Central Coast Mariners will head into their Westfield FFA Cup Round of 16 clash against Queensland NPL outfit Olympic FC on Tuesday with confidence after Phil Moss’s men secured a 1-1 draw with reigning Hyundai A-League Champions Brisbane Roar at Ballymore Stadium on Friday.
The pre-season friendly against Roar was the Mariners’ second clash against a Hyundai A-League rival in the space of six days after the yellow and navy drew 1-1 with Melbourne City in Lismore last weekend.
Now the Mariners will return to Brisbane early next week with the knowledge that they’re yet to beaten this pre-season, and with the firm belief that they can advance to the last eight of Australia’s freshly founded Cup competition at the expense of Olympic.
Moss’s Mariners earned their 1-1 draw with Roar thanks to substitute Nick Fitzgerald’s well-taken 43rd minute goal. After good work between Isaka Cernak and Mitchell Duke, Fitzgerald confidently struck his left foot strike beyond Brisbane custodian Jamie Young from close range.
Indeed, the Mariners enjoyed the better of the opportunities in the first 45 at Ballymore, with Cernak and Duke having chances to break the deadlock before Fitzgerald did.
Cernak’s effort on the turn in the 11th minute went particularly close to finding the net, while Duke will feel he could have done better just after half time when he dragged his shot wide of Young’s right post.
Moss made four substitutions after half time and perhaps this, combined with some more enterprising play by Brisbane in the second stanza, ensured the Roar began to enjoy more opportunities in attack.
Brazilian Henrique, who was introduced into the game in the 59th minute at the expense of Jean Carlos Solarzano, was at the heart of Roar’s best moments, and with just over ten minutes to play he restored parity to the contest.
Having got on the end of a well-weighted pass in the box, Henrique sent a crisp strike beyond Liam Reddy to make the score then, and at full-time, 1-1.
Central Coast Mariners 1 (Fitzgerald 43’)
Ballymore Stadium, Queensland
Referee: Jason Crow
Central Coast Mariners FC: 3. Josh ROSE, 5. Zachary ANDERSON, 7. John HUTCHINSON (C) (17. Anthony CACERES 65’), 8. Nick MONTGOMERY, 9. Mitchell DUKE, 12. Liam REDDY (Gk), 18. Michael NEILL, 25. Eddy BOSNAR (33. Nick PETRILLO 71’), 26. KIM Seung-yong (11. Nick FITZGERALD 32’), 27. Isaka CERNAK (4. Richárd VERNES 58’), 29. Matt SIM
Substitutes not used: 1. Beyhan IRMAKO (Gk)
Yellow cards: Anderson, Vernes
Red cards: Nil
Brisbane Roar FC: 5. Corey Brown, 7. Mensur KIRTISI, 8. Steve LUSTICA, 11. Liam MILLER, 12. Jean Carlos SOLARZANO (10. HENRIQUE 59’), 13. Jade NORTH (C), 15. James DONACHIE, 18. Luke BRATTAN, 19. Jack HINGERT, 21. Jamie YOUNG (Gk), 23. Dmitri PETRATOS
Substitutes not used: 1. Brendan WHITE (Gk), 17. Devante CLUT, Jai INGHAM
Yellow cards: North
Red cards: Nil