Mariners hopes wash away in Sydney storm

The Central Coast Mariners have missed the chance to move to the top of the Hyundai A-League, after succumbing 1-nil to Sydney FC on an afternoon which produced four seasons at the Sydney Football Stadium.

The Central Coast Mariners have missed the chance to move to the top of the Hyundai A-League, after succumbing 1-nil to Sydney FC on an afternoon which produced four seasons at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Terry McFlynn scored the only goal of the match to celebrate becoming a father for the first time, in a match which was played in sunny patches, and ended in torrential rain.

"We were poor in the first half, we didn-t compete," said Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna.

Both sides knew three points would take them to top spot on the Hyundai A-League ladder, and it was the hosts to press their claims early on, Stephan Keller heading straight at Danny Vukovic on four minutes, while Alex Brosque was creating plenty of space down the left.

The Mariners too showed they weren-t going to be scared of going forward, on several occasions in the early stages pushing into the Sydney FC penalty area, a Nigel Boogaard header giving Clint Bolton his first task of the afternoon.

The Central Coast had a great chance to take the lead 14 minutes in when John Hutchinson delivered a perfect ball across the face of goal, Dylan Macallister-s header forcing an excellent save by Bolton at a tight angle.

Pedj Bojic sent a free kick sailing just over the bar as the Central Coast continued to press, but Sydney FC took full advantage of one of only a handful of chances in the early stages.

Stuart Musialik whipped in a great ball and Terry McFlynn managed to get underneath his marker to bury a powerful header into the top corner, in his first match back since becoming a father.

"Credit to Sydney, they scored the goal, but it came from us being slack, and most of their chances came from us giving the ball away and being too casual.

"You can-t go out against anybody and take it easy. It was just a flat performance for no particular reason, and you can-t compete like that. We were lucky not to be more than a goal down, but the second half was a lot better," McKinna said.

Steve Corica fired wide soon after and Vukovic did well to save a low Brosque drive, but the Mariners looked comfortable in the midfield and could very nearly have had an equaliser just before the break, when Boogaard-s speculative effort from 25 yards caught Bolton well and truly off guard, the Sydney custodian backpedalling to fingertip the shot over the bar.

"First half was poor but in the second half we started to knock the ball about and put them under pressure. When we did that and shaped up well they usually gave us the ball back which was the plan. At the finish up we could have got something, but the first half performance meant it was always going to be hard.

"We addressed that at half time and I thought our workrate in the second half was a lot better, and hence we had a few chances," McKinna said.

Bolton was spared his blushes early in the second half after fluffing a clearance, the ball rebounding off Macallister to fall at Nik Mrdja-s feet, the Mariners striker unable to get a shot away though with Bolton out of his goal.

It began a period of heavy Central Coast dominance, as Michael McGlinchey first had a shot blocked before forcing Bolton to again produce a fingertip save, when he laced a 30 yard first time volley toward the top corner.

"Michael McGlinchey almost scored the goal of the century, but Clint Bolton has made a great save,” said McKinna.

"The second half Michael was outstanding. I thought Nigel Boogaard was our most solid player over the 90 minutes but Michael in the second half was a different class. When he comes back from Bahrain we-ll be looking for him to step up.

"I-ve said it all along Michael is going to get better, and in the second half today he showed he could be one of the most exciting midfielders in Australia. He did a great job both setting things up and having shots."

The New Zealand international had yet another effort blocked as the Mariners desperately chased an equaliser but once again, time was proving the enemy.

McGlinchey believes he-s feeling more and more comfortable in the Australian game.

"It-s just a case of getting a few games running, I-ve played six or seven games now and I feel a lot more confident now than when I arrived, so its been a good start," McGlinchey said.

Stephan Keller may have thought he was back in Switzerland after falling heavily late on, the time taken to eventually stretcher him off contributing to five minutes of time added on indicated by referee Breeze, but as a fierce storm rolled in, the Mariners hopes of a late equaliser were well and truly drenched.

Matt Simon is expected to return for the Yellow and Navy in next Sunday-s battle with North Queensland at Bluetongue Stadium, and McKinna is looking forward to having the East Gosford junior back on deck.

"You could beat around the bush and say we were fine, but we definitely missed him, so hopefully he-s back next week, which he should be," McKinna said.

The Mariners next home match of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season will be against North Queensland Fury on Sunday, 11 October. Kick-off is at 3:00pm. Tickets for this match are available online here or by phoning 132 849.

Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season are now available online by clicking here or by phoning 1300 767 442.

Match Details

Central Coast Mariners 20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 4. Pedj BOJIC (15. Andrew CLARK 86-), 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Dean HEFFERNAN, 9. Nik MRDJA (23. Adam KWASNIK 68-), 11. Dylan MACALLISTER, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 17. Chris DOIG, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 22. Nicky TRAVIS (5. Brad PORTER 73-).

Unused Subs 30. Matthew RYAN (gk).

Yellow Cards None Red Cards None Goals None

Sydney FC 1. Clint BOLTON, 2. Sebastian RYALL, 3. Stephan KELLER, 4. Simon COLOSIMO, 6. Karol KISEL (12. Shannon COLE 72-), 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 10. Steve CORICA, 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry McFLYNN, 19. Mark BRIDGE (16. Chris PAYNE 84-), 22. Sung Hwan BYUN.

Unused Subs 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 13. Antony GOLEC.

Yellow Cards None Red Cards None Goals McFLYNN 21-

Referee Matthew BREEZE Crowd 13,887