Mariners miss chance at death

The Central Coast Mariners have agonizingly watched two points slip away, in yet another local derby full of talking points.

The Central Coast Mariners have agonizingly watched two points slip away, in yet another local derby full of talking points.

While the match against Sydney FC may have taken almost 90 minutes to finally reach the boil, once it did, it did in spectacular fashion.

Heading into the match unbeaten so far this campaign, the Mariners could have taken the lead within the first minute, when Ahmad Elrich - into the starting lineup in place of Dylan Macallister - played a lovely ball through to Brad Porter down the right channel, his cross forcing Simon Colosimo to concede a corner, Nigel Boogaard-s back-post header going narrowly over the bar from the ensuing set-piece.

Danny Vukovic was in the action early, when Alex Brosque-s turn and shot forced the Mariners custodian into a fine save, while soon after, Sung Hwan Byun sent a speculator high and wide.

With a midfield battle being played out, neither ‘keeper was required to over exert themselves in the opening half, Vukovic more than up to the task to pick off a Stephan Keller header, although the Swiss international defender had already been ruled offside.

Michael McGlinchey was again impressive in the middle of the park, and he almost put Adam Kwasnik through, his pass weighted fractionally too heavily.

Karol Kisel fired well wide after a good ball in from Alex Brosque was only half-cleared, the Slovakian firing in a corner soon after, only to see Keller flash a header wide.

The Mariners and Kwasnik had two great chances as the half wound down, first firing a shot from the edge of the area off target after picking up a poor pass from Keller, while Shannon Cole made a clinical clearing header which otherwise could have quite easily seen Kwasnik finishing an Ahmad Elrich cross from close range.

The home side started the second half brightly, with Kwasnik putting Matt Simon through, Simon Colosimo called upon to make what could have been a goal-saving challenge.

Soon after, Elrich took the ball down the right and played a good ball into the centre, for McGlinchey to force Clint Bolton into a diving save down low to his right.

Sydney then went within inches of breaking the deadlock, Alex Brosque leaping highest from a Byun corner to send a bullet header cannoning into the crossbar.

With Sydney pushing numbers forward, McGlinchey, again one of the yellow and navy-s best, took off down the right side on the break, before playing Brad Porter through, his cross in finding Elrich, who had his deflected shot saved by Bolton.

Both sides were desperately searching for a winner, Pedj Bojic flashing a header wide at one end, while Vukovic made an unbelievable one handed save to deny his former teammate Aloisi from point blank range at the other.

Dylan Macallister found himself free in the right channel and looked like maybe the Central Coast would finally take the lead, his effort though agonizingly squeezing past the far post.

Matt Simon had a chance to steal the three points in the dying moments but couldn-t get a header on target, although there was still time for another chapter in the rich history that is Central Coast vs. Sydney FC derbies.

John Hutchinson made a run into the box and was caught in between a Colosimo and Byun sandwich, giving Strebe Delovski little choice but to point to the spot.

Hutchinson remained on the ground for some moments before eventually being assisted from the field, and Adam Kwasnik stepped up to the spot, with a chance to steal the three points.

Unfortunately for the Mariners front man, his low drive was well saved by Clint Bolton, but the drama was far from over.

Macallister found himself in space on the right edge and fired a low shot goalwards, but once again Bolton would prove the Mariners nemesis.

And at the other end, Terry McFlynn could have dramatically stolen the match with almost the last kick of the game, but his curling effort was wide of Danny Vukovic-s far post, leaving the match scoreless, and the Mariners still unbeaten through the first three rounds.

The Mariners- next home match of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season is Friday, 4 September. Kick-off is at 8pm at Canberra Stadium. Tickets are available online here or by phoning 132 849.

Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season are now on sale by clicking here.

Match Details

Central Coast Mariners 20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Brad PORTER, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Dean HEFFERNAN, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON, 21. Ahmad ELRICH (11. Dylan MACALLISTER 65-), 23. Adam KWASNIK.

Unused Subs 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 9. Nik MRDJA, 22. Nicky TRAVIS.

Yellow Cards Hutchinson 77- Red Cards None Goals None

Sydney FC 1. Clint BOLTON (gk), 3. Stephan KELLER, 4. Simon COLOSIMO, 6. Karol KISEL, 9. John ALOISI, 10. Steve CORICA (c) (19. Mark BRIDGE 60-), 11. Kofi DANNING (7. Brendan GAN 74-), 12. Shannon COLE, 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry McFLYNN, 22 Sung-Hwan BYUN.

Unused Subs 20 Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 17. Matthew JURMAN.

Yellow Cards Byun 29-, Kisel 78- Red Cards None Goals None

Referee Strebe DELOVSKI Crowd 10,029