Slater strike sinks Spirit

A crisp 74th minute strike by young gun Tom Slater earned Central Coast Mariners a narrow 1-0 win over Gladesville Hornsby Football Association Spirit FC at Christie Park on Thursday.

A crisp 74th minute strike by young gun Tom Slater earned Central Coast Mariners a narrow 1-0 win over Gladesville Hornsby Football Association Spirit FC at Christie Park on Thursday.

In their second friendly game of the Hyundai A-League 2013/14 pre-season, the Mariners were made to work for their slender win against the well-organised and disciplined Spirit outfit.

Indeed, goal-scoring opportunities for either side throughout the modified 80-minute contest were few and far between, however Slater did make the most of his opportunity late in the match to net his first goal in Central Coast colours.

Mariners- attacker Mitchell Duke intercepted a misplaced pass from the Spirit FC custodian before using his pace to advance down the right flank. Duke cut the ball across the Gladesville danger zone, with Slater locking his foot before firing a firm shot into the back of the net.

Watch highlights from the match below…

Midfield schemer Michael McGlinchey had a chance early on however pushed his shot wide following enterprising work by Duke.

Midway through the first stanza, left back Joshua Rose latched on to a neat pass by Nick Fitzgerald, only to see his powerful low strike on the angle slam the woodwork.

Fitzgerald, who played at attacking midfield throughout much of the fixture, fired a free-kick just wide of goal in the second 45.

However it was left winger Slater who made his opportunity count, stroking a delightful finish beyond the Gladesville gloveman to ensure the youthful Central Coast side narrowly won the pre-season hit-out.

“Our pre-season matches are all about getting minutes into the legs of as many of our players as possible,” Central Coast Mariners Head Coach, Graham Arnold, said following the match.

“Spirit FC gave us a great game and I saw a lot of positives in many of our players tonight. It-s great that Tommy (Slater) finished his chance so well, however across the board I saw some strong signs from our team.”

Central Coast Mariners- next pre-season fixture is against Bankstown City Lions at Jensen Park, Sefton, on Wednesday 4 September 2013. Kick-off in the annual ‘Doug Turnbull Cup- clash is 7:00pm.

Spirit FC 0 Central Coast Mariners 1 (Slater 74-) Christie Park, Macquarie Park