Mariners complete perfect road trip record

The Central Coast Mariners have made it back to back wins on their pre-season tour to Queensland, with a 1-0 victory over A-League newcomer the North Queensland Fury.

The Central Coast Mariners have made it back to back wins on their pre-season tour to Queensland, with a 1-0 victory over A-League newcomer the North Queensland Fury.

Italian triallist Giorgio Di Vicino's first half goal proved the difference between the two sides, in a match dominated in large parts by the boys in Navy and Yellow.

With both sides fielding several players trialling for A-League contracts, Fury coach Ian Ferguson could very easily have been excused for making excuses, however his opposite number insists every match counts.

"It was a trial match but they are a new club and they want to win everything to get some momentum going," said McKinna.

"We-re an established club, but we want to win every game, and with the run we-ve had, whether we-ve deserved to lose or not, we haven-t been winning.

"The win on Friday was big, even though it was State League opposition, it was a good win, and then coming here, it-s the first A-League opponent we-ve beaten in a while.

"Yes they had a lot of triallists, but so did we, we started with six triallists, so to dominate the game for the first 75 minutes - to be fair to them they had a few chances in the last 15 - but they were just chucking men forward, so overall it was a good win. yes it was only a trial, but I-m sure Fergie would be wishing he-d won that, because every game counts," said McKinna.

The match signalled the Mariners first victory over A-League opposition since their 1-0 win over Perth back on New Years Eve.

The Fury started brightly enough, Chris Grossman putting an early effort high and wide, before his through ball soon after was just out of reach of Jason Spagnuolo.

The balance of the game changed though when Dejan Zivkovic found space down the right hand side, his low ball into the area finding Di Vicino virtually unmarked, the former Napoli player easily turning the ball past Paul Henderson and into the back of the net.

Former Blackburn trainee hobbled off just after the half hour with a groin injury, but the Mariners were still able to find another chance before the break, Brad Porter sending Zivkovic down the right flank, his ball in falling at the feet of Di Vicino, the goalscorer flashing his shot wide.

Pedj Bojic made a strong run into the box soon after the restart but couldn't get a clean shot away under pressure, while Vukasin Ristic was also off target, albeit with a first time snap-shot.

From there the Fury began to find their feet, Brendan Santalab headed wide while a Fred Aguius free kick forced the Central Coast to concede a corner.

Danny Vukovic's night became significantly busier too as the clock wound down, twice coming up with one-on-one saves to deny Santalab, then Rudy Saglam, although the referee ruled he had been impeded by Dean Heffernan.

The ensuing free-kick was unable to penetrate the Yellow and Navy wall, ensuring Lawrie McKinna's men were free to enjoy a victory more than 5 months in the making.

"A clean sheet, and some good performances from our boys, Shane Huke did a good job at right back, Boogard and Wilkinson were outstanding and Pedj Bojic had a great game at left back, they were our only first team players start," McKinna said.

"Some good football was played by the triallists and team players. That-s what we asked them to do and they did it.

"We try to win as many games as possible and try to get that belief back, because when you lose confidence its infectious.

"You start winning games, whether they are trials or not, it builds confidence within the team unit again, and the boys walk down that path expecting to win.

"The full focus now is August 6. We have games against Sydney, two games in Canberra, and games against the Gold Coast and Wellington, so the plan is to steadily pick up the tempo and go into that Melbourne game on August 6 looking to win it down at Etihad Stadium.

"It-s important for our members and fans that we are a team at the top of the league, where we deserve to be," said McKinna.

So while the players head on holiday from Wednesday, McKinna and his coaching staff will be working hard at trying to bolster the squad, ahead of the group re-convening.

"There are a few good boys in state leagues we-ll be looking at and also now the European seasons are finished we-ve been offered a lot of them, so we-re going through a lot of CV-s, but it-s important to bring in the right kind of player. Hopefully we can get some quality players, players that fit into the Mariners mould, good, hard working players," McKinna said.

Match Details

Central Coast 20. Danny Vukovic (gk), 2. Giogio Di Vicino, 3. Shane Huke, 4. Pedj Bojic, 7. Matt Crowell, 16. Nigel Boogard, 18. Alex Wilkinson (c), 19. Vukasin Ristic, 22. Dejan Zivkovic, 26. Rostyn Griffiths, 27, Jamie Smith. Subs 5. Brad Porter 8. Dean Heffernan, 9. Nik Mrdja, 10. Adrian Caceras, 14. Tristan Fraser, 21. Ahmed Elrich.

Goals Giorgio Di Vicino 23'

North Queensland 1. Paul Henderson (gk), 2. Robbie Middleby, 3. Chris Tadrosse, 5. Jacob Timpano, 7. Jason Spagnuolo, 11. Brendan Santalab, 12. Marton Vass, 13. Beau Busch, 14. Chris Grossman, 18. Gary Wales, 28. Michael Van Mooelenbroek. Subs 4. Matthew Smith, 6. Roy Krishna, 8. Osama Malik, 15. Fred Agius, 16. Paul Kohler, 20. Tim English (gk), 24. Shane Tobias, 25. Ramone Close, 26. Rudy Saglam, 27. Sam Munro.

Referee Alan Malliner

Crowd Approx 2,000

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