Point taken for Mariners in Canberra

The Central Coast Mariners have again been forced to settle for a point in a match they dominated for large periods, sharing a scoreless draw with Adelaide United at Canberra Stadium.

The Central Coast Mariners have again been forced to settle for a point in a match they dominated for large periods, sharing a scoreless draw with Adelaide United at Canberra Stadium.

The Mariners were in control for large parts of the match, and Football Manager Lawrie McKinna was left to rue what might have been.

“The first half was good, but in the second half we got better and dominated. We dominated the chances, the possession, played some really good football and created some really good chances we should have taken.

“We played the last ten minutes with ten men, and I thought we even handled that well. It-s disappointing we have let two points go, but the positive is the overall performance, I thought, was very good,” said McKinna.

Twice already so far this season, the Central Coast have opened the scoring with lightning speed, and tonight went close again after just 28 seconds, Matthew Crowell firing in a wicked cross, forcing Mark Rudan to concede an early corner.

Pedj Bojic found himself one on one with Eugene Galekovic on six minutes after latching on to a lovely through ball by Dean Heffernan, but the Reds- custodian proved equal to the task to stop Bojic-s low drive.

Travis Dodd had arguably the visitors- best chance of the opening 45 minutes, when he sent a curling effort just wide of Danny Vukovic-s far post.

A scare went through the Mariners camp just over half an hour in, when New Zealand international and Celtic academy product Michael McGlinchey went down clutching at his foot, but thankfully for Lawrie McKinna, the diminutive midfielder was able to continue.

Kristian Sarkies sent a dipping effort over the bar from 25 yards in one of the few chances of the opening half, while at the other end, McGlinchey sent a ball into the box which sailed marginally over the head of Matt Simon, who was poised to strike.

McGlinchey had the final opportunity of the opening half, sending an effort wide after a John Hutchinson cross sat up in the penalty area.

It was to prove McGlinchey-s last involvement, as he made way for Nicky Travis at half time, amid concern for his right foot.

“When he cleared the ball he just rolled his ankle. We think it-s just a sprain, we don-t think there is anything serious there. We hope he-s back next week. Kiwis are tough, and he-s a Kiwi with a Scottish accent so I-m sure he-ll be alright,” said McKinna.

Travis- impact was close to immediate, putting a ball through for Pedj Bojic, who unluckily got tangled in the Adelaide defenders as he sought a way through.

Matthew Crowell tried his luck from 25 yards on a couple of occasions, the second of which hit powerfully enough that an off-guard Eugene Galekovic could only parry.

Dean Heffernan was looking lively down the left, as he dominated the battle with Adelaide livewire Matthew Leckie, and launched a first time thunderbolt just wide of the post, as the yellow and navy continued their dominance.

Matt Simon was unlucky to be called offside after being put through by Travis, the latter sending a shot from the edge of the box just over the bar minutes later.

The Central Coast-s best chance cane on 74 minutes, Matt Simon picked the ball up in the left channel and squared for Adam Kwasnik, who-s close range shot was saved low down by Galekovic.

“When you-re a striker and it comes in front of goal, Adam knows himself he didn-t need to take a touch, he just needed to hit that first time.

“You have got two of the best goalkeepers in the A-League, Danny saved us at the end with one that could have squirmed under but another clean sheet, and an outstanding save at the finish up,” McKinna said.

Unable to find what would have been just reward for their pressure, the frustration of McKinna-s men grew, Crowell receiving his marching orders after picking up two bookings in the space of six minutes.

Brad Porter was introduced late on and tested Galekovic from close range, but neither side could break the deadlock, as the Central Coast picked up another vital point, but rued the two which slipped away.

“It was another two points that we deserved, but we-ll take the positives, keeping the ball, ball movement, creating chances. Although there is disappointment, we have to take the positives out of the game going to Melbourne next week, because it-s going to be hard. Matthew Crowell is going to be missing, hopefully Michael McGlinchey is back, but young Nicky Travis came on and was outstanding.

“The midfield of Bojic and Crowell with Hutch and Michael was outstanding, so there are a lot of positives that we will take away from the game.

Captain Alex Wilkinson was quick to douse suggestions the forward line may need to be reshuffled.

“It-s a team game. It-s not just the back four defending well, it-s the whole team. It starts with Matty and Kwas up front and it seems to be working. Another clean sheet tonight which is great, and on another day we could have scored a couple of goals but it wasn-t to be. There are going to be days where we concede goals and the strikers score,” said Wilkinson.

And his manager agreed.

“We-ll persevere, because there are goals in them, goals will come. If we keep the ball and move the ball around like we did we are going to get good chances. If they bounce off somebody-s shin I don-t care, but there are definitely goals there,” said McKinna.

The Mariners head to Melbourne next week looking for three points, to remain in touch with the top of the ladder.

“The league is so tight with everybody taking points off everybody. We sat in and got a point, and we-re away from home for five weeks in a row, this was a home game away from home and it was a result. There are a lot of pleasing things, but if we are going to be challenging, we need to be finishing, particularly when we dominate that much in the second half,” McKinna said.

The Mariners- next home match of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season will be against Perth Glory on Friday, 27 November. Kick-off is at 8:00pm. Tickets are available online here or by phoning 132 849.

Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season are now on sale by clicking here

Match Details

Central Coast Mariners 20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 2. Matthew CROWELL, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Dean HEFFERNAN, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY (22 Nicky TRAVIS 46-), 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 17. Chris DOIG, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON (5. Brad PORTER 86-), 23. Adam KWASNIK (9. Nik MRDJA 88-).

Unused Subs 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk).

Yellow Cards Simon 29-, Wilkinson 52-, Crowell 77-, 83-
Red Cards Crowell 83-
Goals None

Adelaide United 1. Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 2. Robert CORNTHWAITE, 3. ALEMAO, 4. Iain FYFE, 8. Kristian SARKIES, 9. CRISTIANO (18. Fabian BARBIERO 71-), 10. Adam HUGHES (11. Lloyd OWUSU 81-), 13. Travis DODD, (c), 14. Scott JAMIESON, 19. Matthew LECKIE, 21. Mark RUDAN.

Unused Subs 20. Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 7. Lucas PANTELIS.

Yellow Cards Jamieson 70-
Red Cards None
Goals None

Referee Ben WILLIAMS
Crowd 5,437