Central Coast 0-4 Brisbane: Roar punish Mariners in Gosford to close in on top six
Brisbane Roar have arrived as Finals Series contenders after flattening a ten-man Central Coast Mariners outfit 4-0 on Wednesday night.
The contest at Central Coast Stadium hung in the balance until a second-half Joey Champness goal and Marco Ureña red card minutes later left the home side two goals and one man down, allowing the Roar to storm home late and clinch a four-goal win over a Premiership contender on the road.
The home side went into the break a goal down after Macaulay Gillesphey volleyed home the opener with 19 minutes on the clock.
The Mariners were unfortunate not to receive the chance to level the scores from the spot just minutes after falling behind, when referee Alex King reversed his decision to award the hosts a penalty.
Jack Hingert was initially adjudged to have handled the ball in the box off Jack Clisby's delivery, but when a VAR check invited King over to reassess the referee overturned his original call, frustrating the trailing Mariners.
Brisbane could sniff a vital win on the road and began the second half with the energy needed to double their advantage, which ultimately came through a Champness strike 56 minutes into the game. Soon after the Mariners were reduced to ten after Ureña's high boot left Jay O'Shea with stud marks down his shin, leading to a late collapse by the home side.
Central Coast looked the better team after going a man down, before Roar substitutes Alex Parsons and Masato Kudo scored late in the piece to wrap up an impressive win for Warren Moon's side. Brisbane moved to within a point of Western United in sixth after securing victory, and with games in hand over all of the current top six sides the Roar are now perfectly poised to mount a charge into the Finals Series standings.
The opening quarter of an hour offered little in terms of chances created and action in and around either side's penalty box, before the contest sparked into life when Gillesphey finished off Brisbane's opener in the 17th minute of play.
The away side took the lead through their central-defender's third career A-League goal netted at the back post on the volley after O'Shea's left-footed delivery into the box. Gillesphey was offside when the ball left O'Shea's foot but Mariners defender Clisby played at the ball, heading it toward the Brisbane defender to finish.
The home side instantly set about finding an equaliser, and received the opportunity to do so just minutes later when referee King pointed to the penalty spot after Clisby's ball into the box hit the arm of Brisbane's Hingert.
The Roar players objected to the decision as a VAR enquiry ensued, and King was eventually summoned to the sideline to take another look for himself.
After reassessing the contact on Hingert's arm tucked closely to his body King overturned his original decision, much to the frustration of both the home players and fans at Central Coast Stadium.
The Mariners turned frustration into motivation throughout the final 15 minutes of the first half, ramping up their attacking intent to generate a handful of half-chances.
Clisby saw a shot from outside the box flash just wide of the mark after a key deflection off a Roar player, before Ureña combined with Josh Nisbet minutes before the break, with the latter taking one touch before striking off his left foot toward goal, only just missing the bottom-right corner.
The second half began with Brisbane holding a 1-0 lead, and in the 56th minute the visiting side doubled their advantage, off the back of a sharp display of running and finishing from the energetic Champness.
Brisbane's number 11 beat Mark Birighitti at his near post after cutting past Nisbet off the left flank and firing his strike back toward the left-hand upright. Birighitti got across but the power of the shot sent it past the Mariners 'keeper to help the Roar open up a comfortable lead.
Riku Danzaki hammered a left-footed strike from outside the box at Birighitti on 62 minutes which was tipped over the bar, highlighting Central Coast's struggles attempting to deal with the Roar pressure.
And the home side's challenge grew even greater when Ureña received a red card for a challenge on O'Shea. The Costa Rican went studs-first into a challenge on the Brisbane midfielder, sliding his boot down the shin of O'Shea. Another VAR intervention took place - this time to call King over to rewatch the challenge on O'Shea, which led to the dismissal of the Mariners man.
The Mariners got onto the front foot despite their one-man and two-goal disadvantage, controlling the midfield and frustrating Brisbane who couldn't find the third goal to sew up an impressive win until the dying stages of the contest, when substitute Parsons finished off a sharp Roar counter attack to put the result to bed.
Parsons collected the ball of Dylan Wenzel-Halls on the right-hand side of the 18-yard box, sized up Kye Rowles, cut the ball back onto his left foot to finish.
But after going three goals ahead with just minutes to play, the Roar weren't yet satisfied with the damage dealt to their 10-man adversaries.
The Brisbane substitutes continued to do the late damage, with Parsons involved along with Kudo. Parsons found Scott Neville bombing down the right flank and with Rowles stopping his run to guard the near post Kudo slipped in to tuck away Neville's cross to the front post.
It was the punctuating goal which ended Brisbane's statement win in emphatic fashion.
Brisbane Roar v Wellington Phoenix
Saturday, May 1 2021
Venue: Moreton Daily Stadium
Kick-off: 5.05pm AEST
Broadcast: Fox Sports 505, ABC TV
Stream: MyFootball Live App, Kayo Sports
Melbourne Victory v Central Coast Mariners
Sunday, May 2 2021
Venue: AAMI Park
Kick-off: 4.05pm AEST
Broadcast: Fox Sports 505
Stream: MyFootball Live App, Kayo Sports
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