The Central Coast Mariners have started life under new Head Coach Graham Arnold in the best possible fashion, in cruising to a 4-nil victory over current ACT Premier League leader and reigning League Champion Canberra FC on a chilly night in the Nation’s Capital.
The Central Coast Mariners have started life under new Head Coach Graham Arnold in the best possible fashion, in cruising to a 4-nil victory over current ACT Premier League leader and reigning League Champion Canberra FC on a chilly night in the Nation-s Capital.
The Mariners were determined to show Arnold their attacking intent from the outset of his first official game in charge of the club, with Matthew Lewis heading a Pedj Bojic cross wide in the opening two minutes.
Josh Rose put Adam Kwasnik through not long after but the Canberra FC custodian won the race to the ball after Kwasnik-s initial touch, and almost immediately after, Daniel McBreen headed wide after a good ball in from Rostyn Griffiths.
The Mariners would deservedly take the lead on 18 minutes after a sustained period of early pressure, Rose playing a short corner Brad Porter on the right edge of the box, and Ben Klug in the Canberra FC goal could only parry into the path of Kwasnik, who fought off McBreen to claim the opener, as both strikers looked to clean up the scraps.
The hosts could have hit straight back after back-to-back corners on 21 minutes, Mat Ryan on his toes in keeping an Alex Castro header from finding the back of the net.
17-year-old Australian Institute of Sport product Mustafa Amini had a few chances to make it two on familiar soil but was frustratingly wide of the mark, but the Yellow and Navy would have a second before the break.
The same two players involved in the opener linked again, with Porter firing in a wicked ball from the right, which Kwasnik got on the end of with a blistering header to double, and double the visitors advantage, and reap the rewards of a near faultless opening 45 minutes by Graham Arnold-s men.
The second half started in a similar fashion to the ending of the first, as Kwasnik completed his hat-trick on 53 minutes.
McBreen latched onto a good ball down the left and fired in a cross from a tight angle, which Kwasnik sent back across the ‘keeper and inside the near post.
“The boys tonight put three goals on a plate for me and I really appreciate it, and like I said we had a good hitout and got the win that we wanted,” said Kwasnik.
That win was sealed just a minute later, as McBreen picked up his fourth in as many matches for the Mariners, when he stepped up to the penalty spot to fire a low drive into the bottom right hand corner, after Mustafa Amini was brought down by Matt Grbesa.
The inevitable substitutions began to slow the game-s tempo, and the Yellow and Navy at one stage played on with 10 men as Arnold tested their ability to adapt to different situations.
Danai Capare had a glorious chance to make a name for himself almost immediately after coming on, but Ryan made himself big in coming out of his goal and forcing the substitute into firing over the bar.
Porter was denied a spectacular volleyed goal from 25 yards out only by a good save by sub ‘keeper Adam Perakovic, while Marc Warren was equally as industrious after he came on, a 30 yard speculator marginally clearing the crossbar.
Adam Spaleta forced Ryan into his first real save of the match on 75 minutes as the young custodian dived full length to his right to deny the hosts- skipper from 20 yards and Ivan Pavlak fired across the face late on, but despite the late chances, the 4-nil scoreline accurately reflected the Mariners dominance in their first hitout under their new Head Coach, a happy Graham Arnold.
“There were a lot of young boys I hadn-t seen much of in the last couple of months I had been away and I was happy. We only worked on our midfield shape this morning with a narrow diamond and it was quite good.
“We had six or seven players sitting in the dressing room who are normally first team players, so the depth of the squad has improved a lot. I thought the overall attitude and intensity was very good.
“We have another game on Wednesday night, and it will be a different team to give the other boys a run, and it-s great while we-re down here to have a good training camp, good fields, good competition to play against. I can-t thank the Canberra people enough for having us down here at such short notice after our trip to China was called off and to organise these two games quickly for us has been great, (Capital Football) has done superbly to organise it so quickly,” said Arnold.
Canberra FC 0
Central Coast Mariners 4 (Kwasnik 18-, 36-, 53-, McBreen 54-)
Canberra FC: 18. Ben KLUG (GK) (1. Adam PERAKOVIC (GK) 52-), 4. Marcin ZYGMUNT, 5. John GLASS (7. Guuven CAN 77-), 6. Alex CASTRO (13. Ryan KIER 67-), 8. Matt GRBESA, 9. Michael SPALETA (10. Steve LEE 55-), 11. Ivan PAVLAK, 14. Josipa JADRIC (15. Danai GAPARE 55-), 17. Aiden BRUNSKILL, 19. Adam SPALETA, 22. John ISON (12. Sam GAGOLWIOS 67-).
Subs not Used: None.
Central Coast Mariners: 1. Mathew RYAN (GK), 2. Daniel McBREEN, 3. Joshua ROSE (15. Marc WARREN 60-), 4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Brad PORTER, 8. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 12. Matthew LEWIS, 16. Trent SAINSBURY, 21. Sam GALLAGHER, 22. Mustafa AMINI (6. Rory FEELY 60-), 23. Adam KWASNIK.
Subs Not Used: Nil