Mariners narrow winners over Canberra FC

Goals from Troy Hearfield and Oliver Bozanic helped the Central Coast Mariners edge a determined Canberra FC side 2-1 in their friendly match played at Deakin Stadium last night.

Central Coast Mariners edged a determined Canberra FC side 2-1 in their friendly match played at Deakin Stadium last night.

The Mariners started as they had left off against Belconnen, creating the first chance of the match as early as the sixth minute when Michael Baird, who had scored a hat-trick against the Blue Devils, fired in a fierce low drive that cannoned off the base of the post and away to safety.

However, it quickly became apparent that Canberra FC would pose more attacking threat then their Rock Premier League counterparts with Paul Ivanic inches away from claiming a brilliant long-range ball from Adam Spaleta, who showed just why he is regarded as the best passer of a ball in the local competition.

Moments later the home team took a shock lead. A raking 35-metre ball over the top was meant for Victor Yanes who was only just beaten to the ball by Mariners- ‘keeper Justin Pasfield. Pasfield-s clearance went straight to Ivanic however, and Canberra FC-s leading scorer did the rest with a precise side-foot volley into the empty net from 25-metres out.

The Mariners upped the ante after falling behind and drew level in sensational fashion. Little seemed on as the ball fell to Troy Hearfield 25 metres from goal but the Mariners new signing unleashed a tremendous shot that flashed past Ben Klug who was left helpless by the ferocity of the drive.

To their credit the home team refused to be daunted by the professionals response and continued to play a patient passing game in an attempt to free Ivanic and Yanes up front. The Mariners defence, marshalled wonderfully by the calm presence of Dutchman Patrick Zwaanswijk, were resilient though and held firm until the break.

The visitors, who introduced Matt Simon and Oliver Bozanic into the fray at half-time, almost took the lead immediately after the restart when Rostyn Griffiths smashed a thunderbolt from distance that crashed off the woodwork with replacement goalkeeper Adam Perakovic floundering.

It wasn-t long before the Mariners hit the front though when substitute Bozanic waltzed his way into the area and slotted past Perakovic from an acute angle.

It was clear that the Hyundai A-League club had raised their game after their half-time talk and Perakovic needed to be at his best to save well from a Daniel McBreen header after a swirling cross from Michael McGlinchey. From the resulting corner, Perakovic pushed a Matt Simon header away to safety.

With a big Rock Premier League match against Belconnen United looming on Sunday afternoon at McKellar Park, Canberra FC Head Coach Rob Graham r the changes midway through the half giving game time to youngsters Aaron Evans, Ryan Keir and Daniel Bennett and resting his more established players.

With so many changes the tempo of the game slowed dramatically nearing the end of the match, with a late chance to Daniel McBreen which hit the side netting the nearest the Mariners went extending their lead.

Match Details

Central Coast Mariners 2 (Troy Hearfield 22-, Oliver Bozanic 57-)
Canberra FC 1 (Paul Ivanic 12-)

Central Coast Mariners 20. Justin Pasfield (GK), 2. Daniel McBreen, 3. Joshua Rose, 4. Pedj Bojic (9. Brent Griffiths 63-), 5. Brad Porter, 6. Patrick Zwaanswijk, 8. Rostyn Griffiths, 10. Adriano Pellegrino (15. Brad McDonald 74-), 12. Troy Hearfield (11. Oliver Bozanic 45-), 14. Michael McGlinchey, 17. Michael Baird (19. Matt Simon 45-)

Unused Subs 1. James Bradbury (GK)

Yellow Cards 15. Brad McDonald

Red Cards None

Canberra FC 18. Ben Klug (GK) (1. Adam Perakovic (GK) 45-), 4. Izach Clements, 5. John Glass (6. Ryan Keir 67-), 7. Paul Ivanic (8. Anthony Bekavac 91-), 11. Ivan Pavlak, 12. Ian Graham, 16. Matt Grbesa, 19. Adam Spaleta, 23. Marcin Zygmunt (3. Aaron Evans 67-), 76. Aidan Brunskill (13. Daniel Bennett 76-), 99. Victor Yanes

Unused Subs None

Yellow Cards 19. Adam Spaleta

Red Cards None

Referee Luke Withell

Assistants Owen Goldrick, Greg Taylor