Mariners, Fury share points

Central Coast Mariners have ended their streak of five defeats by drawing 1-1 with North Queensland Fury in Gosford on Saturday night.

Central Coast Mariners have ended their streak of five defeats by drawing 1-1 with North Queensland Fury in Gosford on Saturday night.

After the home side took a lead inside the first five minutes Fury hit back shortly after. With the scores tied 1-1 at the break, neither side could find a breakthrough on a warm night at Bluetongue stadium.

In front of 6556 fans, it was a dream start for the home side. After just three minutes Brad Porter's curling cross found the head of Mrdja who got his body in front of Beau Busch to guide his header past Fury keeper Justin Pasfield.

Porter's forays forward down the right were a feature of the Mariners early play while Dean Heffernan's marauding run down the left resulted in a corner as the home side enjoyed a confident opening 15 minutes.

But against the run of play it was one apiece on 19 minutes. Robbie Fowler was involved in the lead up laying off to Jeremy Brockie who rattled a low shot from the edge of the box which went in under Danny Vukovic's dive courtesy of a heavy deflection from the unlucky Porter.

Buoyed by that, Fury worked their way back into the game and defender Chris Grossman came close but his back-header in the Coast box resulted in an offside flag.

It was end-to-end stuff with Mrdja's bullet shot just over the bar and Andrew Clarke wasting a good opportunity created by Heffernan - his shot sailing high and wide.

For Fury, the on-fire Brockie enjoyed two good opportunities - the second effort a shot from the edge of the box courtesy of a beautiful lay-off from Dyron Daal.

But right on the break Alex Wilkinson found himself free in the six-yard box with a golden opportunity to score. The Coast's skipper's free header from Porter's precise corner was guided wide of the post.

Fury started the stronger in the second half with Daal feeding Fowler inside 60 seconds but Wilkinson cleared the danger as the visitor forced four corners in the opening five minutes.

Minutes later and another Heffernan marauding run found Mrdja on the edge of the box but the Qantas Socceroo hero from Wednesday night blasted his poked shot over the bar.

Just after the hour mark Fowler started a flowing move that ended with his scuffed shot failing to trouble Vukovic as Fury began to stamp their authority on the game.

Fury substitute Terry Cooke's first touch released Fowler who found Grossman in the box. His brilliant effort hit the net but was ruled offside.

Mariners coach Lawrie McKinna brought off Maltese international John Hutchinson for Kiwi international Mike McGlinchey as the home side looked to find an answer in the final 20 minutes.

Fowler's stinging shot was tipped over by Vukovic with ten minutes left and Fury substitute Danny McBreen had a great chance late on to win it as the visitors looked the most likely to break the deadlock.

In the end a draw was a fair result for two sides desperate for all three points.

Central Coast Mariners 1 (Mrdja 3) North Queensland Fury 1 (Brockie 19)