Mariners shine in Clash of the Coasts

The Central Coast Mariners have put together by far the greatest 90 minute performance of the season to cruise to a 3-nil victory over top-of-the-table Gold Coast United, and themselves move to within two points of the Hyundai A-League summit.

The Central Coast Mariners have put together by far the greatest 90 minute performance of the season to cruise to a 3-nil victory over top-of-the-table Gold Coast United, and themselves move to within two points of the Hyundai A-League summit.

In a match billed as the clash of the Coasts, the Mariners were looking to ride the wave of their defensive success in recent weeks, by shutting out the league-s highest scoring thus far, and had to weather an early effort from the Hyundai A-League-s leading marksman Shane Smeltz.

The return of Michael McGlinchey seemed to give the entire Central Coast midfield some spark, a short corner was followed by a lovely delivery by Nicky Travis, Pedj Bojic unlucky to fire over the bar.

McGlinchey had a shot blocked after Dylan Macallister latched on to a nice ball over the top from Travis to play a neat pass toward the New Zealand international, and Matt Simon slid a difficult shot from a tight angle across the face of goal as the Mariners pressed for an early advantage.

They wouldn-t have to wait too long either, when Simon took the ball through the middle, and after Matthew Breeze played the advantage when Simon was brought down, Travis picked up the pieces to shrug off two defenders and fire low past Terrigal junior Jess Van Stratten from the edge of the area.

The Gold Coast looked to claw their way back quickly, and after Breeze awarded United a controversial free-kick on the edge of the area, only a brilliant save by Danny Vukovic stopped Brazillian playmaker Anderson from leveling things up with a powerfully taken set piece.

Chris Doig-s return to the starting lineup was resulting in a more settled defensive unit, and he was instrumental in denying Jason Culina after the Qantas Socceroo was put through by Smeltz, to ensure the one goal advantage remained in tact at the break.

There was more to come from the home side in the second half, Nigel Boogaard played a lovely ball up the right wing which was expertly controlled by Simon, the fringe Qantas Socceroo holding off two defenders to take the ball to the edge of the area and slam a low shot underneath Van Stratten.

Bojic headed over after a good ball in from John Hutchinson as the yellow and navy continued to press, and Dylan Macallister could have made it three on the hour, had it not been for some good defending by Kristian Rees to put the Mariners marksman under pressure as he pulled the trigger.

VanStratten was equal to a curling Hutchinson effort on 63 minutes, and the dynamic of the match would shift further into the hosts favour four minutes later.

Smeltz took exception to an assistant referee-s decision, and for the second time felt the wrath of Breeze, his second booking resulting in an early shower for the Kiwi international.

The Central Coast had never won against ten men until tonight, but they took another step toward the three points on 70 minutes after some wonderful lead up play.

Matt Simon squared it to Pedj Bojic, who in turn sent Michael McGlinchey through the middle, and his ball found Hutchinson in space just inside the area, the Malta international neatly curling his shot around Van Stratten and inside the far post, to seemingly put the match out of the competition frontrunners reach.

And the Mariners resolve did hold firm, putting in by far the most impressive 90 minutes of the campaign so far, by securing yet another clean sheet, and snuffing out the Gold Coast-s attacking capabilities.

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, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Dean HEFFERNAN, 11. Dylan MACALLISTER, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 16. Nigel BOOGAARD (15. Andrew CLARK 90+2-), 17. Chris DOIG, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON (9. Nik MRDJA 76-), 22. Nicky TRAVIS (5. Brad PORTER 59-).

Unused Subs 30. Matthew RYAN (gk).

Yellow Cards Travis 16-, Heffernan 63- Red Cards None Goals Travis 26-, Simon 54-, Hutchinson 70-

Gold Coast United 1. Jess VAN STRATTEN (gk), 2. Steve PANTELIDIS (23. Steve FITZSIMMONS 54-), 3. Michael THWAITE, 9. Shane SMELTZ, 10. Jason CULINA, 13. Bas VAN DEN BRINK, 16. Kristian REES, 17. Matt OSMAN, 22. Adama TRAORE, 24. ANDERSON (25. Steve LUSTICA 88-), 26. Golgol MEBRAHTU (11. MILSON 54-).

Unused Subs 40. Robbie BAJIC (gk).

Yellow Cards Smeltz 9-, 67-, Thwaite 83- Red Cards Smeltz 67- Goals None

Referee Matthew BREEZE Crowd 7,934