A bus breakdown and the weight of history couldn't stop the Mariners recording a historic victory over the Glory in round four of the Hyundai A-League.
With the statistics and opinion stacked against them on Sunday night in Perth, a formidable defensive performance from the Central Coast Mariners lead them to their second away win in 15 tries and a first win against Perth in nine attempts.
Daniel DeSilva put the Mariners ahead with a lovely finish reflective of an outstanding performance, and despite being pegged back by Ivan Franjic’s rebound finish the Mariners had a one-goal advantage at the half thanks to Sam Silvera’s goal on the stroke of the break.
From there it was a resolute defensive performance, and Head Coach Alen Stajcic praised the win as a result built on heart and effort.
“I saw the stat [away record] but I didn’t pass it onto the lads before the game,” Stajcic said.
“I thought we were well organised and really dominated in the first half and created four or five good goal scoring opportunities, while Perth had one or two half chances.”
“In the second half we dug in and showed a lot of resilience and toughness, it was good for the boys to put in a hard shift and to know they can play against probably the best front line in the league and get three points away from home.”
“This is probably the toughest draw of our competition this year,” he continued.
“Two away games in Perth and Melbourne and our bus broke down as well on the way to the airport so it was a two and a half hour trip from the Central Coast to Sydney Airport and then the five hour flight across as well too so we did it tough.”
The Mariners flew out of the blocks to begin the outing with no recognised striker up top, instead relying on a fluid front four of Silvera, DeSilva, Tommy Oar and Milan Djuric to wreak havoc driving forward.
Djuric struck the post early and DeSilva go the rebound caught in his feet as Stajcic’s side stated their intent and the boss was full of praise for his young attackers post-game.
“I thought he [Sammy] was very good and caused them a lot of problems,” Stajcic said.
“He’s such an explosive player and the goal was the reward and their players felt a lot of fear every time he was running one on one which is his strength and I’m really please for his first start in this league.”
“Danny was excellent too, I thought he was controlling the midfield.”
“His ball control and skill made it hard for him to be marked and when you combine that with Tommy and Sammy up front we really had a loaded threat going forward.”
The Mariners now face a testing clash against first placed Melbourne City on Friday night at AAMI Park as they look to solidify their place in the top six.