The Mariners and Perth played out an entertaining 2-2 draw on Sunday at Central Coast Stadium, in a game that was delayed by 30 minutes as torrid conditions set in across the Coast.
A pitch inspection ahead of the game saw the kick off pushed back by half an hour, but that failed to dampen the intensity as the match kicked off in pedal to the metal fashion.
Daniel DeSilva caused problems down the left for the visitors, and Dane Ingham was lucky to be on the pitch after a first challenge that was yellow carded was followed up by another on DeSilva that went unpunished.
The wet conditions did cause some havoc with first touches and dribbling though, but it was the Mariners who adjusted best and Marco Urena tested Liam Reddy early from a tight angle.
— Central Coast Mariners (@CCMariners) March 14, 2021
The opening goal of the see-sawing contest came from Ureña who squeezed the ball through the legs of the Glory keeper.
The move began with an excellent combination between Matt Simon and Dan Bouman on the right wing, with the latter whipping in a cross to the influential DeSilva whose shot stung the palms of Reddy.
The ball fell kindly to Urena and he snapped up the opportunity, scoring his first home goal for the Mariners, and his second against the Glory in as many outings.
Not long after the Costa Rican went through on goal by himself, but the ball caught on the soggy surface and stuck under his foot as he tried to double the advantage.
That opened the door for Perth and they hit back minutes before the half-time break, as Neil Kilkenny found time and space to weight a cross for Bruno Fornaroli to head home past Mark Birighitti.
Oliver Bozanic hit the post and DeSilva and Urena had efforts saved in a mad scramble after the Perth goal, but Perth held out and the two teams headed into the break level.
Perth introduced Nick Sullivan and Nick D’Agostino at the break and D’Agostino started brightly, squaring the ball up for Bruno Fornaroli who should have punished the home side, only to attempt a Rabona instead and scuff his effort.
It was D’Agostino who gave Perth the lead as the game entered it’s final 15 minutes, getting on the end of a nice passing exchange before firing past Birighitti at the near post.
The ladder leaders would not give up though, and substitute Alou Kuol was causing plenty of trouble up front for the Mariners with his energy and strength.
A bouncing ball in the area was not cleared by Perth in the dying minutes and as Matt Simon went to head it he was clattered from behind by Luke Bodnar, and after a stoppage in play and lengthy review Kurt Ams awarded a penalty via VAR.
Simon gave Reddy no chance from the spot with a well dispatched strike, and Josh Nisbet almost snatched a winner with a dancing run through the Perth defence only to have his shot saved.
The point keeps the Mariners in first spot on the table, with a clash against Melbourne City up next at AAMI Park next Monday.