Mariners secure second friendly win

Central Coast Mariners have defeated a determined Spirit FC team 2-0 at Christie Park, Gladesville tonight in preparation for their forthcoming international friendly with Celtic FC at ANZ Stadium, Sydney on Saturday.

Central Coast Mariners have defeated a determined Spirit FC team 2-0 at Christie Park, Gladesville tonight in preparation for their forthcoming international friendly with Celtic FC at ANZ Stadium, Sydney on Saturday.

With an audience of approximately 400 people watching on, goals to midfielder Adriano Pellegrino and striker Michael Baird ensured the Mariners won their second hit-out prior to their clash with the Scottish giants.

With the two teams playing a modified 70-minute match, it took Central Coast 25 minutes to break the deadlock against a visibly motivated Spirit FC side.

After neat build up play down the left side involving Bernie Ibini-Isei, Michael McGlinchey, and Daniel McBreen, the ball eventually fell for Pellegrino.

Striking a first time shot with his left foot from the edge of the area, the former Perth Glory man-s effort deflected off a Spirit FC defender before nestling in the back of the net.

While the goal had an element of luck to it, Pellegrino-s crisp shot also ensured he kept his good run of scoring form going leading into the game against ‘the Bhoys- this weekend.

Providing a goal and two assists in his debut game for the Mariners last outing against Blacktown City, Pellegrino has enjoyed a fine start to life in the Yellow and Navy.

Mariners mentor Graham Arnold made numerous changes at half time with Trent Sainsbury, trialist Antony Golec and second half captain Rostyn Griffiths the only players to play the entire match.

The raft of substitutions failed to halt the Mariners netting their second, however, with Michael Baird doubling Central Coast-s advantage just after half time.

With the Mariners breaking swiftly down the right side, American trialist Austen Ezzell provided an accurate pass to Baird, who finished neatly with past the Spirit FC custodian with his right foot.

Like Pellegrino, Baird-s goal ensures he enters the match against Celtic on Saturday with two goals from as many games under his belt this pre-season.

Following the match Central Coast Mariners Head of Sports Science, Andrew Clark, said the team was in good physical condition leading into Saturday-s international friendly.

Indeed, arguably the highlight of the night was the return to competitive action of Brad Porter. Playing a 20-minute cameo in midfield, Porter made a welcome return to the Mariners side after a lengthy lay off with injury.

Central Coast Mariners - 2 (Pellegrino 25-, Baird 40-) Gladesville Spirit FC - 0 Crowd: Approx. 400