Mariners take the points in Christmas clash

The Central Coast Mariners were rewarded an early Christmas present on Wednesday night, all three points against ninth placed North Queensland Fury in a midweek Hyundai A-League clash at Bluetongue Stadium.

The Central Coast Mariners were rewarded an early Christmas present on Wednesday night, all three points against ninth placed North Queensland Fury in a midweek Hyundai A-League clash at Bluetongue Stadium.

The yellow and navy have now jumped to third spot on the Hyundai A-League ladder after its eighth win this season and closed the gap between Gold Coast United.

Central Coast Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold was happy with the result but believes that his team offered too many opportunities to the visiting squad.

“I-m happy with the three points but that-s where it ends. I think we were a little too negative tonight. We gave North Queensland the opportunity to get back into their shape. But, overall we deserved to win the game, we did had four or 5 good chances,” said Arnold.

Argentine playmaker Patricio Perez returned to the starting eleven for just the third time this season after suffering from a troubling hamstring injury and a controversial suspension since his arrival at the club.

Both teams were desperate for the opener with the Mariners searching for a top-two spot and the Fury looking for a finals berth.

Central Coast key defender Rostyn Griffiths picked up the first yellow card against his former club after a tackle on Bradley McDonald. The travelling opponents failed to take the advantage after a good save from young Central Coast custodian Mathew Ryan.

Mariners striker Adam Kwasnik opened the scoring for the home side in the 28th minute after an impressive cross from Matt Simon which the leading season six club goal scorer sent past North Queensland ‘keeper Justin Pasfield for his eighth goal of the campaign.

The Queenslanders came back fighting minutes later with fringe Qantas Socceroo David Williams providing an assist for his Umina junior teammate Chris Payne who failed to test the Mariners shot stopper.

Mariners midfielder Oliver Bozanic was looking for his first ever Hyundai A-League goal before the break but was denied as he sent the ball just wide of the top left corner of goal.

North Queensland forward David Williams was close to an equaliser for the Fury but his shot was sent past the woodwork.

Both sides decided it was time to roll the dice shortly after as Chris Payne was substituted for Dyron Daal and the crowd favourite Mustafa Amini entered the field for Argentine midfielder Patricio Perez.

North Queensland Fury midfielder Panny Nikas was looking for a warm welcome on his return to his former ground.

He was denied the opportunity to level the score as he shot straight across the face of goal, and the Mariners held on for the three points.

“They-re always dangerous with people like David Williams we tried to nullify him tonight. They are obviously going thru a tough time they have had four games in fourteen days. You have to give full credit to North Queensland,” Arnold said.

The Central Coast Mariners kick started a massive run of home matches over the Christmas and New Year period for the bluetongue faithful. The home side is now ready to take on second placed Adelaide United.

The Central Coast Mariners next match of the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season will be against Adelaide United this Sunday, 26 December at Bluetongue Stadium. Kick-off is at 5:00pm AEDT and tickets are available by CLICKING HERE or by phoning 132 849.

Mariners five match Memberships are a great way to save and catch every minute of the Mariners- feast of Festive Football this summer. To purchase CLICK HERE or call 1300 767 442.

Match Details

Central Coast Mariners 1 (Kwasnik 28-) North Queensland Fury 0

Central Coast Mariners: 20. Mathew RYAN (gk), 3. Josh ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 6. Patrick ZWAANZWIJK, 8. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 10. Patricio PEREZ (22. Mustafa AMINI 61-), 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON (17. Chris DOIG 89-), 23. Adam KWASNIK (Daniel McBREEN 74-).

Subs Not Used: 30. Paul HENDERSON (gk).

Yellow Cards: Griffiths 18- Red Cards: Nil

North Queensland Fury: 1. Justin PASFIELD (gk), 3. Brad McDONALD, 5. Mark HUGHES, 6. Ufuk TALAY (c) (21. Jason SPAGNUOLO 77-), 7. Gareth EDDS, 11. David WILLIAMS, 12. Panny NIKAS (14. Chris GROSSMAN 83-), 13. Andre KILIAN, 15. Chris PAYNE (10. Dyron DAAL 61-), 16. Simon STOREY, 24. Ramazan TAVSANCIOGLU.

Subs Not Used: 28. Sebastian USAI (gk).

Yellow Cards: Kilian 81, Tavsancioglu 90- Red Cards: Nil

Referee: Ryan Shepheard Crowd: 5,979 @ Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford.