Two off-season recruits, two perfectly timed headers, and a two-goal victory over last seasons’ runner-up. After enduring one of the toughest weeks in their history, the Central Coast Mariners responded in the best possible fashion defeating Melbourne 2-nil in their round five meeting at Bluetongue Stadium.
Two off-season recruits, two perfectly timed headers, and a two-goal victory over last seasons- runner-up. After enduring one of the toughest weeks in their history, the Central Coast Mariners responded in the best possible fashion defeating Melbourne 2-nil in their round five meeting at Bluetongue Stadium.
Goals from Rostyn Griffiths and Daniel McBreen earned the Mariners all three points and a share of the lead of the Hyundai A-League table.
Mariners coach Graham Arnold was pleased with the result.
“It was a great performance from everyone involved after a tough week.
“We-ve spoken about playing well at home and I think we did that tonight. One thing I-m learning really quickly about the A-League is that there are no easy away trips. That-s why playing well at home is so important,” Arnold said.
Arnold praised the performance of his charges across the park but was pleased by the improving combination of McBreen and Simon.
“Daniel did a great job for us tonight holding the ball up, and Matty and him are working well together.”
Striker Daniel McBreen was happy to get off the mark for his new club.
“As a striker it-s always good to score goals, and I hope that was the first of many to come,” McBreen said.
After a week where “simulation” took centre stage, Melbourne defender Rodrigo Vargas attempted to antagonise the Mariners in the opening minutes, as he looked to draw a foul in the box. Referee Chris Beath was not fooled, but the incident set the tone for the match as both sides attempted to dominate the midfield.
Chances to open the scoring were few and far between in the opening exchanges. For the Victory Carlos Hernandez blasted over the top, whilst for the home side Oliver Bozanic went close. Michael McGlinchey appeared to have rediscovered his attacking flair and he asked questions of the Victory defence every time he touched the ball.
Melbourne skipper Kevin Muscat wasn-t about to let his attackers have all the fun, as he renewed acquaintances with foe Matt Simon. Both players reveled in the contest and got on playing football.
Melbourne custodian Michael Petkovic was looking decidedly uncomfortable in his box, as he was indecisive both from corners and in open play. The Mariners, taking full advantage of the speed that their edge players provide continued to pepper the ‘keeper with well timed crosses.
The match was crying out for a goal, and in the space of just sixty seconds Robbie Kruse went close at one end, before Rostyn Griffiths returned fire with the opener. Kruse thought he had scored when he evaded his marker and hit the underside of the crossbar. Fortunately for the home side Kruse had already been adjudged to have handled the ball.
From the resulting counter-attack the Mariners earned a free kick 25-yards out. Kiwi international McGlinchey stepped up and his pin-point delivery found the head of Griffiths. The former North Queensland man was able to steer the ball past ‘keeper Petkovic to open his account for the Yellow and Navy.
The Victory immediately set about getting back on even terms as they pressed forward with both Hernandez and Kruse heavily involved. Full of confidence after winning the starting keeping position over veteran Paul Henderson, teenager Mathew Ryan grew in stature pulling off a fine save in the 30th minute.
Pedj Bojic continued to impress, and an energetic burst from deep in his own half should have seen the Mariners- double their lead. Unfortunately for Bojic he was unable to link up with his support and the play broke down. The final chance of the half fell to veteran John Hutchinson who took an audacious attempt from distance.
As the players returned for the second half a drizzle fell over Bluetongue Stadium, sending the diehards scurrying for cover. The Mariners weren-t content on sitting back on their lead and continued to push forward, providing teammates with plenty of options in possession.
The reward for this positive approach came in the 50th minute when Daniel McBreen doubled the lead with a diving header. Demonstrating that they can work well together Matt Simon went for a probing run down the right hand edge. Instinctively knowing where his partner was, Simon found McBreen who was able to steer the ball inside the near post.
The Newcastle born striker-s goal celebration reflected the fact his partner Gabrielle is due to give birth with the couple-s first child at any moment.
It was the speed men who continued to frustrate the Melbourne defence as they defied the conditions to constantly ask questions of Petkovic. Bozanic and McGlinchey both pressed forward and had shots on target.
Not to be outdone the defenders also impressed, time and time again denying the Melbourne attack. The experience of Patrick Zwaanswijk was again on display as his combination with Alex Wilkinson continues to develop. Josh Rose pressed forward but also pulled off a number of fine challenges as did Bojic.
The effectiveness of the defence was highlighted by the fact that Melbourne only had two real scoring chances in the second half. One fell to the veteran Muscat who drove over the other, and the other was to substitute Ricardinho who blasted a header well wide from close range, allowing the Mariners to celebrate their second win of the campaign, their first in front of home fans.
The Central Coast Mariners will next be in action against the Melbourne Heart this Friday, 10 September at Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford. Kick-off is at 8pm and tickets are available online by CLICKING HERE or by phoning 132 849.
Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season are still available by CLICKING HERE or by phoning 1300 767 442.
Central Coast Mariners 2 (Griffiths 21-, McBreen 50-)
Melbourne Victory 0
Central Coast Mariners: 20. Mathew RYAN (gk), 2. Daniel MCBREEN (9. Nik MRDJA 85-), 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 14. Michael MCGLINCHEY, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON (5. Brad PORTER 89-).
Subs not Used: 30. Paul HENDERSON (gk), 23. Adam KWASNIK.
Yellow Cards: McBreen 24-, Hutchinson 29-, Griffiths 59-, Rose 63-, Ryan 74-
Red Cards: None
Melbourne Victory: 1.Michael PETKOVIC (gk), 2.Kevin MUSCAT (c), 3. Mate DUGANDZIC, 5. Surat SUKHA, 6. Leigh BROXHAM (14. Billy CELESKI 54-), 8.Grant BREBNER, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, (9. RICARDINHO 54-), 16. Carlos HERNANDEZ, 21. Robbie KRUSE, 23.Adrian LEIJER.
Subs not Used: 20.Sebastian MATTEI (gk), 13.Diogo FERREIRA
Yellow Cards: Vargas 38-, Leijer 55-, Kruse 88-
Red Cards: None
Referee: Chris BEATH
Crowd: 6,829 at Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford.