Super Sub Kwasnik Breaks Heart

A clinical 89th minute strike from super sub Adam Kwasnik secured the Central Coast Mariners an important 1-0 win over Melbourne Heart in their week 15 Hyundai A-League clash played at AAMI Park on Wednesday.

A clinical 89th minute strike from super sub Adam Kwasnik secured the Central Coast Mariners an important 1-0 win over Melbourne Heart in their week 15 Hyundai A-League clash played at AAMI Park on Wednesday.

Kwasnik-s late winner came after an accomplished performance from Qantas Olyroos custodian Mathew Ryan - the 19-year-old-s standout effort between the sticks underlining why he is rated as one of Australia-s top goalkeeping talents.

Arriving to meet Michael McGlinchey-s well placed cross at the far post, Kwasnik struck low past Clint Bolton with full-time fast approaching, disappointing all but a handful of the 5,522 fans present at the match.

To be fair to the home side, the goal came largely against the run of play with Melbourne Heart showing throughout the 90 minutes that their current third placing on the Hyundai A-League ladder is a position they warrant.

Indeed, it was the home team who had the better of the chances in the opening 45 minutes of play. Brazilian attacker Alex Terra especially was causing trouble for the Mariners- defence. First, Jason Hoffman released the wily midfielder who had his low shot well saved by Ryan, before his deflected long-range effort cannoned off the woodwork in the 28th minute.

Soon after, Heart left back Aziz Behich met a precise in-swinging cross from the right with a firm header, only to be denied by a flying Ryan. In one of the saves of the Hyundai A-League season, the impressive shot stopper leapt inspiringly to his right to push Behich-s goal bound effort over the bar.

After the interval Heart continued to press Central Coast, urged on by their small but vociferous support - and in the knowledge that a win would lift them within three points of their opponents on the night.

On 55 minutes it was Ryan to the rescue again. With a classy chipped pass from midfield, Terra released Ducthman Rutger Worm. On the volley Worm struck at goal, however Ryan was again up to the task as he lunged left to deny the midfielder.

At the hour mark the game began to seesaw and chances at either began to flow with regularity. For Heart, Terra and Behich were again denied by the Mariners- last line, Ryan, while a marauding Pedj Bojic forced Clint Bolton into a classic save of his own on 59th minute. Qantas Olyroos captain, Oliver Bozanic, also had a snap-shot fly over the bar from the edge of the area for the Yellow and Navy.

But it was Kwasnik, eager to make an impression having been frustrated with a minor injury so far this season, who claimed the Mariners what Head Coach Graham Arnold would later admit to be a ‘lucky- away win.

Measuring his run from deep, Kwasnik was spotted by crafty New Zealand international McGlinchey. Swooping on McGlinchey-s precise cross, the striker met the ball with purpose, bulging the back of the net with a goal worthy winning any match.

After the game, Coach Arnold said it wasn-t a performance his side should be proud of, but that he would prefer to look at the positives stemming from the match.

“We got very lucky and as I just said to the players in the dressing room, ‘don-t celebrate-,” Arnold said.

“I always look at the positives. The character of the team, the defensive structure of the team, we had a red hot Maty Ryan who helped us get the three points. We-ve got to do much better than that, but we-ll take the three points.”

Indeed, Arnold praised his side-s ability to scramble in defence and win ‘ugly-.

“I thought Melbourne Heart were excellent. But that-s the way football goes sometimes. We probably had a bit of luck tonight where other times we haven-t had the luck.

“We defended very desperately at times, we scrambled well, but again Melbourne Heart played the better football than us tonight.

“One thing I always say about the Mariners is that we can win ugly and we can win beautiful, and tonight was a very ugly win."

Match Details

Melbourne Heart 0 Central Coast Mariners 1 (Kwasnik 89-)

Central Coast Mariners: 1. Mathew RYAN (Gk), 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 7. John HUTCHINSON (2. Daniel MCBREEN 73-), 9. Bernie IBINI, 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 12. Troy HEARFIELD (23. Adam KWASNIK 77-), 14. Michael MCGLINCHEY, 18. Alex WILKINSON (C), 22. Mustafa AMINI (8. Rostyn GRIFFITHS 61-)

Subs not Used: 20. Justin PASFIELD (Gk)

Yellow Cards: Wilkinson

Red Cards: None

Melbourne Heart: 1. Clint BOLTON (Gk), 2. Michael MARRONE, 3. Brendan HAMILL, 6. Matthew THOMPSON, 7. Rutger WORM, 11. Alex TERRA, 13. Jonatan GERMANO (8. Kristian SARKIES 66-), 15. David WILLIAMS (9. Calvalho MAYCON 63-), 16. Aziz BEHICH, 17. Jason HOFFMAN (23. Mate DUGANDZIC 73-), 18. Curtis GOOD

Subs not Used: 30. Sebastian MATTEI (Gk)

Yellow Cards: Hoffman

Red Cards: None

Referee: Strebre Delovski

Crowd: 5,522 at AAMI Park, Melbourne