Dubbo match ends in stalemate

The Central Coast Mariners will go into the opening match of the Hyundai A-League season with plenty of confidence, after finishing their pre-season undefeated, with a scoreless draw against Wellington Phoenix at Apex Oval in Dubbo.

The Central Coast Mariners will go into the opening match of the Hyundai A-League season with plenty of confidence, after finishing their pre-season undefeated, with a scoreless draw against Wellington Phoenix at Apex Oval in Dubbo.

Adam Kwasnik had the chance to secure what would have been a deserved victory against his former club with almost the last kick of the game, but regardless, Dubbo was treated to a football spectacle.

Tim Brown had the first chance of the match as the Phoenix went looking for an early goal, but after he headed over, the momentum swung quickly in the Mariners favour.

Brad Porter made a good run down the right wing before seeing his dangerous delivery cleared, while Pedj Bojic had a chance to repeat his free-kick heroics, which have dominated his pre-season.

But, after stepping up 30 yards out, Bojic sent his dead ball effort wide of the far post.

Trialist Michael McGlinchey was the next to create an opening, feeding Dean Heffernan in the left channel, Heffernan taking the ball to the byline, before having his cross cut out.

The Mariners best chance of the opening 45 minutes came just before the half hour mark, Adam Kwasnik playing a great ball through to Dylan Macallister, who showed plenty of strength to turn his marker, but was unlucky to see his volley shave the crossbar.

Porter also went close to giving the yellow and navy a deserved lead, but a low effort was brilliantly saved by a diving Mark Paston.

Porter was causing plenty of headaches for the Phoenix, Paston punching clear under heavy pressure, before the Kanwal junior forced a corner soon after.

And, with the half drawing to a close, Central Coast had one last chance to head into the sheds with the ascendency, Kwasnik again putting Macallister through, Andrew Durante blocking the former Lyn Oslo and SC Brann striker's run to ensure honours remained even.

Macallister was just millimetres from finding the back of the net soon after the restart, but his outstretched boot just couldn't connect with a Kwasnik through ball.

Vince Lia shot straight at Danny Vukovic in a rare Wellington attack, while Andrew Durante headed a Leo Bertos free kick over the bar.

Chris Doig had a goalbound header well saved by Paston down low, and it appeared it was only a matter of time before the Mariners were on the scoresheet.

Tim Brown headed wide after finding himself free on the penalty spot, and twice late on the Mariners were denied in one-on-one situations.

First Michael McGlinchey forced Paston well out of his box, amid calls for handball, while Kwasnik perhaps should have finished the game off deep into injury time, but the Phoenix custodian was once again brilliant in denying the yellow and navy, a scoreless draw confirmed.