Hyundai A-League - 2011/2012 - Season 7 Finals Series

8 years on for Glory
into Grand Final by pens
By Chris Dunkerley

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Preliminary Final
5pm, Saturday 14 April,
at Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Central Coast Mariners FC 1
(Adam Kwasnik 33')
drew
Perth Glory FC 1
(Shame Smelz 35')
[AET 1-1, Glory go to Grand Final by 5-3 on penalties]


(Said it all for the Glory fans - Photo by Lowenna Rappo)

Perth Glory FC will make their first Grand Final appearance since Parramatta Stadium in 2004 after beating Premiers Central Coast Mariners FC by a penalty with both teams locked 1-1 after extra time had been played.

Glory had come from third to play in the Preliminary Final and were competitive throughout the game, though in truth the Mariners, and indeed Adam Kwasnik himself created enough chances to have wrapped it up after 90 mins. Another top clas performnce from former Mariner Danny Vukovic in the Perth goal and some rushed shooting by Kwasnik and others allowed Glory into that penalty shoot-out twilight zone where it all can change.

Some early probing by Coast's Michael McGlinchey and Adam Kwasnik showed the home side's determination to go for it, but the visitors were pressing hard and making it hard for the Mariners to get wide.

Some work by Glory's Shane Smeltz to create something kept the Mariners defence on it's toes, but the first real chance fell to Tom Rogic off a cross by one of the first raids by Pedj Bojic down the right. Rogic's shot was charged down and deflected for a corner in the 23rd minute.

From a conceded corner on the right in the 32nd minute by Steve Pantelidis off an Adam Kwasnik cross, it was Kwasnik himself who was lurking at the far left post and greatfully accepted the ball as it arrived with him - care of a missed trap by Travid Dodd at the edge of box - and he slammed it into the net past a defender. 1-0

Coach Graham Arnold's, and the home fans, joy lasted only a few minutes. Impressive Glory defender Josh Risdon pushed a ball through the line from the left, to Billy Mehmet who was moving well off-side, and with the inexperienced western Assistant's view perhaps blocked by another Perth player, play continued uninterrupted. Mehmet swung the ball square to where an on-rushing Shane Smeltz was not blocked by Pedj Bojic and the Kiwi goal-scorer slipped it past Mat Ryan. 1-1

The Mariners came out after the break looking for a lead, and Tom Rogic had a shot parried by Danny Vukovic and Josh Rose following could only hit the side netting.

In the 53rd minute Billy Mehmet had the ball in the Mariner's net, but with him and three other Glory players standing in an off-side position it was rightly ruled out.

The Mariners swept up-field and won a penalty after Adam Kwasnik was judged to have been man-handled in the area by Pantelidis. Perth protested and some should have been carded for not clearing the area, but following a long delay the regular penalty taker Patrick Zwaanswijk lifted it against the crossbar, and it was cleared.

The home side largely dominated the rest of regular time, with Danny Vukovic forced into a number of saves off Adam Kwasnik, plus John Suton and Oliver Bozanic.

Despite some Mariners chances through the 30 mins of extra time, with a Danny McBreen header, Coast substitute Ibini-Esei stirring the side netting, and Joshua Rose forcing Danny Vukovic into a one handed save, the match moved on to into those dreaded penalties to decide who would advance to next Sundays' Grand Final against Brisbane Roar.

The penalties were taken for the Mariners by: Danny McBreen 1 , Alex Wilkinson 2 , Mathew Ryan 3 , Michael McGlinchey (missed), 5th taker not required

The penalties were taken for the Glory by: Shane Smelz 1, Billy Mehmet 2 , Liam Miller 3, Dean Heffernan 4, Jacob Burns 5 - all scored

While it is churlish to argue that the Mariners weren't one of the best two teams over the season - indeed winning the League - Perth Glory are worthy opponents for a first HAL grand-final and will provide a stiff challenge to a back-to-back Brisbane grasp on the post-league 'Toilet Seat'.

Central Coast Mariners coach Graham Arnold praised his team's A-League season and believed his charges were the better side on the night. "I’m a traditionalist and while of course we wanted another crack at Brisbane, for me the Premiership is more important because it rewards consistency,” Arnold said. “Over 27 rounds our players were brilliant – I couldn’t be prouder of their efforts. I’ve said it many times that it’s a joy turning up at work each day.

"Our season is not over. We play Seongnam in Korea this week and our aim is now to qualify for the round of 16 of the AFC Champions League. We are in with a good opportunity to fulfil that target, and can now focus all of our efforts on Asia’s premier club competition", he added.



2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Preliminary Final
5pm, Saturday 14 April,
at Central Coast Stadium, Gosford


Central Coast Mariners FC 1
(Adam Kwasnik 33')

drew
Perth Glory FC 1
(Shame Smelz 35')
[AET 1-1, Glory go to Grand Final by 5-3 on penalties]

    Crowd: 7,572 (Looked more like 9K. After a week of football woe)

    MATCH STATS:

    Central Coast Mariners FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Mathew RYAN (gk), 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 14. Michael MCGLINCHEY, 17. Tomas ROGIC (2. Daniel McBREEN +82'), 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. John SUTTON (9. Bernie IBINI-ISEI +62’), 23. Adam KWASNIK (12. Troy HEARFIELD +101')
    Substitutes not used: 20. Justin PASFIELD (rgk), 16. Trent SAINSBURY

    Coach: Graham Arnold

    Yellow Cards: Tom Rogic 9'
    Red Cards: Nil

    Perth Glory FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Danny Vukovic (gk), 3. Bas van den Brink, 4. Billy Mehmet, 5. Steve Pantelidis (2. Josh Mitchell +108’), 7. Jacob Burns (c), 9. Shane Smeltz, 10. Liam Miller, 13. Travis Dodd (12. Scott Neville +80’), 19. Joshua Risdon, 27. Andrezinho (17. Todd Howarth +58’), 35. Dean Heffernan
    Substitutes not used: 20. Neil Young (rgk), 14. Steven McGarry

    Coach: Ian Ferguson

    Yellow Cards: Steve Pantelidis 53', Billy Mehmet 91', Scott Neville 107', Josh Mitchell 118’
    Red Cards: Nil


    Referee: Srebre Delovski 7/10
    Assistant referees: Matthew Cream (east), David Walsh (west); Fourth official: Chris Beath

    BOTN Player Points:

    3. Danny Vukovic (PG)
    2. Adam Kwasnik (CCM)
    1. Joshua Risdon (PG)

    Pitch rating: 7/10

    Game rating: 7/10

    Match report and ratings by Chris Dunkerley; Photos by Lowenna Rappo

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