Mariners make point in Wellington

The Central Coast Mariners have come away from the Hyundai A-League's most challenging away trip with a point to their name, but perhaps deserved more from tonight's keenly contested 0-0 stalemate with the Wellington Phoenix.

The Central Coast Mariners have come away from the Hyundai A-League's most challenging away trip with a point to their name, but perhaps deserved more from tonight's keenly contested 0-0 stalemate with the Wellington Phoenix.

Despite dominating possession and chances throughout, the Mariners were ultimately unable to breach the Phoenix goal over 90 engaging minutes at Westpac Stadium that were among the Mariners' most convincing in recent times.

The draw, the first time the Mariners have not beaten the Phoenix in the Hyundai A-League, brings the Mariners' season four tally to five points, a modest but impressive early season accumulation given the yellow and navy have been away from home for three of the opening four rounds.

The Mariners can now look forward to consecutive home games over the coming fortnight, where they will be hoping to consolidate upon their place in the top four and push for a repeat of their season three Premiership success.

"I thought we dominated most of the game and controlled it, Bosnich had one fantastic save in the second half," said Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna after the match.

"Overall, to get a point over here is a good result, it-s disappointing that we didn-t get three, but it-s our first clean sheet this season, which is good and I thought we looked composed all over the park.

"Last round against Queensland was a good step forward for us and I think tonight was as well as it-s not easy to come here and get a result."

Unquestionably, the Mariners had the better of a first half that produced everything but the goal the visitors so richly deserved.

Sasho Petrovski, Mile Jedinak, Bradley Porter and Matthew Osman were each denied by either the outstretched fingertips of standout Phoenix goalkeeper Glen Moss or the woodwork, with Moss' early stop of Petrovski's diving header a save of the highest quality.

With Jedinak and John Hutchinson particularly dominant in midfield, the Mariners simply controlled the opening stanza only to go to the break without the advantage they had perhaps earned.

Football Manager McKinna would have ordered more of the same in the second half and his charges duly responded at the resumption.

Petrovski and strike partner Matt Simon remained a menacing combination up front, while at the opposite end, Mariners guest player Mark Bosnich was largely untroubled thanks to a near flawless performance from the yellow and navy's back four.

Hutchinson best exemplified the Mariners- luckless return in front of goal early on in the second half, when the midfield ace was twice denied strong claims for a penalty.

The ultimate blow to the visitors- momentum was almost struck on the hour mark when a goalmouth scramble forced a stunning reflex save from Bosnich.

The Qantas Socceroo icon was not to be denied his first ever Hyundai A-League clean sheet and was most convincing for the remainder of the match.

The Mariners- final goal scoring opportunity came from an unlikely source - veteran defender Andrew Clark, who volleyed a sensational long-range effort towards goal with ten minutes to play that was again tipped around the post by Moss.

Indeed, Clark's performance - having suffered a tough challenge from Phoenix midfielder Richard Johnson early in the match, underlined the character of what was a gritty performance from the Mariners in tough circumstances, particularly given the flu virus that has swept through the yellow and navy playing group recently.

"Today was a good boost for the squad - the fifteen players that we had here were the only fit players that we had and they all contributed tonight," said McKinna.

"Next time we-ll try to build on it with a good result against Melbourne at home - our last two results have been pleasing and we-re slowly getting better, we-ll take a lot out of the game tonight."

The Mariners return to their Bluetongue Stadium home on Saturday, 20 September, when they host the table topping Melbourne Victory in Round 5. Kick off is at 7pm.

Tickets for this match are now on sale from Ticketek outlets, from the Ticketek website -, or via phone on 132 849.

Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season are now on sale at

Match Details

Central Coast Mariners 40. Mark Bosnich (gk), 4. Pedj Bojic, 5. Bradley Porter, 7. John Hutchinson, 15. Andrew Clark (6. David D-Apuzzo 83-), 16. Nigel Boogaard, 17. Matthew Osman, 18. Alex Wilkinson, 19. Matt Simon, 22. Sasho Petrovski (10. Adrian Caceres 72-), 23. Mile Jedinak

Unused Subs 13. Paul O-Grady, 30. Andrew Redmayne (gk)

Yellow Cards Hutchinson 51-, Bojic 54- Red Cards None Goals None

Wellington Phoenix 20. Glen Moss (gk), 3. Tony Lochhead, 4. Jon McKain, 5. Karl Dodd (6. Tim Brown 87-), 8. Vaughan Coveny, 9. Shane Smeltz, 11. Daniel (18. Ben Sigmund 72-), 12. Richard Johnson, 13. Troy Hearfield (21. Lei Lei Gao 74-), 16. David Mulligan, 22. Andrew Durante

Unused Subs 1. Mark Paston (gk)

Yellow Cards Johnson 6-, Dodd 18-, Hearfield 45- Red Cards None Goals None

Referee Strebre Delovski Crowd 6,926