Mariners Brisbane Roar hoodoo lives on

By Paul Green

Hyundai A-League – Season 13 – 2017/2018 – Round 18

7:50pm, Saturday 27 January, 2018 – Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (Blake Powell 63′)
lost to
Brisbane Roar FC 2 (Brett Holman 23′, Matt McKay 54′)

 

This was not the team Central Coast Mariners would have wished to face, given Brisbane Roar’s midweek madness, when everything that could go wrong during their AFC Champions League qualifier against Ceres Negros of the Philippines did go wrong.

The backlash was inevitable, as Mariners’ coach Paul Okon had warned his players during the week, with a completely different performance from the Queensland side than they’d managed on the Tuesday night in Brisbane in front of a paltry crowd, when inept would be a kind description of their effort then.

There was nothing inept about their display on Saturday night, however, even with players still missing and injuries during the match threatening to disturb their focus and control of the match.

They led fairly early only and went further in front early in the second half through skipper Matt McKay, who is Mr. Perpetual Motion in every game he plays, seldom flashy, but always effective in the very middle of the park.

Inept would better describe the Mariners on this occasion, though perhaps only goalkeeper Ben Kennedy, so often the team’s saviour in key moments, could be singled out in that regard, after a couple of uncharacteristic blunders more or less gifted the visitors both goals.

The Mariners hung in there, thanks to a well-struck angled finish from Mariners’ main scoring weapon, Blake Powell, but while there was still half an hour to play and key Brisbane man Thomas Kristensen had hobbled off only eight minutes into the game and later Jade North did the same, yet the visitors, whose record against the Mariners is second- to-none, saw the game out reasonably comfortably.

A cut-back from Corey Brown after three minutes set up the veteran Italian Massimo Maccarone for a volley which sailed well over the Mariners’ bar

Jacob Melling, settling in well with the Central Coast side after joining them recently, also flashed a shot wide at the other end five minutes later.

The Mariners were bright in the opening period, which saw both teams working hard for the opening goal and definitely not cautious in their approach work.

Josh Rose crossed smartly from the left in the 21st and Blake Powell was at the far post ready to cash in, but his firm shot was cleverly blocked as Brisbane showed their solidity thanks to many experienced hands.

Two minutes later a clearance to near half-way from goalkeeper Ben Kennedy caught Jacob Melling in two minds and the turnover of possession was swift and deadly as the ball was quickly threaded through to Brett Holman to finish adroitly.

Brisbane were looking like a good side by this stage and Holman nearly laid on a second in the 27th as he accepted a pass from Jack Hingert to square the ball across the face of goal, but nobody in an orange shirt (this time with numbers intact) was there to meet it.

Five minutes before the break the same players combined again and this time Maccarone was there to meet the cut-back but Kennedy made amends by just getting to the ball before the 38 year old could pounce.

Once the second half began Central Coast had lost Jacob Melling and gained Wout Brama in the centre of midfield and thereby hangs a tale.

Brama was later to be sent off for a rather irrational high tackle on Roar substitute Corey Gameiro that had many spectators horrified.

Brisbane continued to look the better side after the break and were able to double their lead, this time thanks to a hurried low clearance from Kennedy that barely cleared the penalty area and arrived at the feet of a lurking Matt McKay.

The former Socceroo may not be known as a striker, but his instincts were spot on as he coolly tucked the ball away to make it 2-0.

In the 63rd it was Brama who sent Lachlan Wales away down the left and his pass to Powell saw the prolific striker angle a low finish past Roar keeper Jamie Young.

Gamiero went closest to adding to the Brisbane tally with his 87th minute attempt denied by smart work from the keeper, Kennedy, coming off his line.

The least said about the Brama challenge on Gamiero in the dying stages of the game the better. It happened out wide on the right and with Gamiero facing away from goal and the injured player, who’d had several knee reconstructions already, initially feared the worst.

But as coach John Aloisi reported later, it looked as if Gamiero escaped any further damage to his vulnerable knee.

Aloisi was pleased with the performance observing that his team was on track to make the top-six, having drawn the previous weekend.

He got the response from his team he had been looking for after the abysmal midweek AFC showing.

As for Paul Okon he agreed that the kind of mistakes that led to both Brisbane goals made his team’s task very difficult and said that he continued to be frustrated by the lack of composure in the final third which has limited the number of goals his team has been scoring.

The Mariners now face Western Sydney Wanderers early on Sunday evening in a very important match for both team’s top-six chances.

The release of exciting 25 year old winger Kwabena Appiah-Kubi during the week won’t help the Blue and Navy’s cause, with the youngster securing a place with a South Korean club, but the Mariners have subsequently signed returning 27 year old wide player Jacob Poscoliero, which should compensate to some degree for the loss of the Korea-bound Kwabena.

Brisbane Roar will also be in action at home, this time against Melbourne City in another tough game for them, later the same evening.

Match details

Crowd: 5,264

Central Coast Mariners FC: 1 Ben Kennedy; 4 Jake McGing, 15 Alan Baro Calabuig (c), 5 Antony Golec, , 3 Josh Rose (2 Storm Roux 65); 22 Jacob Melling (23 Wout Brama 45), 6 Tom Hiariej; 13 Kwabena Appiah-Kubi (12 Trent Buhagiar 75), 10 Daniel De Silva, 24 Lachlan Wales; 8 Blake Powell
Subs not used: 18 Tom Glover (rgk), 27 Petros Skapetis

Yellow cards: Alan Baro 53, Jake McGing 83
Red card: Wout Brama 90+4
Coach: Paul Okon

Brisbane Roar FC: 21 Jamie Young; 19 Jack Hingert, 6 Avram Papadopoulos, 13 Jade North (Daniel Bowles 68), 5 Corey Brown; 6 Thomas Kristensen (16 Mitchell Oxborrow 8), 17 Matt McKay (c), 22 Eric Bautheac; 36 Daniel Leck (11 Corey Gameiro 76), 10 Brett Holman, 9 Massimo Maccarone
Sub not used: 31 Brendan White (rgk), 20 Shannon Brady

Yellow cards: Corey Brown 65
Coach: John Aloisi

Points and ratings

Referee: Referee: Adam Kersey 5/10

Assistant Referees: Lance Greenshields and Owen Goldrick
Fourth Official: Adrian Arndt
Video Assistant Referee: Srebre Delovski

Match: 7/10
Pitch 8/10

Weather: Mild and dry

Player points

3. Matt McKay (BR)
2. Brett Holman (BR)
1. Tom Hiariej (CCM),

Photo: Central Coast Stadium (BOTN Archive – by Lowenna Rappo)