Barisic sinks Mariners

Gold Coast United produced a stellar come-from-behind effort to down the Central Coast Mariners 2-1 at Skilled Park on Saturday night.

Gold Coast United produced a stellar come-from-behind effort to down the Central Coast Mariners 2-1 at Skilled Park on Saturday night.

Super-sub Andrew Barisic secured all three points for United midway through the second half, tapping home from close range after Jason Culina's break-away shot was parried into his path by Mariners keeper Danny Vukovic.

A slick-passing Gold Coast controlled the majority of possession in the first half, but it was the Mariners, against the run of play, who opened the scoring in the 38th minute.

A quickly-taken corner for Central Coast saw forward Matt Simon duck down past defender Kristian Rees and angle a header past Gold Coast goalkeeper Jess Vanstrattan.

Emerging from the break 1-0 down, Gold Coast deployed a more attacking formation switching to a back three and bringing on Barisic for impact after 10 minutes.

The change worked wonders for United and the home side was able to claw back an equaliser in the 67th minute through Shane Smeltz, the All-White heading home after latching on to a pin-point cross from Barisic who initially out-muscled Mariners defender Brad Porter on the wing.

As Gold Coast continued to grow in confidence, Smeltz thought he had a second a short time later when he followed in Zenon Carravella's pass at the back-post.

Started by Culina, the move saw Barisic's shot rebound of Vukovic into the path of Caravella who then passed across goal to Smeltz who made no mistake from close range. United's celebrations were cut-short however as the linesman flagged for off-side.

Sensing the game slipping from their grasp, the Mariners nearly hit back when they were awarded a free-kick just outside the United area. Midfielder Pedj Bojic stepping up to fire a goal-bound shot that forced Vanstrattan to tip over the bar

With both sides coming into the match equal on points, Gold Coast coach Miron Bleiberg was relieved to see his charges claim victory and was impressed with the come-back performance.

"It's a game that involved character and guts, to come back from behind and score against a team like the Mariners who have conceded nine goals, I think it will take us a long way," he said.

"This is one of the cornerstone games you can refer back to and tell the guys 'if you did it against the Mariners you can do it against x,y and z', for me it's a very satisfactory win."

"I think that it's the type of win that gives encouragement to the players ... to have so much possession in the first half, full control and to go one-nil down at half-time it was cruel."

A disappointed Lawrie McKinna saw the match as three points lost to the Mariners and believed his side didn't have the ruthlessness needed to finish off the game.

"I don't think we threw it away, we had it until the 60th minute and I felt we were in control," he said.

"I think coming here and dominating a large part of the game the boys handled it well, I thought that we kept the ball well and we moved it well."

"The only thing we could have done when we were in front was to be more ruthless."

Saturday night's win lifts United from fourth to third on ladder, overtaking the Mariners and keeping sight of Melbourne in first and Sydney who sit in second.

Gold Coast United 2 (Smeltz 67, Barisic 76) Central Coast Mariners 1 (Simon 38) @ Skilled Park, 5/12/09. Crowd: 4117