Mariners overcome Glory

A terrible blunder by Perth goalkeeper Tando Velaphi has seen the Central Coast Mariners snatch a 2-1 victory over the Glory through Matt Simon's 89th-minute winner.

A terrible blunder by Perth goalkeeper Tando Velaphi has seen the Central Coast Mariners snatch a 2-1 victory over the Glory through Matt Simon's 89th-minute winner.

The first Hyundai A-League match at Canberra Stadium appeared to be petering out to a 1-1 result before a tame Mariners' attack was transformed into a goal through Velaphi's error.

On a dewy surface, the Glory stopper charged out to claim an initially harmless long ball forward. But when Velaphi over-shot the ball, he compounded his error by slipping over, allowing Dylan Macallister to chase it down on the goal-line and square it for Simon to tap in at the far post.

There was still time for the Glory to have one last chance to equalise after striker Branko Jelic was taken down on the edge of the box by the otherwise excellent Nigel Boogaard.

But Jelic's 94th-minute free kick was well-held by Central Coast 'keeper Danny Vukovic in a dramatic end to an encounter that saw Alex Wilkinson's first-half goal for Central Coast cancelled out by Mile Sterjovski's tap home in the 82nd minute.

Glory coach Dave Mitchell said all he could say to Velaphi was, 'keep your chin up'.

"He's come in and apologised to all the players but Tando's made some great saves during the season and at the end of last season and he's a great goalkeeper," Mitchell said. "He'll learn from it, as we all will."

Having seen his side miss a last-minute penalty in a 0-0 draw with Sydney in Round 3, Mariners' boss Lawrie McKinna said it was about time the club's run of misfortune ended.

"We've deserved a wee bit of luck over the last few weeks and we certainly got that at the end," he said.

"(But) everybody did their job tonight and ... after the first 15, 20 minutes, when we started knocking the ball about, we dominated the last pass."

Fresh from two consecutive wins at home, the Glory started like a rocket at the neutral venue as they looked for just their second victory over Central Coast in 13 attempts, and only their second away win in the last 26 matches.

Perth produced several fluent attacking moves in the opening stages as Victor Sikora saw a seventh-minute effort easily smothered by Vukovic before Sterjovski unselfishly looked for a team-mate on the half hour when the goal was at his mercy.

The Mariners were relying on some desperate defence to keep them in the encounter as Sterjovski and Jelic threatened to run riot, the Serbian striker firing a sensational dipping strike into the underside of the crossbar in the 31st minute.

But after a week of scrutiny following a poor performance against Brisbane the Mariners lifted their rating through the middle as former Sheffield United man Nicky Travis and Michael McGlinchey started setting up some quality attacking runs for strikers Simon and Nik Mrdja.

Simon was guilty of some over enthusiasm as he was flagged offside on three occasions before half-time, but Mrdja looked dangerous with his excellent ball control setting up a missed chance for McGlinchey.

Having taken the momentum, the Mariners opened the scoring in the 42nd minute after Perth's Naum Sekulovski gave away a free kick 30 metres from goal.

Pedj Bojic rose high to nod the free kick at goal, forcing Velaphi into a sensational finger-tip save. But Mariners' skipper Wilkinson was on hand to slip the loose ball in at the far post through a tangle of legs for his first Hyundai A-League goal in 89 matches.

The Mariners went on to dominate possession for much of the second half but didn't really threaten the Perth goal as the visitors looked to catch them on the break, with Sterjovski's netted effort denied by a late offside call.

But the Glory were handed a lifeline in the 80th minute when Brad Porter handballed a bouncing Wayne Srhoj cross in the area and referee Ben Williams pointed to the spot.

Vukovic got his hand to Sterjovski's penalty but the Qantas Socceroo netted the rebound to cancel out Wilkinson's effort.

Five minutes from time, Srhoj rattled the crossbar himself with a close-range header, but the Mariners soon took the ball forward once again for Simon to find himself in the right place at the right time as Velaphi looked on in despair.

Hyundai A-League

Central Coast Mariners 2 (Wilkinson 42, Simon 89) Perth Glory 1 (Sterjovski 82) Crowd: 5139 at Canberra Stadium