Nine man Mariners edged at Allianz

AN 89th minute goal from Qantas Socceroo Brett Emerton earned Sydney FC a narrow 1-0 win over Central Coast Mariners at Allianz Stadium on Thursday night.

Referee Peter Green issues a red card to John Hutchinson

AN 89th minute goal from Qantas Socceroo Brett Emerton earned Sydney FC a narrow 1-0 win over Central Coast Mariners at Allianz Stadium on Thursday night.

In front of 16,887 fans, the Mariners created numerous chances to defeat the Sky Blues, however couldn-t capitalise at Moore Park with a mixture of poor finishing and determined Sydney defending thwarting Central Coast-s best attacking efforts.

Unfortunately, the Mariners lost their composure late on with captain John Hutchinson sent off for his second bookable offence, before attacking midfielder Tomas Rogic was shown a straight red in the fifth minute of added time. Earlier, striker Daniel McBreen picked up his fifth yellow card of the season, earning an automatic one-match ban.

The ill discipline shown by the Mariners will force Central Coast head coach Graham Arnold to make a number of changes to his side when the Club hosts Perth Glory at Bluetongue Stadium on New Year-s Eve.

Arnold admitted after the match that the cards collected by his men had left him disappointed.

“I thought we played well in patches and we definitely had the chances (to win the game),” Arnold said. “I thought in the final third we didn-t take enough responsibility to shoot.”

“The performance was positive but the ill discipline was the negative of the performance and I don-t like that type of thing at all.”

“We-ve talked many times before about stupid yellow cards and things like that and we-re going to be hurt now for the next game because McBreen-s out and now Tommy as well as Hutchinson.”

Arnold also told the media that his team needed to get used to being targeted by opposition sides given their current place atop the Hyundai A-League ladder.

“We have to get used to the fact we are sitting up the top of the table and teams will lift against us,” he said. “We-ve seen that two weeks in a row with Wellington and now Sydney. Overall it was not a flash night.”

“You saw tonight that they (Sydney) were prepared for the fight, and I think they were still hurting from the 7-2 loss up at Bluetongue and they wanted some revenge and they got it.”

Arnold added that important lessons would be learnt from the defeat, especially for his brigade of youngsters. The former Socceroos boss praised defender Hayden Morton on his efforts on debut.

“I thought Hayden Morton was fantastic in his debut,” he said. “I thought he handled everything that was thrown at him real well. The young boys will learn from it.”

The best of Central Coast-s opportunities to earn a point or better from the fixture came via the boots of McBreen and Rogic. The A-League-s top goalscorer, McBreen, skewed an effort just wide in the 13th minute after Sydney defender Adam Griffiths had gifted the yellow and navy possession.

Midway through the second stanza, McBreen showed silky skills in the box before firing an effort at goal. Sydney gloveman Vedran Janjetovic, however, pulled off a wonder save from to deny the Mariners the lead.

Substitute Mitchell Duke laid on a great chance for Rogic in the 84th minute, however the usually deadly attacker scooped his right foot shot over the bar from eight yards.

And Sydney FC made the Mariners pay for not converting one of their opportunities in the 89th minute. With the ball swung in by Ali Abbas from the left, Emerton leapt above Joshua Rose before steering his header beyond Mariners gloveman Mathew Ryan.

Emerton-s goal wasn-t to be the only late drama on display. Hutchinson-s second yellow saw him dismissed from the field, while deep into added time Rogic was ordered from the pitch after he collided with Rhyan Grant.

Central Coast Mariners won-t have to wait long for a chance to return to the winners- list. The yellow and navy host the purple and white of Perth Glory on Monday 31 December at Gosford-s Bluetongue Stadium. Tickets are available from Ticketek.

Sydney FC 1 (Emerton 89-) Central Coast Mariners 0 Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Sydney FC: 2. Sebastian Ryall, 5. Nathan Sherlock (18. Trent McClenahan 64-), 7. Brett Emerton (c), 8. Adam Griffiths, 10. Alessandro Del Piero, 12. Blake Powell, 20. Vedran Janjetovic (Gk), 21. Yairo Yau (27. Alec Urosevski 75-), 22. Ali Abbas, 23. Rhyan Grant, 26. Peter Triantis

Substitutes not used: 17. Terry Antonis, 33. Matthew Nash (Gk)

Yellow cards: Triantis, Abbas, Powell, Urosevski, Ryall

Red cards: Nil

Central Coast Mariners: 1. Mathew Ryan (Gk), 2. Daniel McBreen (19. Mitchell Duke xx), 3. Joshua Rose, 5. Zachary Anderson, 7. John Hutchinson (c), 9. Bernie Ibini, 10. Tomas Rogic, 14. Michael McGlinchey (21. Mile Sterjovski 71-), 16. Trent Sainsbury, 18. Nick Montgomery, 24. Hayden Morton

Substitutes not used: 20. Justin Pasfield (Gk), 13. Brent Griffiths

Yellow cards: Sainsbury, Morton, McBreen, Hutchinson x2

Red cards: Hutchinson, Rogic

Attendance: 16,887

Referee: Peter Green