fyfe, 7. Robbie Middleby, 8. Stuart Musialik, 12. Shannon Cole, 14. Alex Brosque (31. Antony Golec 77-), 19. Mark Bridge, 23. John Aloisi, 28. Bobby Petta (10. Steve Corica 70-), 29. Beau Busch, 32. Brendan Gan
Unused Subs 16. Chris Payne, 20. Ivan Necevski (gk)
Yellow Cards Cole 90-+2, Fyfe 90-+3 Red Cards None Goals Aloisi 65-P
Referee Peter Green Crowd 11,220