Hyundai A-League Season 6

Coasts battle of youth
gives Mariners 2nd
By Chris Dunkerley

A-League - 2010/2011 Season - Round 19 (re-played due to washout)
8pm, Wednesday 9 February, 2011 - at Skilled Stadium, Robina

Gold Coast United FC 1
(Shane Smeltz 84')
lost to
Central Coast Mariners FC 3
(Bernie Ibini-Isei 13’, Mustafa Amini 40’, Mitchell Duke 67’)

(Amini celebrates his first HAL goal - Linked from FFA site)

Central Coast Mariners not only grabbed second place on the table from Gold Coast with a very impressive 3-1 win at Robina on Wednesday night, but did it while drawing intelligently on its NYL side.

The home side faced a tough game, with their trip to, and hard game in, Perth still in their legs; but with a still dangling chance of second if they defeated the Mariners in this game and won their last. Miron Bleiberg was forced to make three changes, and having lost Jason Culina for the season with injury was still looking for that midfield spark. He also brought up Joshua Brilliante and Chris Harold from his runaway NYL side.

Graham Arnold, with two key players out for medical reasons (Patricio Perez and Pedj Bojic) and one (Rostyn Griffiths for rest and probably yellow card reasons) he drew on Mustafa Amini, Trent Sainsbury, Bernie Ibini-Isei, and Mitchell Duke. All these teenagers had been running around at Pluim Park and / or Marconi Stadium in the past 12 days for his youth side.

On a midweek night, on a terrible pitch, with a poor crowd of just over 2,000, the game kicked off.

The home side pressed early, and almost forced a 4th minute error by Mariners skipper Alex Wilkinson whose pass-back to his 'keeper Matthew Ryan was weak - but youngster Ryan was alert and out and swung the ball left to Joshua Rose off the feet of Gold Coast striker Shane Smeltz.

In the 13th minute though the Mariners broke out of their shell and Joshua Rose surged down the right, played a quick one-two with Daniel McBreen, and cut the ball back from the goal-line to Bernie Ibini-Isei. The Nigerian born youngster took it on the half-volley and much as he had done 12 times this season, whacked it past Gold Coast's solid Kiwi custodian Glen Moss. 0-1, and celebrations for Bernie.

In the 28th minute a chance to the home side fell when Dino Djulbic deflected a cross back into the path of Chris Harold, who skied his rushed shot well over the crossbar.

At the other end Mustafa Amini couldn't pick out a team-mate so hit his own shot, skewing wide on the left.

The Mariners tend to use 'keeper Matt Ryan as a sweeper behind the back four but he went to somewhat ridiculous lengths in coming way out of his area in the 36th minute to tackle Adama Traore.

In the 40th minute Rose got down the left again and sent a cross into the area. Adam Traore tried to clear but sent the ball 35m out to Mustafa Amini, who picked his spot and beat Moss for the away side's second goal. 0-2

The second half started slowly, but in the 49th minute righ full-back Trent Sainsbury, making a forward run found 'the heavens opening' in front of him and was unlucky to hit the left upright with his 30m speculator.

It was the visitors making the breaks, but in the 66th minute Shane Smeltz reminded everyone of his danger with a glancing header which went wide on the left.

Substitute Mitchell Duke was patrolling the space in front of the defence on the left, when he was sent a pass from Olly Bozanic and, with characteristic calm and purpose, he slotted the ball past Moss from 25m. 0-3

Smeltz hit a 76th free-kick straight to Matt Ryan but he did much better in the 84th minute when he volleyed a ball knocked into his path by Andrew Barisic, and gave Ryan no chance. 1-3

The hosts continued to press, with Tahj Minniecon and Michael Thwaite both having half-chances late in the game.

It was the Central Coast Mariners however who would celebrate that night.

“I’m blown away to be honest,” said Mariners coach Graham Arnold after the game through CCMFC media.

