Mariners hold Gold Coast

Gold Coast's hold on top spot in the Hyundai A-League might be short-lived after United was forced to settle for a share of the points following a 1-1 draw with Central Coast at Gosford on Friday night.

Gold Coast's hold on top spot in the Hyundai A-League might be short-lived after United was forced to settle for a share of the points following a 1-1 draw with Central Coast at Gosford on Friday night.

After a poor first half the game came to life in the second stanza with the Mariners unlucky not to claim only their second home win of the season at Bluetongue Stadium.

It was a result neither coach will be happy with.

Gold Coast boss Miron Bleiberg would be disappointed his team did not claim maximum points after Joel Porter opened the scoring in the 66th minute.

Porter was in the right place at the right time to lash home from close range following a corner the Mariners failed to clear.

But within a minute of Porter's goal the Mariners were handed a chance to equalise after striker Nik Mrdja was fouled in the box by Sebastiaan Van Den Brink.

Mrdja was quick to his feet and safely slotted home from the penalty spot in the 68th minute.

It was his third goal in three games and sixth of the season.

After Mrdja-s goal the Mariners looked the more likely to win the match and created a host of great chances.

Replacement Michael McGlinchey could have been the hero for the home side but failed to find the back of the net with three good chances, the last of which came in the 89th minute when his header was well saved by Gold Coast goalkeeper Jess Van Strattan.

McGlinchey was not the only Mariner who could have won the match with midfielder Brad Porter also coming close.

Up the other end of the field Gold Coast could also have claimed three vital away points when Kristian Rees sent a header just wide of the right post with four minutes to play.

The Mariners played out the closing minutes a player short after Nigel Boogaard was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Melbourne and Sydney can both leapfrog Gold Coast with victories this weekend, while the Mariners, who went into the match in seventh place, have a major fight on their hands to make the finals. Central Coast has not won since a 5-1 victory against North Queensland at the end of November.

Gold Coast 1 (Joel Porter 66-) Central Coast 1 (Nik Mrdja 68-) Crowd 5724