Hyundai A-League Season 6

Mariners off to Brisbane & Asia
By Chris Dunkerley

A-League - 2010/2011 Season - Finals Series
Preliminary Final
7pm, Saturday 5 March, 2011
at Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford

Central Coast Mariners FC 1
(Adam Kwasnik 75')
Gold Coast United FC 0

(Photo linked from FFA web site)

Central Coast Mariners joined Brisbane Roar in the Grand Final next Sunday 13th March by winning 1-0 in a close fought game in Gosford tonight over Gold Coast United. By getting into their third Grand Final in 6 seasons the Mariners will also qualify along with the Roar to the 2012 AFC Champions League

A 75th minute shot from striker Adam Kwasnik was all that separated the teams on the score-sheet, but in truth there were very few chances allowed to Gold Coast and those that there were - were handled with an outstanding display by 18 year Mariners custodian Matthew Ryan (which included a world-class double save).

In front of a crowd of the most committed or cash-up from this small community and with a good group of away fans also in the stadium the game started well for the Mariners with Adam Kwasnik making a great surging run up the left side, and sending a well weighted all-the-ground ball for Daniel McBreen who had surged forward in support with defenders scrurrying in attenance. Alas McBreen's attempt to connect was centimetres out and he was unable to make the necessary contact.

Gold Coast tried to take the game to the Mariners, and in the 7th minute Zenon Caravella hit a shot wide on the right, and minutes later a good one-two move saw Bruce Djite escape the off-side trap. One on one with young Matt Ryan he hit his forceful shot to go straight past the keeper who did very well to push the ball well away instead and out of trouble.

From that point the chances were created by the Mariners and the Gold Coast washed up against the Mariners defence led in depth by Rostyn Griffiths and backed by Patrick Zwaanswijk controlling the lively Bruce Djite, and not letting Shan Smeltz get a sniff. As the half wound down Patricio Perez went close with a shot on the turn off a cross by Joshua Rose, and then young right fullback found himself in the penalty area on the right when a cross came high from the left but he was not able to direct a shot goalward.

After the break Bruce Djite got an early chance for the Goal Coast but shot across goal with no-one to follow up. In the 54th minute Oliver Bozanic hit a strong 40m speculator that Gold Coast 'keeper Glen Moss had to parry for a corner. The corner kick found big Patrick Zwaanswijk up, and he sent his header over.

In the 68th minute Adam Kwasnik forced a corner on the right. This time Zwaanswijk directed his header better but it crashed against the crossbar.

The Mariners continued the frustrate the visitors in midfield - where Perez and Bozanic were a constant threat - but were able to push further forward in attack themselves.

The reward came in the 75th minute when with men forward, midfielder Olly Bozanic hit a shot that was blocked by defender Micheal Thwaite who up until then had kept real chances in play down. The ball dropped near Mariners substitute Matt Simon who saw Adam Kwasnik steaming in and left it.

Kwasnik struck it sweetly accross Glen Moss and it nestled in the net to the keeper right. 1-0

Stung by this Miron Bleiberg the Gold Coast coach threw the rest of his dice;, bringing on his final substitutions. Initially it worked with the Mariners pushed back and subs Joel Porter free and hitting a strong shot in the 78th minute that Mathew Ryan parried to his right with one hand. Free out there was sub Adama Treore who left at the ball and struck it on target. Matt Ryan had quickly scrambled right and again saved one handed.

Whether that was a psychological blow or not, the Mariners took back control and had the better of the chances and controlled the time.

Joyous scenes at the final whistle.

Im blown away, said Mariner coach Graham Arnold. I have to say that over the ninety minutes we deserved to win tonight. We were a bit sloppy at times, and tried to go through the middle too much and we tried to correct that at halftime. Throughout the campaign Arnold has showed tremendous faith in youth. Tonight the youth, in the form of Mathew Ryan, Trent Sainsbury and Mustafa Amini repaid the faith with interest.

