Mariners edge Glory
A dramatic 20-minute period in the first half that brought about three goals, a red card and a missed penalty set up the Central Coast Mariners' crucial 2-1 win over Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Wednesday night.
A dramatic 20-minute period in the first half that brought about three goals, a red card and a missed penalty has set up a crucial 2-1 win for the Central Coast Mariners over Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Wednesday night.
The game came to life in the 22nd minute with a Central Coast goal from a corner to Daniel McBreen and just one minute later the Mariners went 2-0 up when Matt Simon was left unchecked in the box on a well-placed cross and coolly slotted it home.
The Mariners could have put the game away in the 26th minute, but Glory goalkeeper Tando Velaphi pulled off a tremendous penalty save off Simon. The drama didn't end there, though, as Perth veteran Jamie Harnwell received a red card shortly after for an elbow to Simon.
However, Perth didn't drop their heads and pulled a goal back before half-time through Todd Howarth, but neither side was able score in the second half despite their best efforts.
The Mariners remain in second-place with the win and move three points clear of Adelaide United. They now take on Sydney FC, Adelaide, Melbourne Heart, Gold Coast and Newcastle in the lead up to the finals. Central Coast coach Graham Arnold was delighted with his team's effort.
"We wanted to hit them early because we've come off three games in a week and this was our fourth game in 10 days," Arnold said.
"The boys came out of the gates extremely well and if the penalty was scored it was 3-0 and the game's dead and buried, but the fact that it stayed at two it gave them a lift. They took it to us after that with 10 men, but I'm extremely proud of our players."
Meanwhile the Glory remains second last two points adrift of Sydney FC and they finish the season against Wellington, Sydney, Gold Coast and Newcastle. While it was a loss for Perth, interim coach Ian Ferguson was impressed with the way they fought back after that horror 10-minute stretch.
"They were two silly goals again that we conceded. The first one was a set piece which kills us. The second one we tried to clear ourselves out from the back and tried to put it over the boy's head," Ferguson said.
"He blocked it and they scored from a cross-field pass. The third one (attempt at goal) I don't even think was a penalty. I just thought that Andy Todd and he clashed, but it was a great save from Tando. Credit still to the boys. We dug deep to fight back and gave a credible performance."
After a first 20 minutes that was relatively even with neither side creating a clear cut opportunity to score, things came to life in incredible fashion.
It all started from a Central Coast corner taken by Michael McGlinchey in the 22nd minute. Trent Sainsbury headed it on inside the box to an unchecked McBreen who calmly and skilfully headed it himself right into the back of the net to give the Mariners the 1-0 lead.
Just one minute later it was 2-0 when a somewhat hopeful cross into the Mariners box from Sainsbury cut right through the Glory's defence. It landed right at the feet of Simon and he had no trouble putting it home past Velaphi as well.
In the 26th minute Todd brought down McBreen just inside the penalty area and referee Jarred Gilett awarded the Mariners a penalty. It was taken by Simon but Velaphi made a tremendous save diving to his right.
Central Coast received a further boost when the Glory were reduced to 10 men when Harnwell was given a red card for an elbow from behind to the head of Simon in an aerial contest.
The Glory didn't lie down, though, and got a goal back in the 38th minute when Howarth slotted home a good cross from Scott Neville, once again standing in for skipper Jacob Burns.
Perth continued to press hard to begin the second half and were putting the Central Coast defence under pressure despite being a man down.
Despite some decent attempts from both teams throughout the second half, neither side went terribly close to scoring and the Mariners recorded the win to remain in second-place.
Perth Glory 1 (Howarth 38) Central Coast Mariners 2 (McBreen 22, Simon 23) Crowd: 6828 at nib Stadium, Perth