The Central Coast Mariners battled until the last minute at Central Coast Stadium on Sunday afternoon against an undefeated Sydney FC and will rue a missed penalty in their narrow 3-2 loss.
Central Coast Mariners 2 (O’Donovan 66’ & Galloway 76’) Sydney FC 3 (Bobo 43’, 48’, Carney 77’)
The Run Down
The Mariners served up a performance that all Central Coast Mariners supporters can be proud of for our annual pink round that delivered our biggest crowd of the season. It wasn’t the start that the home fans we’re looking for, but an action packed second half saw Central Coast Stadium explode and a show was put on for the 11398 in attendance.
Thanks to Brightfield Group Services the yellow and navy donned pink on Sunday evening in support of women’s cancer research, prevention and support services for the fifth consecutive season.
After a promising 2-2 draw on New Year’s Eve, the Mariners faced another tough test, the undefeated Sydney FC. Despite being the first team to score two goals in one game against the ladder leaders this Hyundai A-League season, a missed penalty and dubious off-side decision would make all the difference at Central Coast Stadium.
One man who was outstanding throughout the 90 minutes of play was 22-year-old shotstopper, Paul Izzo who was called to action from the get go making two clinical saves against Bobo & Filip Holosko in the first few minutes of play.
At the other end of the pitch Roy O’Donovan and Blake Powell had chances to find the back of the net but on both occasions the final strike was just off target in the first half.
When it looked certain for the even first half to end 0-0, Bobo rose to the occasion and created a goal out of nothing just minutes before the break. Bobo would then have his brace on the other side of the break but that would not deter the Mariners at home.
20 minutes later an O’Donovan header from a set piece had us back in the game and the crowd were begging for an equaliser when the home team were awarded a penalty in the 71tst minute. Substitute, Connor Pain proved to be a game changer when he came on and won the penalty after his marauding run down the left saw him chopped down in the box by Grant.
Unfortunately, Fabio Ferreira’s spot kick was off target but the Portuguese flyer wouldn’t be deterred and continued to cause havoc on the wing for the final 20 minutes of play.
In the 76th minute, left back Scott Galloway had his maiden goal for the club to equalise and send Central Coast Stadium into raptures but a dubious David Carney header snatched three points for Sydney FC.
0-1 Sydney FC: Bobo 43’
A superb cross from Michael Zullo was headed down by Holosko into the path of Sydney striker Bobo, who turned and hit the ball sweetly, slotting it into Izzo’s bottom corner.
0-2 Sydney FC: Bobo 48’
Sydney FC doubled their lead thanks to a smart passage of play by Milos Ninkovic just after the resumption of the second half. Ninkovic showed skill in the final third, then played the ball past a diving Izzo into the path of Bobo who finished into an empty net.
1-2 Central Coast Mariners: Roy O’Donovan 66’
The Mariners halved the deficit in the 66th minute when a pinpoint cross from Ferreira was headed back across the face of goal by Sydney FC midfielder, Holosko. O’Donovan pounced and headed home from close range.
2-2 Central Coast Mariners: Scott Galloway 76’
The Mariners brought themselves level in the 76th minute when Scott Galloway was on hand to finish a rebound. Roy O’Donovan’s attempt was blocked by shotstopper Danny Vukovic but Galloway was Johnny-on-the-spot with his follow up.
2-3 Sydney FC: David Carney 77’
Sydney FC regained their lead when David Carney headed home, despite the screams for off-side from the Mariners back four.
Paolo in the press
“From where I was sitting, I thought it was off-side and the replay confirmed it but that’s irrelevant because what I think and what I say now doesn’t change anything,” Okon said. It’s disappointing not to get something from the game, as in points.
“I think the story this season is that we’ve gone down a goal or two and we haven’t been terrible so it’s not so difficult to get back in the game. It’s really no surprise for me that we got back to two all because we have it in us.
“Conceding a goal in the 43rd minute in a half that there wasn’t much football played, it was two teams going at each other and we allow a cross in, and the ball came down with snow on it and we are just watching and allow Bobo to score an easy goal and that’s disappointing that we don’t go to half time at 0-0. Then the second half is what it is and whatever happens happens. It’s those moments that really have hurt us so far and continue to.
“Connor Pain has had a good run and he played 13 straight A-League games and that hasn’t happened in the past two years and for that to all happen at once we felt that Connor just needed a bit of a break."
“For me it’s frustrating because I know we are capable of doing that (playing like that from the start), it’s just a question of doing it for longer periods of the game and I feel that in the first half we just gave the ball away, we thought that we were going to score in two passes and that’s not our playing style. We were playing Sydney FC here, the best defensively structured team in the A-League, we aren’t going to win this game 4-0 and we aren’t going to score in two passes and we needed to be more patient.
“I think it’s two games now where we are really disappointed with the result and we played the two powerhouses of the competition so the belief is there,” Okon said.
Central Coast Mariners: 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 5.Harry ASCROFT, 6.Blake POWELL (13.Kwabena APPIAH 79’), 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR (11.Connor PAIN 62’), 14.Adam BERRY (16.Liam ROSE 62’), 22.Jake McGING
Substitutes not used: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk) & 21.Michael NEILL
Yellow cards: Harry ASCROFT 22’
Sydney FC: 20.Daniel VUKOVIC (gk), 4.Alexander WILKINSON, 7.Michael ZULLO, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.Bobo (18.Matthew SIMON 81’), 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 11.Bernie IBINI-ISEI (17.David CARNEY 67’) , 13.Brandon ONEILL, 21.Filip HOLOSKO, 22.Sebastian RYALL (6.Joshua BRILLANTE 4’) , 23.Rhyan GRANT
Subtitutes not used: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE & 19.George BACKWOOD
Yellow cards: Filip HOLOSKO 38’, Joshua BRILLANTE 65’, Milos DIMITRIJEVIC 88’
Sunday 8 January, 2017
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Central Coast Mariners vs. Sydney FC
Referee: Chris Beath