Rose's Late Strike Sinks Gallant Reds

They left it late but goals from Daniel McBreen, Adam Kwasnik and Josh Rose have helped the Central Coast Mariners defeat Adelaide United 3-2 in a seesawing game at Bluetongue Stadium this evening. The match was defined by two sensational periods of play in both halves that saw all five goals scored in just nine minutes of playing time. The win extends the Mariners streak to 15 games unbeaten, and increases their lead at the summit of the Hyundai A-League.

They left it late but goals from Daniel McBreen, Adam Kwasnik and Josh Rose have helped the Central Coast Mariners defeat Adelaide United 3-2 in a seesawing game at Bluetongue Stadium this evening. The match was defined by two sensational periods of play in both halves that saw all five goals scored in just nine minutes of playing time. The win extends the Mariners streak to 15 games unbeaten, and increases their lead at the summit of the Hyundai A-League.

Graham Arnold made several changes to the side that did battle with the Melbourne Heart on Wednesday night, most notably handing a starting debut to teenage recruit Tomas Rogic.

Backing up for their third game in a week, the home side was full of running in a frantic opening few minutes that saw them win several corners. However Adelaide are themselves in the middle of a hot run of form and absorbed the pressure before calmly beginning to counter-attack. John Kosmina has injected a steeliness and ruthlessness into the Adelaide United defensive structure, and it showed as they pressured the Mariners into errors.

On 15 minutes the complexity of the match changed completely when Daniel McBreen netted the opener to give the hosts a one-goal lead. Pedj Bojic delivered a superb cross that McBreen expertly steered past Eugene Galekovic for just his second goal of the campaign. McBreen-s goal triggered a dramatic period of football, which saw the visitors achieve what few sides have at Bluetongue this season and take an early lead against the league-leaders.

Just sixty seconds after McBreen-s effort Sergio Van Dijk netted Adelaide-s equaliser, standing up his countryman Patrick Zwaanswijk in the process with some fancy footwork. Bluetongue is a happy hunting ground for the dynamic marksman, and he had an outstanding first-half frustrating the Mariner-s defenders with his strength, ball distribution and probing runs.

Bruce Djite completed the amazing four minutes of play with Adelaide-s second goal in the 19th minute. Cameron Watson launched a long-throw into the box and Djite was able to outmuscle Alex Wilkinson and slot home his shot.

Adelaide continued to push forward and put pressure on the home side and the two goal-scorers had perhaps two more half chances to extend the lead but were unable to do so.

For the Mariners their best chance of pulling a goal back fell to John Hutchinson after 35 minutes, but unfortunately for the midfielder his shot drifted over the bar.

Bernie Ibini had Bojic both tried valiantly to nab an unlikely equaliser late in stoppage time however neither player could capitalise on their chance and it was the visitors who went into the sheds with a 2-1 lead.

After not getting much possession in the opening term, the Mariners clearly wanted to control the tempo of the play in the second half and immediately set about turning the possession count into their favour. Michael McGlinchey whipped in a cross on 50 minutes that Ibini couldn-t quite manage to get his body into position to unleash a powerful drive.

The Mariners were controlling the match with some slick passing movements, and the visitors appeared to be getting frustrated. Graham Arnold sensed that the time had come to call in the cavalry was nigh, and he wanted to inject sheer speed into the match to take advantage of a tired Adelaide defence. Tomas Rogic showed glimpses of skill in his debut match including some deft touches that bamboozled the Adelaide defenders. It was an encouraging start for the youngster.

Adam Kwasnik made plenty of headlines for his heroics against the Melbourne Heart on Wednesday night, and he will no doubt get some column inches tomorrow with his sublime effort in the 74th minute that drew the Mariners level. Oliver Bozanic who made a strong impact off the bench floated a cross to the marksman who controlled the ball brilliantly with an outstretched foot that allowed him the time to tee himself up and blast a shot past Galekovic.

Just as the opening goal of the match triggered an incredible period of play, so too did Kwasnik-s efforts. van Dijk who hadn-t been able to get many touches of the ball in the first half went within inches of scoring in the 77th minute. The striker unleashed a powerful shot that cannoned off the post before Mat Ryan dived desperately to prevent it crossing the line. While the incident will no doubt renew calls for goal-line technology van Dijk to his credit believed that the correct call was made, saying after the game that he didn-t think the whole of the ball crossed the line. Football truly is a game of inches.

The game then experienced another turning point. Just as Adelaide went the length of the field in the first-half so too did the Mariners in the second. Troy Hearfield was proving a handful for the Adelaide defence using his speed and agility to get in and behind them. On this occasion he was able to pick out McBreen with a delightful pass that the striker was able to drive towards the goal.

An alert Galekovic showed tremendous athleticism to deny the goal-bound shot but he was only able to parry the shot as far as Joshua Rose. The defender celebrated his new contract with the club in the best possible fashion, netting his first goal of the season to give the Mariners a 3-2 lead.

Stunned by the turn of events Adelaide threw everything at the Mariners in search of an equaliser. Their best chance fell to a player who is very familiar with the Bluetongue turf Nigel Boogaard whose header was denied by an acrobatic save from Ryan.

The Mariners held firm to record a dramatic victory, extended their lead on the Hyundai A-League ladder, and can now look towards a clash with Gold Coast United next Friday night.

Post match, Mariners tactician Arnold lauded his side-s capacity to earn a result against a resolute Adelaide outfit.

“To come back the way they did is mind-blowing,” Arnold said. “I just stayed positive at half-time because I believe so much in the boys, I just told them to play the way we play and stay positive.”

“The wonderful thing about this group of players is they take the game plan and they go with it, and they believe in it.”

“Pushing ‘Rosey- (Josh Rose) into midfield meant that he got closer to the game as well,” he said.

Match-winner Rose put his goal down to timing and anticipation, and felt that the Mariners returned to some of their best form in the second stanza.

“You-ve just got to anticipate things and if your lucks in it will fall for you,” Rose said. “I think the most important thing tonight was that we played some great football in the second half.”

“The belief (within the squad) is very high at the moment.”

Match Details

Central Coast Mariners 3 (McBreen 15-, Kwasnik 74-, Rose 78-) Adelaide United 2 (Van Dijk 16-, Djite 19-)

Central Coast Mariners: 1. Mathew RYAN (GK), 2. Daniel McBREEN, 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 7.John HUTCHINSON (11. Oliver BOZANIC 61-), 8. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 9. Bernie IBINI (23. Adam KWASNIK 56-), 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 17. Tomas ROGIC (12. Troy HEARFIELD 67-), 18. Alex WILKINSON (C)

Subs not Used: 20. Justin PASFIELD (GK)

Yellow Cards: Rose 28-, Hutchinson 59-

Red Cards: None

Adelaide United: 1. Eugene GALEKOVIC (GK), 2. Osama MALIK, 3. Nigel BOOGAARD, 5. Daniel MULLEN, 7. Zenon CARAVELLA, 9. Serginho VAN DIJK, 10. Dario VIDOSIC, 11. Bruce DJITE (17. Iain RAMSAY 74-). 12, Antony GOLEC, 14. Cameron WATSON, 18. Fabian BARBIERO (15. Jacob MELLING 59-)

Subs not Used: 20. Mark BIRIGHITTI (GK), 21. Francisco USUCAR

Yellow Cards: Vidosic 79-

Red Cards: None

Referee: Kris GRIFFITH-JONES

Crowd: 7,478 at Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford