A goal either side of half-time and a simple finish from Bruno Fornaroli proved enough for Perth Glory on Tuesday night, as they finished off the decade with a 3-0 win over the Central Coast Mariners.
— Central Coast Mariners (@CCMariners) December 31, 2019
The Mariners raced out of the blocks looking to build off two home wins, and Danny DeSilva came so close to giving them the lead only for his curling effort to strike the post of Liam Reddy’s goal and bounce away safely inside the opening minute.
Perth began to grow into the half and almost capitalised on a casual pass at the back which was picked up by Diego Castro midway inside the Mariners half.
A deft through ball sent Joel Chianese in on goal however Mark Birighitti was equal to it and blocked well with his back leg to keep the score level.
As the half wore on the conditions were having an effect on both sides with any form of decent football restricted by the heavy winds. The deflation of the famous sauce bottles provided the highlight of a relatively closely fought opening half.
Glory had similar efforts from Lopez and Chianese fizz over the bar from distance however nothing that would have given Mariners coach Alen Stajcic too much to worry about until the visitors took the lead on the stroke of half time.
A corner from the right was half cleared by Dylan Fox to the edge of the box where a lurking Castro met it with a snapshot into the bottom corner.
An immediate retaliation looked hopeful when Sam Silvera unleashed a wicked effort from distance towards the top corner but Liam Reddy was equal to the strike and tipped it past the post.
The visitors doubled their lead quickly after the break, as Joel Chianese headed home James Meredith’s cross at the end of a sweeping move.
A combination of Gordon and Birighitti prevented Central Coast from falling further behind, when Fornaroli found space in the home box, forcing the strike out for a corner which came to nothing.
The Glory extended their lead as the game entered it’s final half hour, when Castro made the most of Ziggy Gordon losing his footing to steal the ball away and tee up Fornaroli to fire home from point blank range.
Substitute Jordan Murray had a glorious chance to pull a goal back but it was not to be as his back post header bounced agonisingly wide of goal; before he helped create another chance when Milan Ðurić scooped the ball over the backline for Eunsun Kim to attempt a spectacular overhead kick which also narrowly missed the goal.
There was no further scoring as the game fizzled out through five minutes of stoppage time, and Alen Stajcic’s side now turn their attentions to a short turnaround as they travel to face the Phoenix in Wellington on Saturday.