Central Coast Mariners and Brisbane Roar played out a pulsating 3-3 draw at a raucous Central Coast Stadium on Saturday, the two sides sharing the Hyundai A-League spoils following a see-sawing 90 minutes at Gosford’s idyllic bayside arena.
Jean Carlos Solorzano handed Frans Thijssen’s charges the lead just before half time when he made no mistake in firing beyond Liam Reddy from six yards – the goal was the Costa Rican’s first in the competition for three years.
But while Roar may have shaded the play in the first 45, the Mariners came storming out of the blocks in the second stanza as they bid to send the strong crowd of 9,932 gathered on the banks of the Brisbane Water home happy.
Defender Eddy Bosnar restored parity to the contest ten minutes after the interval when he rose to purposefully direct a delightful Anthony Caceres cross into the back of the net, before goal sneak Matt Simon did well to put the Mariners 2-1 up in the 63rd minute.
Indeed, Simon scored for the third Hyundai A-League round in a row as he struck a shot from close range beyond Brisbane ‘keeper Jamie Young after he’d denied both Nick Fitzgerald and substitute Mitchell Duke in the lead up.
The scoreboard attendant was a one of the busiest staffers inside Central Coast Stadium in the second half, and he was made to press his buttons again when James Donachie headed home for Roar with just under 20 minutes left on the clock.
But on the first Saturday following Christmas the yellow and navy were keen to give their fans gathered in Gosford a gift, and rallied again to go 3-2 up. Following a swift counter attack Simon’s shot was saved by Young, but Kim Seung-yong showed his class to steer the rebound into the back of the net.
Unfortunately for the home side, Roar showed just how ruthless they can be less than a minute later as they passed through Central Coast and levelled the match at 3-3. From one side of the pitch to the other, Daniel Bowles’ cross into the box was banged in by Solorzano to round out a topsy-turvy second stanza of scoring and attacking football.
Following the game Central Coast Mariners boss Phil Moss said there was plenty of positives to come out of Saturday’s performance against the 2014 Hyundai A-League Champions, yet lamented some key lapses in concentration which contributed to the game ending a draw rather than a win.
“One of the key areas that we have been focussing on is concentration and we let ourselves down in that department, there’s no doubt,” Moss said. “There’s no shying away from it, we conceded three goals at home and they probably only had four meaningful shots. I know the stats say six but I remember seeing ‘Rocket’ [Liam Reddy] make one save and the other three he pulled out of the back of the net, so that’s very disappointing.”
“I’ll focus on that [improving concentration] behind closed doors with the boys. It’s an area that we are focussing on as a squad and a staff. We’ll fix it. We’ve got to work hard. There were a lot of positives to come out of today – to score three goals obviously and I think to play our part in what was a fantastic game of football.”
Indeed, Moss believes his men are growing as a unit both physically and mentally, and singled out two of the Club’s elder statesmen for helping spur his side on on Saturday.
“’Hutch’ [captain John Hutchinson] really put in a great captain’s knock today in midfield – he gave us the drive,” he said. “Matty Simon up front … what can I say? Four goals in five games since he came back [from injury]. He missed most of pre-season, but he’s getting through 90 minutes somehow … it’s because he wears his heart on his sleeve and he bleeds for this club.”
Moss also described the atmosphere at Central Coast Stadium for the Club’s round 12 fixture as “unbelievable”.
“We really are united up here as a football team, a club and a community, but we need to work harder to make it better,” he concluded.
Central Coast Mariners 3 (Bosnar 56’, Simon 63’, Kim 80’)
Brisbane Roar 3 (Solorzano 45’, 82’, Donachie 71’)
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Referee: Matthew Conger
Central Coast Mariners FC: 2. Storm ROUX, 3. Josh ROSE, 5. Zac ANDERSON, 7. John HUTCHINSON (C), 10. Anthony CACERES, 11. Nick FITZGERALD, 12. Liam REDDY (Gk), 15. Matthew SIM (9. Mitchell DUKE 62’), 18. Glen TRIFIRO (26. KIM Seung-yong 72’), 19. Matthew SIMON, 25. Eddy BOSNAR
Substitutes not used: 1. Matthew NASH (Gk), 16. Liam ROSE, 17. Richard VERNES
Yellow cards: Bosnar, Simon, Kim
Red cards: Nil
Brisbane Roar FC: 4. Adam SAROTA, 5. Corey BROWN, 8. Steven LUSTICA, 10. HENRIQUE (28. Brandon BORELLO 55’), 12. Jean Carlos SOLORZANO, 13. Jade NORTH, 14. Daniel BOWLES, 15. James DONACHIE, 17. Matt MCKAY, 21. Jamie YOUNG (Gk), 23. Dmitri PETRATOS
Substitutes not used: 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 7. Mensur KURTISI, 16. Devante CLUT, 30. Matt ACTION (Gk)
Yellow cards: Bowles, Donachie
Red cards: Nil