All square in Gosford

Gold Coast United continued their recent resurgence by halting Central Coast's six-match winning streak in the traditional New Year's Eve fixture, keeping their fourth straight clean sheet on their way to claiming a valuable 0-0 draw in Gosford.

Gold Coast United continued their recent resurgence by halting Central Coast's six-match winning streak in the traditional New Year's Eve fixture, keeping their fourth straight clean sheet on their way to claiming a valuable 0-0 draw in Gosford.

Miron Bleiberg's infamous lizard system was right at home at a venue named Bluetongue Stadium, and his 5-4-1 formation effectively nullified Central Coast's major threats in the first half.

Maceo Rigters focused on closing down Patrick Zwaanswijk's dangerous passing out of defence, young wingers Ben Halloran and James Brown stuck like glue to Mariners wingbacks Josh Rose and Pedj Bojic.

The away side's three centre backs outnumbered Matt Simon and Bernie Ibini at the other end.

Given their defence-minded set-up, Gold Coast did well to threaten Matt Ryan's goal early, their best chance coming as Halloran bounced a shot over the bar after quick work by Adama Traore on the counter.

The hosts soon started to find their groove though and Bojic might have profited further from a rapid move had the bobbly pitch not helped send his effort skywards.

Ibini did put Jerrad Tyson to work as he made space on the left for a low shot that the young goalkeeper, who has not conceded since replacing injured first choice Glen Moss three games ago, did well to tip around the far post.

The Mariners sought to force the issue in cooler second half conditions and Ibini again tested Tyson following some wizardry by Michael McGlinchey down the right.

Teenage playmaker Mustafa Amini struggled against Gold Coast enforcer Jonas Salley for most of the evening but he drifted wide to lose his marker close to the hour mark and teed up Oliver Bozanic for a drive that Tyson could only palm towards Simon, who was offside.

Rigters toiled strongly for United at the other end and did well to create a yard for a trademark right-foot thunderbolt in the 68th minute but Ryan smothered expertly to his left.

Arnold injected Daniel McBreen and Troy Hearfield into his attack but as the healthy New Year's crowd of 14,838 were continually frustrated by wayward final passes, Brown threatened to ruin the party with the chance of the match in the 82nd minute.

Rigters slid him through one-on-one with an onrushing Ryan and though Brown got to the ball first, Ryan managed to read his touch and deflect the ball away to Halloran, who failed to find an empty net from a long way out on a tough angle.

That marked the end of the visitors' push for a winner and they were made to switch focus to withstanding a late barrage at the urging of the Central Coast faithful.

Zwaanswijk caused plenty of problems from a string of set pieces and Hearfield so nearly became the hero as he snuck in to poke an effort narrowly wide of the post from one knockdown supplied by the hulking Dutchman.

Bozanic curled a golden chance over with his weaker right foot and McBreen's cheeky chip from long range floated wide as the Mariners threw everything at their resilient opponents, but the only fireworks to be seen in Gosford this year would ultimately be restricted to those in the airspace above Brisbane Waters after the match.

Central Coast 0 Gold Coast United 0