“I knew what the kids had, Musti has had 18 games this season but Bernie is the leading goalscorer in the Youth League and Mitchell Duke – Perez had some stiffness in his back this morning so we decided to not to take any risks and Dukey got a flight at 5o’clock, got a cab straight from the airport to the stadium and scored a goal, so he’s had a great day. Matty Ryan, what a reaction by him after last week, which shows the character he has and Trent Sainsbury was excellent tonight against Traore.

“You can’t forget the contribution of the senior players when you have kids involved. Patrick (Zwaanswijk), Wilkinson, Hutchinson and McBreen; I use those four as the older ones because Bozanic and McGlinchey are still only 21 and 24 - so the four senior boys, the way they led the team around the park and led the young boys and coached them - I have to say they were fantastic".

“We have 21 players, 16 senior boys and five kids. We work the kids hard and they have developed enormously. At the start of the year I couldn’t have done what I did tonight, but now people are saying what a strong squad we have. At the start of the season you wouldn’t have said that,” said Arnold.

Gold Coast coach Miron Bleiberg conceded post-match to his local media that the better team took the points. “The Mariners were very good and they’re second on the ladder for a reason,” he said. “It hurts to lose such an important game but there is nobody to blame and we just have to cop it on the chin. We have to learn from it and refresh ourselves as best we can to prepare for Saturday’s game. On the positive side, we are in the Finals for the second year running and we are only two years old, so we still have a lot to be proud of.”

The Mariners secured second spot on the A-League table setting up a two-legged non-elimination grand final qualifier with Premiers Brisbane Roar as part of the post-season Championship finals, as they seek participation in their third Hyundai A-League Grand Final in the six seasons.

First there is the not-small thing called a derby with Newcastle Jets, at Central Coast Bluetongue Stadium at 5pm on Sunday 13 February, 2011. Gold Coast travel up the M1 to Brisbane for the derby against Brisbane Roar at a drained Suncorp Stadium.

A-League - 2010/2011 Season - Round 19 (re-played due to washout)
8pm, Wednesday 9 February, 2011 - at Skilled Stadium, Robina

Gold Coast United FC 1
(Shane Smeltz 84')
lost to
Central Coast Mariners FC 3
(Bernie Ibini-Isei 13’, Mustafa Amini 40’, Mitchell Duke 67’)

    Crowd: 2,037


    Gold Coast United FC :
    Player listing:
    1 Glen MOSS (gk), 2. Steve PANTELIDIS, 3. Michael THWAITE (c), 6. Dino DJULBIC, 8. ANDERSON, 9. Shane SMELTZ, 16. Kristian REES, 22. Adama TRAORE, 27. Chris HAROLD (19. Andrew BARISIC +36'), 31. Joshua BRILLIANTE (15. Tahj MINNIECON +53'), 33. Peter PERCHTOLD (23. Steve FITZSIMMONS +88')
    Substitutes not used: 20. Scott HIGGINS (gk)

    Coach: Miron Bleiberg

    Yellow Cards: Andrew BARISIC 60'
    Red Cards: Nil

    Central Coast Mariners FC :
    Player listing:
    20. Mathew RYAN (gk), 2. Daniel McBREEN (17. Chris DOIG +90'+3), 3. Joshua ROSE, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 16. Trent SAINSBURY, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 22. Mustafa AMINI (12. Matthew LEWIS +77'), 24. Bernie IBINI-ISEI (25. Mitchell DUKE +58')
    Substitutes not used: 30. Paul HENDERSON (rgk)

    Coach: Graham Arnold

    Yellow Cards: Nil
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Stebre Delovski 8/10
    Assistant referees: Brad Hobson, Denis Silk; Fourth official: Chris Beath

    Pitch rating: 3/10 (did they actually paint some of the dirt green?)

    Game rating: 7/10

    BOTN Player Points :

    3. Joshua Rose (CCM)
    2. John Hutchinson (CCM)
    1. Olly Bozanic (CCM)
    with special mention to the NYL kids, Amini Ibini-Isei and Duke

    Match Report by Chris Dunkerley

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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