Mariners melt at simmering Bluetongue

The Central Coast Mariners have suffered a 1-0 loss at the hands of the Wellington Phoenix at a sun soaked Bluetongue Stadium this afternoon, where the performance of home side was unfortunately not in accordance with the red hot weather conditions.

The Central Coast Mariners have suffered a 1-0 loss at the hands of the Wellington Phoenix at a sun soaked Bluetongue Stadium this afternoon, where the performance of home side was unfortunately not in accordance with the red hot weather conditions.

Karl Dodd-s header shortly after the break was enough to sink a lethargic looking Mariners outfit that before today-s fixture had not tasted defeat in the Hyundai A-League for five matches.

Indeed, the form that has seen the Mariners become a permanent fixture in the top four was largely absent against a determined opponent that deserved their triumph in oppressive conditions that soared above 30° for almost the entire ninety minutes.

Toil as they might, the Mariners were ultimately unable to penetrate the Phoenix-s in-form backline and consequently suffered a loss at the hands of their Trans Tasman rivals for the first time ever in the Hyundai A-League.

"We had a break last week and training has been OK, but that-s no excuse, you have to switch on for a game," said Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna after the match.

"We had to turn up and do a job today, but we never did.

"I don-t think it was a great game, they came here to frustrate us, which they did and they held out pretty well, even the last five minutes they ran the clock down great and credit to them."

The first half, a fairly even and somewhat uneventful exchange, was exemplary of the sweltering conditions that had to be endured by both teams.

The visitors perhaps dominated the early part of the opening stanza, with Vaughan Coveny and Shane Smeltz at the pointy end of a tricky and ambitious Phoenix line up that ensured returning custodian Danny Vukovic was alert throughout.

Beyond the mid-half drinks break, however, the Mariners enjoyed their best share of possession and chances with Pedj Bojic coming closest with a right-footed snapshot from the edge of the penalty area that inched just wide of the upright following a neat passing exchange with Adrian Caceres.

Caceres- first half performance built upon his impressive showings of late - the former Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory attacking ace looking most likely to breach the Phoenix-s resolute back line.

The Mariners completed the half with their goal intact despite a significant early setback - the withdrawal of lynchpin defender Nigel Boogaard due to a concussion suffered after a head clash with counterpart Coveny.

What ascendancy the Mariners had gained from the latter stages of the opening stanza was quashed shortly after the break when Dodd glanced home a Wellington to corner to hand the visitors the lead with what was the Phoenix-s first ever Hyundai A-League goal at Bluetongue Stadium.

In a bid to salvage a result, McKinna introduced Dylan Macallister at the expense of Caceres on the hour mark, but was forced into a second change only eight minutes later when Andrew Clark dislocated his right shoulder and subsequently made way for Bradley Porter.

The Mariners- newcomers did their best to inspire their team-mates upon their respective introductions and while the added physical presence offered by Macallister was noteworthy, the Mariners were unable to manufacture a clear cut shot on goal.

However, Mile Jedinak-s outstanding long-range free kick was almost one for the highlights reels - the Qantas Socceroo cannoning and unbelievable strike from some 30 metres off the crossbar to further boost his reputation as the premier dead ball specialist in the country.

"It-s probably good that it-s a short week, we have recovery tomorrow and then the boys will be off Tuesday and we have Wednesday and Thursday to get ready for the Jets game," said McKinna.

"The good thing about that game is that you don-t need to get the players ready, if you-re playing against a team down the bottom of the league you may have a problem, but against Newcastle I don-t think there will be any issue getting the boys up for the game."

The Mariners- Hyundai A-League season continues at Bluetongue Stadium on Friday, 24 October when they host northern rivals the Newcastle Jets. Kick off is at 8pm.

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 20. Danny Vukovic (gk), 4. Pedj Bojic, 7. John Hutchinson, 10. Adrian Caceres (11. Dylan Macallister 61-), 15. Andrew Clark (5. Bradley Porter 69-), 16. Nigel Boogaard (13. Paul O-Grady 22-), 17. Matthew Osman, 18. Alex Wilkinson, 19. Matt Simon, 22. Sasho Petrovski, 23. Mile Jedinak

Unused Subs 40. Mark Bosnich (gk)

Yellow Cards Jedinak 18-, Simon 61- Red Cards None Goals None

Wellington Phoenix 1. Mark Paston (gk), 3. Tony Lochhead, 4. Jon McKain, 5. Karl Dodd, 6. Tim Brown, 8. Vaughan Coveny (10. Michael Ferrante 64-), 9. Shane Smeltz, 15. Adam Kwasnik (7. Leo Bertos 80-), 18. Ben Sigmund, 21. Lei Lei Gao, 22. Andrew Durante

Unused Subs 11. Daniel, 20. Glen Moss (gk)

Yellow Cards McKain 62-, Gao 83- Red Cards None Goals Dodd 53-

Referee Ben Williams Crowd 9,011