Perez penalty earns Mariners a point

The Central Coast Mariners Argentine import Patricio Perez had a debut to remember, with a goal and another disallowed, as the Mariners came back to secure a 1-all draw with Sydney FC in another fiery derby at the Sydney Football Stadium.

The Central Coast Mariners Argentine import Patricio Perez had a debut to remember, with a goal and another disallowed, as the Mariners came back to secure a 1-all draw with Sydney FC in another fiery derby at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Perez-s first in Yellow and Navy came as Sydney FC goalkeeper Liam Reddy saw red for a 70th minute challenge, before the Under 20-s World Cup winner had a late header disallowed for offside, which would have proved the winner, after Rhyan Grant gave the hosts the lead just after half time.

“I never go into a game for a draw. We came here to win and for me it-s a loss of two points,” said Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold.

“Sydney were a wounded animal and they were going to come out with a lot of passion, spirit and fight and I thought the main thing for the first half was to match that, which I felt we did. We slowly got into the game more and we finished the first half strongly.

“I thought we had the better chances. They hit the post twice from 20 metres out and one was a deflection. It was probably two points lost.”

The Mariners had a somewhat disjointed preparation with the loss of goalkeeper Jess Vanstrattan to a knee injury just 24 hours out from kick-off, handing 18-year-old shot-stopper Mathew Ryan the honour of becoming the youngest ever player to start a game for the Yellow and Navy.

Despite the interrupted build up the Mariners would enjoy the first attacking foray on a slippery SFS surface, as Daniel McBreen found Oliver Bozanic on the left edge of the box and forced a corner three minutes in.

Ryan would have dearly loved an early touch to settle the nerves but the 18-year-old-s first involvement was very nearly to pick the ball out of the back of the net after a Mark Bridge shot took a wicked deflection off Patrick Zwaanswijk before looping into the post and away for a corner.

Matt Simon looped a shot at Liam Reddy at the other end after Zwaanswijk found McBreen, while Reddy had a significantly harder save to make soon after.

Rostyn Griffiths and John Hutchinson combined well before the latter sent Michael McGlinchey on a run, and a lovely ball into the box almost found the head of a charging Hutchinson, who instead was cleaned up by a stray Reddy knee.

Ryan easily dealt with a low Mark Bridge shot at the near post on 24 minutes, while Bozanic had a big shout for handball turned down by 100 game veteran referee Matthew Breeze after firing from the left channel just a minute later.

Hutchinson and Sebastian Ryall both had shots sail over the bar at opposite ends of the field in a short space of time, while Josh Rose squared a good ball into the six yard box from the left but couldn-t find a striker as the half entered its final ten minutes.

It was then that the half really exploded into life after a fairly tame opening, as first Ryall produced a goal-saving mid-air challenge to block a Matt Simon header at the back post, before Shannon Cole produced a goal-line clearance after a sliding ball from Matt Simon was on its way to Hutchinson preparing to tap-in.

Despite their good first half work, the Mariners would come unstuck almost immediately after the restart, as a cross in from Byun on the left bobbled awkwardly in front of Ryan, and Rhyan Grant was on hand to tuck home and give the hosts the lead.

Six minutes later came the injection Mariners fans, players and coaching staff alike were so keen on witnessing, as Patricio Perez was thrust into action, and his attacking influence was felt almost immediately.

Matt Simon and Daniel McBreen both stretched at the back post for a good free kick in from Michael McGlinchey and Simon had a shot blocked, as the strong contingent of travelling fans smelled the blood of the hosts.

Perez went on a jinking run on 53 minutes before neatly squaring for Patrick Zwaanswijk, but the big Dutchman-s shot sailed just wide.

The match, which had been simmering up until the 70th minute, reached the boil as Perez was released by Simon into the area, winning a penalty as Liam Reddy clipped his trailing leg with his glove, Breeze ruling the contact was sufficient to warrant his dismissal.

After a hastily arranged substitution of striker Kofi Danning for replacement ‘keeper Ivan Necevski, Perez ensured Reddy-s understudy-s first task was to pick the ball out of the back of the net after sending him the wrong way from the spot.

A goalmouth scramble just minutes later could have resulted in a second, as Necevski only half cleared a Bozanic header into the path of Perez, whose follow up shot cannoned into the unsuspecting gloveman.

Adam Kwasnik had a shot from the left channel saved after being put through by Perez, and moments later the Mariners did indeed think they-d found a winner.

Pedj Bojic whipped a delightful ball in which Perez rose to head home, only for the Assistant Referee to flag for offside.

Bozanic saw a shot deflected wide and Kwasnik headed at Necevski as the visitors came home with a wet sail, but Sydney held on ensuring the points would be shared.

Arnold was blunt in his appraisal of his side-s performance, particularly in the final third.

“I will never complain about the mentality and workrate of these boys because it-s first class, but I was disappointed with the ruthlessness, we-re not ruthless enough in goal. The amount of chances we-ve created this year and what we can show for it is a little bit disappointing.

“There are four strikers fighting for two positions and whoever scores goals is going to play, because we can-t keep creating the chances we-re creating and not score them,” Arnold said.

The Mariners mentor was full of praise for the cameo of Argentine playmaker Perez.

“He did OK and he was only 60% fit, so I-m looking forward to seeing him 100% fit.

“Just by being on the field he gives our players confidence because he wants the ball all the time. He-s special, he-s a good player and players of all clubs should enjoy watching him, but maybe the Sydney supporters aren-t happy tonight, but that-s life,” Arnold said.

Mariners skipper Alex Wilkinson echoed Arnold-s sentiment that the side could have got more out of the game.

“I think we definitely had the opportunity, disappointing not to get the extra two points.

“This week we-ve come out and played a lot better football.

“Pretty unfortunate that the second goal didn-t count or we-d be in here with the win, but such is life, and we-ve got two games at home now so hopefully we can get a couple of wins there,” said Wilkinson.

The Central Coast Mariners next match of the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season will be against Melbourne Victory at Bluetongue Stadium next Friday, 3 September. Kick-off is at 8:00pm 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.

Match Details

Sydney FC: 1 (Grant 47-)
Central Coast Mariners: 1 (Perez 71-(pen))

Sydney FC: 1. Liam REDDY (gk), 2. Sebastian RYALL, 3. Stephan KELLER, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 10. Nick CARLE, 11. Kofi DANNING (20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk) 72-), 12. Shannon COLE, 19. Mark BRIDGE, 21. Scott JAMIESON (6. Hirofumi MORIYASU 90+1-), 22. Sung-Hwan BYUN, 23. Rhyan GRANT.

Subs not Used 5. Hayden FOXE, 16. Terry ANTONIS.

Yellow Cards: Keller 71-, Musialik 75-, Jamieson 77-, Bridge 78-
Red Cards: Reddy 70-

Central Coast Mariners: 20. Mathew RYAN (gk), 2. Daniel McBREEN (23. Adam KWASNIK 69-), 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Rostyn GRIFFITHS (10. Patricio PEREZ 53-), 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 18. Alex WILKINSON, 19. Matt SIMON.

Subs not Used: 30. Paul HENDERSON (gk), 17. Chris DOIG.

Yellow Cards: Rose 64-, Hutchinson 90+2-
Red Cards: Nil

Referee: Matthew BREEZE
Crowd: 10,147 at Sydney Football Stadium