He added, Our senior players did a great job tonight, but we had two 18 year olds, and a 17 year old out on the pitch, and they stood up and did everything asked of them. Nothing fazes them. Im very happy with the way we played. The belief amongst this group of players is unbelievable. The atmosphere at training on Tuesday was fantastic. Weve had this belief, and Ive had the belief from the start of the season when people tipped us to come in 9th that we had the ability to do something special this year.

Im proud of my players and Im proud of what we have achieved this season. We did our best today, was the positive comment of the usually ebullient Gold Coast coach Miron Bleiberg. They gave everything and in the end the Mariners were the ones who managed to get the vital goal. We are naturally extremely disappointed because we wanted to be there next week, but we are not sore losers and congratulate Central Coast for making it through to the Grand Final".

He added, "Their goalkeeper had the game of his life and congratulations to him also. For a young club we have done well and we would like to say a very big thank you to all the wonderful supporters who travelled here today from the Gold Coast. They were terrific but it just wasnt to be for us today".

The Mariners will need to ensure they do as well as today plus get sharper in shooting to have a chance of a Grand Final win at last - it is as much their time as the Premiers Brisbane. The Mariners record-equalling third Grand Final in 6 seasons will be played against the Premiers Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane at 4pm on Sunday 13th March, 2011 bring the clear 1v2 from this year's league into action for the 6th time this season. Tickets are on sale.

A-League - 2010/2011 Season - Finals Series
Preliminary Final
7pm, Saturday 5 March, 2011
at Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford

Central Coast Mariners FC 1
(Adam Kwasnik 75')
Gold Coast United FC 0

    Crowd: 7,539 (to anyone actually at the stadium this is a laughably low count - was 9K+ - what are you playing at FFA? Double prices for a family & battler community club, then undercount?)


    Central Coast Mariners FC :
    Player listing:
    20. Mathew RYAN (gk), 2. Daniel McBREEN (19. Matt SIMON 69), 3. Joshua ROSE, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK , 8. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 10. Patricio PEREZ (22. Mustafa AMINI 66), 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 16. Trent SAINSBURY, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 23. Adam KWASNIK (7. John HUTCHINSON 86)
    Substitutes not used: 30. Paul HENDERSON (rgk), 24. Bernie Ibini-Isei

    Coach: Graham Arnold

    Yellow Cards: John Hutchinson 88'
    Red Cards: Nil

    Gold Coast United FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Glen MOSS (gk), 2. Steve PANTELIDIS (24. John CURTIS +79), 3. Michael THWAITE (c), 6. Dino DJULBIC, 7.Zenon CARAVELLA, 8.ANDERSON, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 11.Bruce DJITE, 13.Bas van den BRINK (14. Joel PORTER +69), 15.Tahj MINNIECON (22. Adama TRAORE +78), 33.Peter PERCHTOLD
    Substitutes not used: 20. Scott HIGGINS (rgk) 16.Kristian REES

    Coach: Miron Bleiberg

    Yellow Cards: '
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Srebre Delovski 9/10
    Assistant referees: Paul Cetrangolo, Ashley Beecham; Fourth official: Gerard Parsons

    Pitch rating: 7/10

    Game rating: 7/10 (typical tight final)

    BOTN Player Points :

    3. Matthew Ryan (CCM)
    2. Oliver Bozanic (CCM)
    1. Michael Thwaite (GCU)

    Match Report by Chris Dunkerley

Photo Gallery:(All by Lowenna Rappo for BOTN)

(Young goalkeper Matt Ryan spent 20 mins with the fans after the game)

(Mariners fans love their players)

Disclaimer: The content of this report is the responsibility of the writer. Stats are either as recorded by the writer at the game, or as supplied by FFA, or a mixture - no responsibility can be taken for their compete accuracy although we do strive for that. Any photos used here, unless attributed, are as supplied by FFA and used by permission.

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