Late strike hands Mariners win

A goal from substitute David Gullo late in the piece has seen the Central Coast Mariners down Brisbane Roar 2-1 in a tight National Youth League encounter at Ballymore Stadium.

A goal from substitute David Gullo late in the piece has seen the Central Coast Mariners down Brisbane Roar 2-1 in a tight National Youth League encounter at Ballymore Stadium.

After a relatively tepid start to the game, the Mariners went ahead in the 35th minute on the back of an unfortunate and bizarre own goal from Roar captain Daniel Bowles.

The hosts squared the ledger through Tim Smits early in the second half before a thrilling finish saw Gullo bury the 85th-minute winner in dramatic fashion.

Roar keeper Matt Acton had made an excellent diving save to deny Nicholas Fitzgerald, but the crumbs fell to Gullo who fired truly past an outstretched Acton.

Acton was rarely tested in the opening 20 minutes before the game sprung to life, with Ahmad Elrich and Mitchell Mallia forcing the Roar custodian to make a number of tricky saves.

Acton soon had his net breached by friendly fire.

In wet conditions, Bowles - under little pressure from Central Coast's Gavin Forbes - fired a pass back to Acton that had far too much venom in it.

The keeper made a desperate attempt to clear the ball off the line, but his efforts were in vain.

The game opened up further after half-time, with Mariners ace Brad Porter firing two sizzling strikes in the space of five minutes to see Acton in the action once more.

The Roar steadied and a slick pass from Matt Mundy found Smits in space on the cusp of the penalty box in the 66th minute.

The 23-year-old stopped, propped and unleashed a fierce strike that curled past Mariners keeper Andrew Redmayne.

The points looked like they would be shared before Gullo came to the fore - ensuring Acton would have nothing to show for a game that he dominated.

Brisbane Roar 1 (Smits 66) (Hesketh 35og, Gullo 85)