Three’s a crowd in Booz Company Cup win

The Central Coast Mariners have scored three goals in eight minutes to claim the Booz and Co. Cup, against a spirited Belconnen United side, who kept the yellow and navy scoreless for 68 minutes.

The Central Coast Mariners have scored three goals in eight minutes to claim the Booz and Co. Cup, against a spirited Belconnen United side, who kept the yellow and navy scoreless for 68 minutes.

"I was happy with the second half, but the first half was the same as last year, we never had the ball up front, we never showed up front, the movement was poor, everything was poor. That-s why we took Caceres and Mrdja off at half time, because it just wasn-t good enough. I thought the boys who came on, Nicky Travis did very well, through the whole game I thought Pedj Bojic was outstanding, Adam Kwasnik did well when he came on, Gary Wales did a great job for the full 90 minutes as well," said Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna.

The Mariners made a bright start to their second game in four days, Adrian Caceres keeping Belconnen-s defence busy down the left flank, feeding two early deliveries into the box, and was unlucky neither of them proved more fruitful.

Caceres was involved again soon after as he nodded a header on to Dean Heffernan, whose shot cleared the crossbar.

At the other end, Ian Waldon fired a long-range effort wide of Danny Vukovic-s right upright, but the Mariners were about to enjoy an extended period of dominance.

Three consecutive corners put Belconnen-s defence under immense pressure, Nik Mrdja and Milos Lujic both going close to opening the scoring, while Lujic found himself in a great position on the edge of the box, but watched his shot slide narrowly wide.

Another corner forced the Blue Devils to clear a Mrdja header off the line, before Belconnen had the chance of the half.

Pedj Bojic was ruled to have handballed inside the area, allowing Taylor Beaton the chance to continue a rich vain of goalscoring form in the annual clash, albeit twice for the yellow and navy last year.

His penalty was sent low to Vukovic-s left, but the Mariners custodian was up to the task, brilliantly denying the hosts the lead.

And as the clock wound down, Ahmad Elrich found Adam Kwasnik, who, after a good turn, fired over under heavy pressure from Belconnen ‘keeper Alex Connell.

After making two changes at the break the Mariners returned desperate to break the stalemate, Nigel Boogaard-s header from an Elrich corner somehow staying out, the visitors then surviving a scare at the other end, as Belconnen had a goal disallowed.

Chris Doig flashed a header just wide as the Mariners pushed hard for a breakthrough, Elrich shooting straight at replacement ‘keeper Will Laurie, and Lim Dong Sup headed over from shot range after latching on to a Nicky Travis corner.

Sup made amends on 68 minutes though when he tapped in after a goalmouth scramble, to finally give the yellow and navy the advantage, and two minutes later the lead was doubled, Gary Wales having his initial shot blocked, before finishing neatly into the bottom corner.

"Happy with the second half, we could have scored a few more, I think we had three or four cleared off the line, but it-s not about the score. It-s pre-season for us, we-ve only been training for a week, we trained hard this morning, and it-s just about getting through the game. But you have to show mental toughness, and in the first half we didn-t do that, but in the second half we did.

"It was always going to be hard, there were unlimited subs which was good for us, for our fitness it was great for us, and in the second half it was a far better performance, but you need to put in for 90 minutes, so I-ll be looking for a better second half on Sunday," McKinna said.

Ahmad Elrich then made it three goals in eight minutes in spectacular style, as Wales played the ball down for the Qantas Socceroo to volley brilliantly past Laurie, and seal the deal.

"Pedj switched it and I think Walesy (Gary Wales) was going to take it, so I just called for it. I saw the ‘keeper a bit off his line so I thought I-d lob him, and luckily enough, it went in," said Elrich.

"We-ve had a very tough week and the boys have a few aches and pains here and there, but the second half showed that when we hit second gear we dominated the game. They had to clear three or four off the line so it could have been a lot more, but at the end of the day, we-re happy with three nil."

Heffernan could have made it four but had a header cleared off the line before firing wide through a crowded area.

Three goals were enough though, to ensure the Mariners unbeaten pre-season would continue.

The Mariners will continue their pre-season campaign on Sunday, 12 July when they take on a Capital Football select XI at the AIS Athletics Track. Kick Off is at 1pm. Tickets will be available at the gate.

Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season are now available online by clicking here or by phoning 1300 767 442.

Match Details

Central Coast Mariners 20. Danny Vukovic (gk), 4. Pedj Bojic, 8. Dean Heffernan, 9. Nik Mrdja (22. Nicky Travis 46-), 10. Adrian Caceres (23. Adam Kwasnik 32-), 13. Chris Doig (5. Brad Porter 73-), 16. Nigel Boogaard, 18. Alex Wilkinson, 20. Ahmad Elrich, 26. Gary Wales, 27. Milos Lujic (2. Lim Dong Sup (46-).

Unused Subs None.

Yellow Cards None Red Cards None Goals Lim Dong Sup 68-, Gary Wales 71-, Ahmad Elrich 76-

Belconnen United 1. Alex Connell (gk) (20. Will Laurie (gk) 46-), 2. Matt Valeri (8. Cam Reinhart 84-), 4. Lee Pietrowski (9. Danny Hately 46-), 5. Taylor Beaton (6. Nuru Somi 66-), 6. Nuru Somi (15. Tai Smith 22- (12. Ian Graham 84-), 7. Callum Beaton (10. Phillipe Borgeaud 22- (7. Callum Beaton 66-), 8. Cam Reinhart (18. Ryan Kyprianou 46-), 11. Davey Kemp (10. Phillipe Borgeaud 84-), 12. Ian Graham (17. Jason O-Dwyer 66 (5. Taylor Beaton 84-), 16. Ian Waldon (19. David Arranz 46-) , 19. David Arranz (3. Ben Harrington 31- (16. Ian Waldon 71-).

Unused Subs None.

Yellow Cards None Red Cards None Goals None

Referee Richard Naumovski Crowd Approx 550