Mariners make it two straight

The Central Coast Mariners have made it back-to-back Pre-Season Cup wins, scoring twice in the space of three first-half minutes en route to a 2-1 win over the Queensland Roar at Perry Park in Brisbane.

The Central Coast Mariners have made it back-to-back Pre-Season Cup wins, scoring twice in the space of three first-half minutes en route to a 2-1 win over the Queensland Roar at Perry Park in Brisbane.

While the Roar were wasteful with a bulk of possession, neat finishing from Ahmed Elrich and Dylan McAllister gave the Mariners a 2-0 half-time advantage.

And despite the home team's best efforts and Michael Zullo's 51st minute strike, the visitors were able to keep their noses in front.

With Melbourne and Wellington having already qualified for the final, the match was effectively a dead rubber. But an entertaining match belied that fact, with the second half producing plenty of talking points.

Two minutes before Zullo pulled a goal back, Roar skipper Craig Moore was giving his marching orders for what referee Peter Green adjudged to be a studs-up challenge on the influential Andre Gumprecht.

The Mariners' comeback keeper Mark Bosnich didn't make an appearance until the 64th minute but he made two vital contributions. Bosnich first beat out a sweetly struck Charlie Miller shot as the Scottish midfielder raced in on the Central Coast goal, then snaffled a 'slips catch' from an otherwise goal-bound Matt McKay flick.

Miller showed he would be one of the league's best recruits, with an energetic display notable for some deft touches and an impressive range of passing.

Earlier, the Roar dominated possession for the best part of the first half-hour, only to come up empty on the scoreboard.

With Danny Tiatto generating substantial drive down the left flank and Miller dictating proceedings in the middle of the park, the Roar had plenty of half-opportunities but weren't able to capitalise on time spent on the ball.

The danger of that predicament was emphasised in the 29th minute when Elrich ghosted in behind the defence to rifle home with his right foot.

The former Wellington and Fullham player had earlier headed wide from an Adrian Caceres cross when unmarked and in perfect position to score but he needed no second invitation with his second opportunity.

In less than three minutes it was 2-0 - this time through the agency of McAllister. Sasha Petrovski broke free down the left side and when his attempted chip came back of the bar, McAallister was there to take advantage.

The Roar could easily have found itself three behind inside 40 minutes, as the increasingly prominent Petrvoski's deflected shot skimmed the bar and went behind for a corner.

Much to the relief of the home crowd, the Roar regained its composure as the first half wound down. Tiatto regained ascendancy down the left side and Miller very nearly had a goal when his well-struck shot was brilliantly parried by Danny Vukovic.

Miller had been teed up by a cute backheel from the promising Tim Smits.

Queensland Roar 1 (Zullo 51) Central Coast Mariners 2 (Elrich 29, McAllister 32) Crowd: 3241 at Perry Park, Brisbane