United Mariners sink Adelaide

CENTRAL Coast Mariners have piled the pressure on ladder leaders Western Sydney Wanderers with a 2-0 win over Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium on Sunday evening.

CENTRAL Coast Mariners have piled the pressure on ladder leaders Western Sydney Wanderers with a 2-0 win over Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium on Sunday evening.

Daniel McBreen-s fourth minute goal combined with Mile Sterjovski-s stunning late strike ensured Tony Popovic-s Wanderers will now have to defeat a desperate, finals series aspiring Newcastle Jets outfit at Hunter Stadium on Friday evening to guarantee a first-placed finish in their debut season.

McBreen-s neat strike was his 16th of an impressive 2012/13 Hyundai A-League campaign, and came following good combination play by Mitchell Duke and Oliver Bozanic.

Indeed, it was Bozanic who split three Adelaide defenders with a precise pass early on. Making the most of his opportunity, McBreen poked a shot from an acute angle through the legs of Reds custodian Paul Izzo to score the game-s opening goal.

The Mariners were by far the dominant side in the opening 45 in the city of churches. Bozanic-s cross-turned-shot forced Izzo into a smart save 21 minutes in, while Duke would have been disappointed to fire an effort from a good position over the bar ten minutes before the interval.

Justin Pasfield, filling in for Mathew Ryan inbetween the sticks for Central Coast, was rarely troubled by an Adelaide attack smartly marshalled by a well-structured Mariners defence in the first 45.

Reds boss Michael Valkanis introduced Fabio Ferreira for Tomi Juric at the start of the second period, and the shrewd move undeniably influenced the way the home team performed in the second stanza.

In the 54th minute, Pasfield showed fantastic commitment to dive at the feet of Jeronimo Neumann and force the ball away for a corner, while just five minutes later the Mariners could thank the woodwork for thwarting the best efforts of winger Iain Ramsay. Connecting with a long pass, Ramsay fired a fierce left foot volley into the crossbar. Had his shot gone in, it would have been one of the goals of the season.

Graham Arnold introduced Nick Fitzgerald for the impressive Bozanic after 72 minutes, and Fitzgerald-s fresh legs helped produce some great raids for the Mariners in the final 20 minutes of the match.

Indeed, the youngster-s craft helped fashion a number of corners for the away side and helped subdue the momentum Adelaide had been building.

And, it was Fitzgerald who neatly nodded the ball into the path of Sterjovski in the 93rd minute of play. Striking his shot with purpose, the former LOSC Lille man Sterjovski guaranteed the heat would be on Wanderers all week as they think about their duel with Gary van Egmond-s Jets.

Following the game, Central Coast Mariners Head Coach Arnold said he wasn-t surprised by the 2-0 win over Adelaide, nor the performance of his team.

“It-s only everyone else around the place that underestimates the character of our team,” Arnold said.

“It was a wonderful performance today. We just buckled down and did what we do best. For 70 minutes we were very good.”

Arnold also explained the methodologies in place to ensure his side is firing come finals time.

“We-re trying to rotate the players a bit and even their minutes up so everyone will be ready for the finals series,” he said.

Adelaide United 0 Central Coast Mariners 2 (McBreen 4-, Sterjovski 90+3-) Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide

Adelaide United: 20. Paul IZZO (Gk), 3. Nigel BOOGAARD, 4. Jon MCKAIN, 5. Iain FYFE, 6. CASSIO, 10. Dario VIDOSIC, 14. Cameron WATSON, 17. Iain RAMSAY, 19. Jake BARKER-DAISH, 21. Jeronimo NEUMANN (11. Bruce DJITE 74-), 25. Tomi JURIC (22. Fabio FERREIRA 46-) Substitutes not used: 30. John HALL, 18. Fabian BARBIERO Yellow cards: McKain, Boogaard Red cards: Nil

Central Coast Mariners: 20. Justin PASFIELD (Gk), 2. Daniel MCBREEN, 3. Joshua ROSE, 5. Zachary ANDERSON, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 7. John HUTCHINSON (c), 9. Bernie IBINI, 11. Oliver BOZANIC (29. Nick FITZGERALD 72-), 16. Trent SAINSBURY, 18. Nick MONTGOMERY, 19. Mitchell DUKE (21 Substitutes not used: 30. David BRADASEVIC (Gk), 13. Brent GRIFFITHS Yellow cards: Nil Red cards: Nil

Referee: Shaun EVANS Attendance: 8,069