Mariners defeated under sizzling Perth sun

Central Coast Mariners were defeated 1-0 by Perth Glory in extreme conditions in round 25 of the Hyundai A-League played at nib Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Central Coast Mariners were defeated 1-0 by Perth Glory in extreme conditions in round 25 of the Hyundai A-League played at nib Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Travis Dodd-s opportunistic 25th minute effort after a handling error by otherwise impressive Mariners custodian Mathew Ryan was all that separated the two sides at Chris Beath-s final whistle.

Kicking-off at 4:30pm with the temperature close to 40 degrees, the game was a largely lacklustre affair, with both sides unable to play their usual enterprising football under the sweltering Perth sun.

Glory had the first chance of the match through striker Billy Mehmet. In just the eighth minute of play, Mehmet cracked a shot at goal, however his effort flew directly at Ryan who parried the ball away before claiming the spinning ball at the second attempt.

Although the game should arguably have been delayed due to the oppressive heat, the referees did stop the match in the 20th minute for the first of two drinks breaks. It was shortly after this intermission in play that Glory scored the goal that ultimately won them the match.

Todd Howarth-s cross from wide on the left took a heavy deflection, with Ryan rising to pluck the ball from the sky. Unfortunately for both the keeper and the Mariners, the ball slipped from Ryan-s grasp and kindly into the path of Dodd. Dodd made no mistake in guiding the ball into the back of the net from close range.

Just two minutes after the former Adelaide United played had given Glory the lead, Tomas Rogic nearly clawed Central Coast back into the match. Turning Bas van den Brink inside out, Rogic curled his shot just over the crossbar.

Just before half-time Ryan ensured the Mariners would go to the break only one goal down. Diving sharply to his left, Ryan saved Dodd-s goal bound strike from distance.

After the much-needed interval the Mariners posed a greater threat, enjoying larger chunks of possession and battling hard in their bid to restore parity to the match.

Indeed, Daniel McBreen-s effort just ten seconds into the second stanza was smothered by a desperate Perth defence, while later, substitute Adam Kwasnik curled an effort at former teammate Danny Vukovic and McBreen headed just wide after an accurate ball in from the right.

Ian Ferguson-s fresh substitutes did have an impact on the match, with Brazilian midfielder Andrezinho especially wreaking havoc. The diminutive player fired twice at Ryan in just three minutes of play, but the recent Qantas Socceroo was alert to save the powerful efforts on both occasions.

Shane Smeltz had a golden opportunity to double Glory-s advantage late on, but his low shot was easily claimed by Ryan who after his earlier mishap was proving difficult to beat.

Throwing almost everyone forward as the clock wound down, Graham Arnold-s team won a series of corners but could ultimately not find the final touch needed to level proceedings against a determined Glory outfit.

After the game, both Central Coast Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold and captain Alex Wilkinson refused to use the oppressive conditions as an excuse for the defeat. The duo did however highlight that the temperature took its toll on the quality of the match.

“I thought that we overall probably matched them,” Arnold said. “The effort was good, the performance can be better.”

“I thought it was an average game of football. Give full credit to Perth Glory, but if you ask the 22 players on the pitch how they felt, I think they all would be pretty disappointed with the way they played. It-s not a good spectacle to watch.”

“I just worry about player-s welfare,” Arnold said of playing in the conditions.

Wilkinson added: “The spectacle is just so much worse (under those conditions). There-s no movement, the ball movements slow, the player movements slow, and then that makes for a game where you-re just kicking it long, there-s no possession and it-s not exciting.”

Still leading the league, the Mariners return to New South Wales for the first time in ten days tomorrow to begin preparations for Saturday-s clash with Adelaide United at Bluetongue Stadium.

A home tie with Nagoya Grampus the following week in the AFC Champions League is then backed up by a trip to Wellington to face the Phoenix in the final round of the regular Hyundai A-League season.

Match Details Perth Glory 1 (Dodd 25') Central Coast Mariners 0

Perth Glory: 1. Daniel VUKOVIC (Gk), 2. Josh MITCHELL, 3. Seb VAN DEN BRINK, 4. Billy MEHMET, 5. Steve PANTELIDIS, 7. Jacob BURNS (C) (9. Shane SMELTZ 54-), 13. Travis DODD, 14. Steven MCGARRY, 17. Todd HOWARTH (27. ANDREZINHO 72-), 19. Josh RISDON, 35. Dean HEFFERNAN

Subs not Used: 20. Neil YOUNG (Gk), 26. Brandon O-NEILL

Yellow Cards: Mitchell, Pantelidis, Andrezinho

Red Cards: None

Central Coast Mariners: 1. Mathew RYAN (Gk), 2. Daniel MCBREEN, 3. Josh ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 9. Bernie IBINI (12. Troy HEARFIELD 61-), 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 14. Michael MCGLINCHEY (16. Trent SAINSBURY 83-), 17. Tomas ROGIC (23. Adam KWASNIK 58-), 18. Alex WILKINSON (C)

Subs not Used: 20. Justin PASFIELD

Yellow Cards: Hutchinson, Rose

Red Cards: None

Referee: Chris Beath

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