Mariners fall to Sydney despite strong performance

It was a frustrating outcome for the Mariners at Central Coast Stadium on Sunday night, as the home side controlled the majority of the game but ultimately fell to league leaders Sydney FC.

The Sky Blues broke onto the scoresheet early, Serbian striker Milos Ninkovic capitalising on a defensive mistake to dart in front of goal and fire home just eight minutes in.

Recovering from the early set-back, the Mariners took control and caused plenty of trouble for the Sydney defence as the first half progressed.

After exciting build-up play in the Mariners half, Jack Clisby was unable to head home a clever curling cross from McGlinchey, and the left-back only minutes later lashed an effort over the bar as the ball settled for him to strike.

Danny De Silva, after too heavy a first-touch, took a quick-fire shot from the top of that still had Redmayne diving to protect his goal as the Mariners pushed forward.

As the game heated up, both teams showed signs of frustration. Lewis Miller was shown yellow for a late tackle on Sydney captain Alex Wilkinson, and Paulo Retre was likewise carded for preventing Josh Nisbet from taking a quick free kick.

There was frustration for the Mariners in the dying moments of the  first half, as the referee disallowed a goal from the home side.

Clisby stepped up to take a free kick a minute before half-time, and Gianni Stensness found space to head the ball past Redmayne and in, only for the goal to be chalked off for an infringement in the area.

The frustration continued into the second half for the home side as they controlled the narrative, but couldn’t find the back of the net.

A tired Sydney was consistently on the back foot, the Mariners creating plenty of attacking momentum in front of goal.

Nisbet pulled the trigger from the top of the penalty area, sending the ball just over the goal, and DeSilva continued to pose a threat. Tommy Oar and  Sam Silvera came on for McGlinchey and Miller, bolstering attacking power, and the pressure on the Sydney defence only increased as Matt Simon came on for the final fifteen minutes of play.

Despite the Central Coast’s best efforts, fortified by the frenetic energy of the home crowd, it was Sydney FC who clinched the game in the dying moments. A strike from young substitute Marco Tillio in the 89th was followed swiftly by another from Harry Van Der Saag in the second minute of extra time, and the visitors went home with a 3-0 victory.

Now, the Mariners have their attention set on next Sunday as they hit the road to take on Western United in Geelong.