Mariners sunk by Sydney

Christmas cheer will be in somewhat short supply for the Central Coast Mariners this week, after yet another frustrating night at the office, a sublime Alex Brosque finish late in the first half all that separated the Mariners and their southern rivals Sydney FC, in front of a strong midweek crowd at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Christmas cheer will be in somewhat short supply for the Central Coast Mariners this week, after yet another frustrating night at the office, a sublime Alex Brosque finish late in the first half all that separated the Mariners and their southern rivals Sydney FC, in front of a strong midweek crowd at the Sydney Football Stadium.

"We started off well enough but we never supported our front men. We didn-t make runs beyond like Sydney did. They pinned us back and after the first fifteen minutes they started getting on top of us, they were putting men forward and we sat back a wee bit.

"In the second half we started putting men forward, and obviously it opens us up a wee bit on the break which Sydney caught us on a few times, but getting men forward and support around the ball we kept creating chances," said Mariners- Football Manager Lawrie McKinna.

The Mariners- were desperately aiming to avoid the unwanted record of four straight defeats, something which had never happened to the side in the history of the Hyundai A-League, and they went the right way about chasing an early opener, as Dylan Macallister and Alex Wilkinson both tested Clint Bolton early on.

Karol Kisel launched a free kick from 30 yards well over the bar, while at the other end, Michael McGlinchey played a lovely switch to Brad Porter on the right, but unfortunately, Dylan Macallister couldn-t quite get a touch on Porter-s cross.

Alex Brosque went within inches of capping his Qantas Socceroos call up this week with a goal on 19 minutes, after Steve Corica picked out Mark Bridge on the edge of the area, his lay-off was put the wrong side of the far post.

Macallister was busy in the front third, having to stretch full length, but in vain after Matt Simon whipped a ball in from the left.

Nigel Boogaard headed behind for a corner after Terry McFlynn put a ball into the box, and the end to end action continued with Macallister, Simon and McGlinchey all having a go at a bobbling ball in the area.

It was at the wrong end of the pitch though, that the scoring was opened.

McFlynn threaded a pinpoint pass to the feet of Brosque at the left hand edge of the area, and a brilliantly executed shot with the outside of his boot somehow curled around, and inside the near post.

Simon did his best to level on 43 minutes, when he went on a run down the left and turned his man on the edge of the box, but couldn-t get enough bend on his effort, as it sailed past the far post.

The Mariners enjoyed arguably their best chance of the match to that point on 52 minutes, as Michael McGlinchey played a delightful one-two with Matthew Crowell before feeding Dylan Macallister in the area, and his effort produced a fine save low down by Bolton.

Mark Bridge fired a low drive at Vukovic while Heffernan delivered another good ball into the mix just after the hour, Matthew Breeze ruling Matt Simon headed wide, although it appeared Sung Hwan Byun may have got the final touch.

Byun was at the centre of yet more controversy moments later, when there were suggestions he may have handled a Wilkinson shot on the goal-line, but Breeze waved play on.

Simon was unable to connect to a Heffernan delivery on 70 minutes, yet the Central Coast kept attacking, disappointingly though, for little reward.

They won a corner after a mad scramble in the box only for John Hutchinson to fire wide, while Dylan Macallister had a shot blocked after Nicky Travis sent a long throw into the area.

Nigel Boogaard had one last chance to salvage a point for the Central Coast, but he could only head over the bar from a Nicky Travis corner as the clock wound down.

"The second half was OK, what can you say, the boys gave us everything. We had chances, but unfortunately on the night, we never took them.

"Over the course of the season you get the breaks and they even themselves out, but we-ve lost four in a row now and we-re not getting the breaks, four weeks ago we were getting them," said McKinna.

Mariners- midfielder John Hutchinson agreed with his Manager-s assessment.

"We knew as players that we weren-t good enough in the first half, we competed for the first 15 minutes but then they got away in the midfield, once you start losing it your not in the game, it-s not a game at all.

"The four of us in the midfield had to pick our game up, which we did in the second half, we created a lot of half chances and I still think we could have scored a goal and stolen a point, but it wasn-t to be," said Hutchinson.

McKinna paid credit to the strong band of traveling support at the SFS, and says the team is keen on repaying that faith in the New Year-s Eve blockbuster against Wellington Phoenix at Bluetongue Stadium.

"For four weeks now we-ve felt like we deserved two wins and two draws but we-ve got nothing. We can-t dwell on it, we have to refocus on the New Year-s Eve game against Wellington and we need to win it.

"As the league has shown you win a couple of games and you can go anywhere, so that-s what we-ll be focusing on.

"We-re looking forward to the positives, a big crowd at home on New Year-s Eve. The supporters were fantastic tonight and we want to give them something to cheer about at Bluetongue," said McKinna.

The Mariners- next home match of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season will be the New Years Eve extravaganza against Wellington Phoenix on Thursday, 31 December. Kick-off is at 6:00pm. Tickets are available online here or by phoning 132 849.

For more information about the Gosford New Year-s Eve festival go to www.gosfordnye.com.au

Mariners Four Match Christmas Packs are available online by clicking here

Match Details

Central Coast Mariners 20. Danny VUKOVIC (GK), 2. Matthew CROWELL (9. Nik MRDJA 68-), 3. Shane HUKE (22. Nicky TRAVIS 55-), 5.Brad PORTER, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Dean HEFFERNAN, 11. Dylan MACALLISTER, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 18. Alex WILKINSON (C), 19. Matt SIMON.

Unused Subs 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 5. Pedj BOJIC.

Yellow Cards Crowell 36-, Boogaard 57-, Macallister 86- Red Cards None Goals None

Sydney FC 1. Clint BOLTON (GK), 3. Stephan KELLER, 4. Simon COLOSIMO, 6. Karol KISEL (7. Brendan GAN 85-), 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 10. Steve CORICA (C) (2. Sebastian RYALL 79-), 12. Shannon COLE, 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry McFLYNN, 19. Mark BRIDGE (16. Chris PAYNE 90+2-), 22. Sung Hwan BYUN.

Unused Subs 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (GK).

Yellow Cards None Red Cards None Goals Brosque 34-

Referee Matthew BREEZE Crowd 12,689