Late drama in Gosford for New Years Eve

By Corinthian (Paul Green):
Hyundai A-League 2013/14 season, Round 12

6pm, Tuesday 31 December, 2013
Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Central Coast Mariners FC 2
(Trent Sainsbury 12′, Michael McGlinchey 90’+5)
Perth Glory FC 1 (Steve McGarry 84′ pen.)

Central Coast Mariners clinched a 2-1 win over visiting Perth Glory at Bluetongue Stadium on New Year’s Eve with a sensational strike, well into the fifth minute of stoppage-time, to deny the Jacob Burns-led Glory a share of the spoils.

Burns, a central figure in the dismissal of former Perth coach, Alistair Edwards, only two games earlier, found himself the focus of a late series of incidents that led to the winning goal.

The combative midfielder and captain of new coach Kenny Lowe’s youthful side was forced off the field with a facial injury in the 89th minute and then shown the yellow card for dissent after originally being booked for an over-zealous challenge.

When he attempted to return to the field, with an already-bandaged head a second time, having changed his shirt three times, he was seen in frantic discussion with fourth official Tim McGilchrist.

Shortly after that he was shown a second yellow card, followed by a red and Perth played on through the extra five minutes with only ten men.

The Mariners had been coasting along for most of the first-half, having taken a 12th minute lead through a decisive strike by central defender, Trent Sainsbury, but Perth came storming back after the home team took their foot off the pedal in the latter stages, due, largely, to injuries to Sainsbury and fellow central defender Zachary Anderson.

The pair had exited in the 65th and 75th minutes respectively and Mariners’ coach, Phil Moss, had to improvise, sending on Marcos Flores and asking Golden Boot winner, Daniel McBreen, to drop back into a screening role in defence.

Perth sniffed that they now had a much better chance of getting something from the game and with fresh legs thrown on, including the lively Isaka Cernak and Ryan Edwards, they gave an understrength Central Coast defence a few problems.

They had worked hard, being a young side, with only captain Burns and a couple of others like Michael Thwaite and ex-Mariner, Vukovic, in their starting line-up.

Early on, Central Coast’s defence had all the answers to the probing of the skilful Sidnei Sciola Moraes and Ndumba Makeche, with Chris Harold working his way steadily into the match.

Harold, Perth’s scheming and speedy utility forward, who had begun the game on the flanks, pushed forward more and more and he won them a penalty in the 83rd after Sainsbury’s replacement, Marcel Seip, was adjudged to have fouled the Perth attacker.

The experienced Steve McGarry, playing his 100th game or Glory, stepped up and sent Liam Reddy the wrong way with an excellent penalty.

It was a controversial game for referee Evans, who had cautioned Seip for coming off the bench as a sudden replacement for Sainsbury, without the fourth Official having raised the substitution board, although the Mariners’ defender appeared, to onlookers, to have already received the go-ahead to enter the field.

Sainsbury had scored a very nice goal to have the Mariners on good terms with themselves, early in the piece.

After a corner on the right, swung over by Michael McGlinchey – making his penultimate appearance before leaving for Japan’s J. League – the ball was cleared off the Glory line before being fed to Sainsbury who lashed the ball home emphatically from 12 yards.

Chances continued to be created, with Mitchell Duke and Mile Sterjovski playing some of their best football, but poor finishing and solid blocks by the Glory rearguard kept the score at 1-0 until the two Mariners’ defenders were forced off.

Perth, gaining a second wind, came storming back and earned the penalty that could have won them a point.

But with all to play for, as an extended period of stoppage-time loomed, McBreen and co, aided by the introduction of Matt Simon and the earlier man on, Flores, had plenty of ammunition to throw at Glory.

As Glory, too, sought a winner, sensing the defensive frailties of the Mariners, a late counter-attack yielded a popularly-received winner by the 12,919 strong crowd.

Joshua Rose headed against the left-hand upright, but McGlinchey was handily placed to rifle the rebound into the roof of the net and beyond Vukovic for the 2-1 victory.

