A stunning 43rd minute free kick from Serbian midfielder Nebojša Marinkovic earned Perth Glory their first ever win at Central Coast Stadium on Sunday, and consigned Central Coast Mariners to their third consecutive defeat in the Hyundai A-League.
Following a first half largely dominated by Phil Moss’s men, Marinkovic sent an unstoppable effort from all of 25 yards beyond Liam Reddy to score what would later prove to be the only goal of the game.
In front of 6,391 supporters on the banks of the Brisbane Water, the yellow and navy enjoyed plenty of periods of promise however couldn’t manage to find a way beyond Glory custodian and ex-Mariners stopper Danny Vukovic.
Indeed, Central Coast pushed Perth via efforts from Nick Fitzgerald, Isaka Cernak, Anthony Caceres and Mitch Duke in the first 45, but each time the opportunities either lacked the power or precision to trouble the 29-year-old goalkeeper, or Vukovic came up with a telling intervention.
Marinkovic’s screamer just before half-time came after a rather needless foul outside the box from a Mariners perspective. Nevertheless, the former Hapoel Haifa midfield schemer showed his class to bend an effort around the wall and beyond Central Coast stopper Reddy to give his side the lead.
Reddy made two strong saves from Irish hitman Andy Keogh in the second stanza to ensure the Mariners remained firmly in the contest, but Vukovic also displayed some of his best work when he reacted sharply to deny Duke on the volley with around 20 minutes remaining.
While the Mariners showed energy late in the game as they sought to find a leveller, even the attacking introductions of Malick Mané, Richárd Vernes and Matt Sim weren’t enough to break down a Glory outfit who advanced to the top of the Hyundai A-League ladder following their win.
Post-game, Central Coast Mariners Head Coach Phil Moss said that he is confident that a return to the winner’s list is not too far away should his men - as expected - stick to their structures and remain unified.
“I thought we completely dominated the first half and I have said all along that I am a process driven coach, and I stick by that,” Moss said. “I want my team to play a good brand of football, a brave brand of football playing out from the back.”
“First half I thought we did that and completely dominated. It was just missing the finishing touches in the top third [and] it’s goals that change games.”
“We created some great chances on the back of fantastic build up play and that really impressed me but obviously the result is the disappointing aspect of today’s outing.”
“We copped the sucker-punch and we couldn’t find the equalising goal second half, but I was very confident that if we could have got the equaliser then we would have gone on with it today.”
“We just have to keep playing the football that we want to play, and if the performances are anything to go by then results will start to come,” he said.
Central Coast Mariners have no time to dwell on Sunday’s loss to Glory, as the Club has the chance to qualify for the inaugural Final of the Westfield FFA Cup this Wednesday. Moss’s men will take on Josep Gombau’s Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium in South Australia this week in the second Westfield FFA Cup semi-final.
Perth Glory 1 (Marinkovic 43’)
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Referee: Peter Green
Central Coast Mariners FC: 2. Storm ROUX, 4. Jacob POSCOLIERO, 7. John HUTCHINSON (C), 9. Mitchell DUKE, 10. Anthony CACERES, 11. Nick FITZGERALD (17. Richard VERNES 82’), 12. Liam REDDY (Gk), 18. Glen TRIFIRO (14. Malick MANÉ 78’), 21. Michael NEILL, 23. Isaka CERNAK (15. Matt SIM 61’), 25. Eddy BOSNAR
Substitutes not used: 1. Matt NASH (Gk), 3. Josh ROSE
Yellow cards: Hutchinson
Red cards: Nil
Perth Glory FC: 1. Danny VUKOVIC (Gk), 5. Rostyn GRIFFITHS (13. Diogo FERREIRA 77’), 6. Dino DJULBIC, 7. Youssouf HERSI, 9. Andrew KEOGH, 10. Nebojša MARINKOVIC (11. Richard GARCIA 74’), 15. Jamie MACLAREN (20. Daniel DE SILVA 71’), 17. Mitchell NICHOLS, 19. Joshua RISDON, 21. Scott JAMIESON, 23. Michael THWAITE (C)
Substitutes not used: 2. Jack CLISBY, 30. Jordan THURTELL (Gk)
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil