Dutch delight as Mariners go back-to-back

A first half goal to Dutch defender Patrick Zwaanswijk has helped the Central Coast Mariners to a hard fought 1-nil victory over a North Queensland Fury side full of heart in Townsville tonight.

A first half goal to Dutch defender Patrick Zwaanswijk has helped the Central Coast Mariners to a hard fought 1-nil victory over a North Queensland Fury side full of heart in Townsville tonight.

With the Townsville Crocs playing an NBL clash across town at the same time, the 3,625 fans at Dairy Farmers Stadium got right behind their side, but in the end it was the handful of Yellow and Navy faithful who could begin the journey back to Gosford content in the knowledge their side has moved to within five points of the Hyundai A-League summit, with two games still in hand.

“I-m very happy,” said Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold.

“It-s not an easy place to come with the humidity but the boys put in a big shift, although I thought in the first half we should have been up 3-nil.

“That-s six points out of six, we gave the players a challenge tonight to make it back-to-back wins and I-m very pleased with the result.”

It took the Mariners just 45 seconds to show their attacking intent, as Oliver Bozanic sent Daniel McBreen away down the left, the big striker whipping in a good ball for Michael McGlinchey to fire just wide from the edge of the box.

Three successive corners ten minutes in had the Fury defence scrambling, but after Chris Doig and Matt Simon saw efforts bundled behind, the hosts were eventually able to survive the raid.

McBreen and Bozanic linked up again on 20 minutes, the former Fury frontman doing plenty of work down the left to deliver to the Avoca junior, but Bozanic-s shot was deflected for yet another corner.

The set piece was only half cleared, but Justin Pasfield, who was keeping busy in goal for North Queensland, easily extinguished an attempt by exciting teenager Mustafa Amini.

The Mariners kept coming and it seemed only a matter of time before the scorers would be troubled for the first time, McBreen heading wide before very nearly finding the opener.

The Mariners striker showed plenty of poise to chip a charging Pasfield, and with the ball seemingly about to cross the line, Andre Kilian appeared from nowhere to clear off the line, as McBreen screamed for a penalty after Pasfield appeared to lead with his studs up around McBreen-s stomach.

The opener wasn-t far away though, with Pasfield producing a great save low to his left after Simon found himself one-on-one to concede yet another corner.

The Fury custodian bettered his previous effort to block both Patrick Zwaanswijk and Simon in a frantic scramble, but he could do nothing from the next set piece, as Bozanic-s ball in found Zwaanswijk at the near post, and the veteran Dutch defender made no mistake, rising highest to head home and give the Yellow and Navy a deserved lead.

Home fans screamed for an equaliser and Umina junior Chris Payne was trying his hardest against his hometown club, first heading at Mathew Ryan before firing a low drive at the Mariners- 18-year-old custodian, who, until that point late in the opening half, had little work to do.

Desperate to find a way back into the contest, the hosts made a change at the break, with livewire Isaka Cernak introduced at the expense of Eugene Sseppuya before Brad McDonald came on for Simon Storey less than 10 minutes later.

Amini-s night ended on 58 minutes after another solid performance in the sapping tropical conditions, and John Hutchinson very nearly doubled the visitors advantage with his first touch, but headed wide after latching on to a Bozanic ball in from the left.

The hosts were very much chasing the game but were giving it their all, David Williams in particular providing plenty of nervous moments, although the Mariners defence was able to minimise the attacking raids to distance strikes.

There was a glimmer of home for Franz Straka-s men with ten minutes to go as Mathew Ryan charged out to the feet of Williams sending the fringe Qantas Socceroo into the air, but referee Gerard Parsons ruled Ryan had parried the ball for a corner, amid wild protests from the men in green.

The rookie shot stopper produced his finest save of the match from the resultant set piece, as Cernak sent a vicious 40 yard strike toward the top corner, only to see Ryan-s gloves intervene at the last second.

North Queensland tempers were being severely tested as the final whistle approached with frustrated pair Mark Hughes and Dyron Daal finding their way into the book, but for the Mariners it was pure joy, as they marched to a sixth clean sheet, and more importantly, a sixth victory of the campaign.

“We played against them a month ago and have watched their DVD-s, they have some pace up front so if you defend that little bit deeper it makes it harder for them to get in behind you,” said Arnold.

“We played very well for 65-70 minutes before the fatigue factor set in and we purposely tried to keep the three subs for the last 20-25 minutes.”

Skipper Alex Wilkinson was pull of praise for another impressive Mariners performance.

“Just the humidity factor, it wasn-t that hot for Townsville standard but the difference in humidity from Sydney coming up here, there-s a big difference and it-s going to get harder for teams coming up here coming into summer so I-m glad we got it out of the way.

“They-re the sorts of wins that you look back on at the end of the year, hopefully in the finals and say that was one of the wins that got us there so I-m really proud of the boys.”

The Central Coast Mariners next match of the 2010/11 Hyundai A-League season will be against Wellington Phoenix next Saturday, 13 November at Westpac Stadium, Wellington. Kick-off is at 7:30pm (NZDT).

Match Details

North Queensland Fury 0
Central Coast Mariners 1 (Zwaanswijk 36-)

North Queensland Fury: 1. Justin PASFIELD (gk), 5. Mark HUGHES, 7. Gareth EDDS (c), 9. Eugene SSEPPUYA (19. Isaka CERNAK 46-), 10. Dyron DAAL, 11. David WILLIAMS, (13. Andre KILIAN 63-), 14. Chris GROSSMAN, 15. Chris PAYNE, 16. Simon STOREY (3. Brad McDONALD 53-), 17. Osama MALIK.

Subs not Used: 28. Sebastian USAI (gk).

Yellow Cards: Talay 75-, Hughes 86-, Daal 87-
Red Cards: Nil

Central Coast Mariners: 20. Mathew RYAN (gk), 2. Daniel McBREEN (23. Adam KWASNIK 83-), 3. Joshua ROSE, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 8. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 11. Oliver BOZANIC (12. Matthew LEWIS 69-), 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 17. Chris DOIG, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON, 22. Mustafa AMINI (7. John HUTCHINSON 58-).

Subs not Used: 30. Paul HENDERSON (gk).

Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil

Referee: Gerard Parsons
Crowd: 3,625 at Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville