The Central Coast Mariners suffered a heart-breaking home defeat by a goal against a resurgent Brisbane Roar side, a Corey Brown deflected shot in the dying moments enough to clinch a win for the visitors after the Mariners dominated the majority of the match.
It was a reasonably even game in the opening exchanges, Dylan Wenzel-Halls testing Mark Birighitti in the home net, before some strong interplay by Lewis Miller and Milan Ðurić almost created a shooting opportunity for the Central Coast.
Ziggy Gordon provided a superb block to deny Inman from a tight angle, arriving at a vital moment after some applied pressure by the visitors.
Josh Nisbet looked comfortable in the starting eleven, for his second ever league start, and after breaking up play in the centre of the park the ball eventually found its way to Jordan Murray who had a good chance blocked and cleared.
The hosts had an early change, Gianni Stensness forced from the field with an injury on 40 minutes and replaced by Giancarlo Galifuocco.
It was an even contest again in the early minutes of the second half as both sides had chances without ever looking likely to convert.
Tommy Oar had the best of the second stanza’s early chances, striking a free kick from a dangerous area under the wall and into the hands of Roar ‘keeper Jamie Young and the crowd at Gosford were up out of their seats when Danny De Silva struck the goal post shortly after, and Oar had the rebound cleared off the line, keeping the scores level.
With the clock wearing down Alen Stajcic called upon experienced frontman Matt Simon, replacing Oar in the 70th minute.
The game was increasingly a one-way contest, the Yellow & Navy desperate to put last week’s disappointing result behind them and build upon the heroics of the Melbourne Victory match.
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A fast break from the home side almost broke the deadlock moments later; a fast passing move from De Silva and Nisbet set Murray up to take a crack at goal, and an arrowing a shot destined for the top corner was only just punched aside as Young sprung from nowhere to get a strong hand to it.
The hosts continued to press for a winner, however all their handwork was undone when the Queensland outfit grabbed a goal.
After Gordon did well to meet the first cross and half clear, Roar gathered the second ball with Akbari working it to Jay O’Shea then out to the left to Brown. Brown’s first time low cross took a deflection off Miller, leaving Birighitti wrong footed and helpless to prevent the late goal.
The hosts continued to push for that elusive home goal, but the final score stayed at 0-1 in Brisbane’s favour, a gut-wrenching finish to a game that was otherwise dominated by the Yellow and Navy.
Attention for the Mariners now turns to Western Sydney Wanderers, who will be travelling to Central Coast Stadium next week for Round 17 of the Hyundai A-League.