Home form, once again, is proving sound, even allowing for the one-off 1-0 win over Wellington at North Sydney Oval, 12 days earlier, something Moss acknowledged post-match.

“I thought there was great theatre tonight [and] I thought the game had a little bit of everything,” Moss said.

“I thought we dominated for large periods of the first half and played some really attractive football to play through the lines and to create some openings in the top third.”

“We have to be better with our execution in the top third and that’s something we’ll address, but certainly I thought the first half set the platform for the win and if we had of come out of [the game] with a point or a loss I would have been disappointed because I thought we were good value for the three points.”

Moss said that there is improvement in his team yet.

“We’ll get there,” he said. “It’s a work in progress and we’re looking to improve in all facets of our game every week. I thought tonight there were some real hallmarks of what we’re about at the Mariners. Some quality football, some fighting spirit, they all stuck together, stuck to their guns, kept believing until the 96th minute, and it was all credit to the players.”

“We haven’t been at Bluetongue for a while now because of the game we took to North Sydney Oval. I think it’s massive for the player’s belief to come back here to our fortress and get the three points.

“We’ve got another game here on Sunday [against Melbourne Heart] so if we can back up tonight with another three points on Sunday then that gives us some real momentum but I think tonight was about belief.”

A harried and hurrying Perth coach, Kenny Lowe, dashed into the press conference room to deliver his own words of wisdom before Moss had made his own entrance.

“I thought we were competitive in the second half and they (the Mariners) were well on top in the first,” he assessed.

“We have a very young squad with eleven of our players being under 20 and they are still learning.

“At times they lacked the physicality required, but overall I thought they were magnificent tonight.

The coach was in no mood to dwell on the loss, keen to point out the positives and because his team bus was in a hurry to leave before the nearby roads were closed off, he left it at that.

But, ironically, Perth, who stay in NSW for the Saturday night game in Newcastle, will have to do without Burns, who will be suspended, making new coach Lowe’s task that much harder.

He may have to call upon former coach, Alistair Edwards’, two sons Ryan and Cameron, who travelled over with the squad and were left out of the starting eleven this time, Ryan coming off the bench late to make not a little impact.

Crowd: 12,919

Central Coast Mariners FC
Player listing: 12. Liam Reddy (gk); 15. Storm Roux, 16. Trent Sainsbury (4. Marcel Siep +65′), 5. Zachary Anderson (10. Marcos Flores +75′), 3. Joshua Rose; 8. Nick Montgomery, 7. John Hutchinson (c), 14. Michael McGlinchey, 21. Mile Sterjovski, 9. Mitchell Duke; 2. Daniel McBreen

Substitutes not used: 1. Justin Pasfield (rgk), 11. Nick Fitzgerald

Coach: Phil Moss

Yellow Cards: Marcel Seip 65′
Red Cards: Nil

Perth Glory FC
Player listing: 1. Danny Vukovic (gk); 24. Matthew Davies, 23. Michael Thwaite, 2. Jack Clisby, 25. Riley Woodcock; 17. Chris Harold, 14. Steve McGarry, 7. Jacob Burns (c), 16. Sidnei Sciola Moraes (15. Isaka Cernak +74′), 20. Daniel De Silva (4. Ryan Edwards +55′), 22. Ndumba Makeche (11. Adrian Zahra +55′)

Substitutes not used:  18. Jack Duncan (rgk), 3. Brandon O’Neill

Coach: Kenny Lowe

Yellow cards: Jacob Burns 89′, 90′, Steve McGarry 90′
Red Cards: Jacob Burns 90′

Points and Ratings

Referee: Shaun Evans 7/10
Assistants: Sarah Ho, Lance Greenshields ; Fourth Official: Tim McGilchrist

BOTN Player Points:
3. Daniel McBreen (CCM)
2. Chris Harold (PG)
1. Mile Sterjovski (CCM)

Pitch rating: 7/10
Game rating: 8/10

By Corinthian (Paul Green)

Photo: Lowenna Rappo (Archive photo)