Mariners and Sky Blues share points in thriller

Marco Urena fires at goal against Sydney FC

The Mariners and Sydney FC shared the points in an A-League thriller on Saturday night as more than 10,000 fans watched the 2-2 draw at Central Coast Stadium.

The Mariners went two goals up in the first half but late goals in both halves from the visitors were enough for them to snag a share of the points.

Alen Stajcic made three changes to his starting side from the loss to Western United, as Dan Hall replaced the suspended Ruon Tongyik while Daniel DeSilva and Joshua Nisbet both came into the team further up the pitch.

After a slow start last weekend the Mariners came out of the blocks quickly as the match began at a frantic pace, and they took just six minutes to hit the lead.

Great pressure in midfield forced a Sydney FC turnover and Oliver Bozanic pounced to launch a ball into the path of Marco Urena running towards goal.

The Costa Rican cut inside and a shot fake left Alex Wilkinson and Andrew Redmayne stranded before a deft chip finished the move and put the Mariners ahead.

The frenetic pace continued and Sydney thought they had an equaliser just after the half hour mark when Bobo put the ball in the back of the net, however the Brazilian was judged to be offside in the buildup.

Matt Simon made that hurt even more shortly afterwards as he doubled the advantage with a wonderful finish across Redmayne four minutes before the break, having exchanged passes with Josh Nisbet who flicked the ball over his head to Simon to create the goal.

Sydney struck back on the stroke of the break through Ninkovic, cutting the lead in half as the Serbian forward volleyed Luke Brattan’s through ball past Mark Birighitti and in.

The second half began in a similar manner to the first and the Mariners were pushing to extend their lead once more, Urena firing just wide before Sydney FC had another goal chalked off for an offside infringement just before the hour mark.

Chances came and went at both ends, and it was the Sky Blues who would score the final goal of the game as Trent Buhagiar pounced on an errant pass from the back, and after a one-two fired the ball home to give Sydney a point on the road.

For the Mariners it is a quick turnaround now to a home clash with Brisbane Roar on Wednesday as the season enters the home stretch.

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