Preview: Central Coast Mariners v Gold Coast United

The Grand Final dream is only 90 minutes away! Get to The Bluetongue and cheer your team to glory as the excitement reaches fever pitch!

Central Coast Mariners v Gold Coast United Saturday 5th March 7:00PM Tickets from Ticketek

The Grand Final dream is only 90 minutes away! Get to The Bluetongue and cheer your team to glory as the excitement reaches fever pitch!

It-s now or never! This Saturday sees the final home game of an amazing Hyundai A-League season for Central Coast Mariners, as Gold Coast United stand between them and a Grand Final appearance. So make your way to The Bluetongue and give your side one more vocal boost as they bid to get their hands on some silverware. It-s going to be 90 minutes (or possibly 120 minutes) of nerve-jangling, tense and thrilling football in a brilliant atmosphere created by a huge crowd. Why would you even consider spending your Saturday night anywhere else? This is set to be epic!

While the Yellow Army will relish one more home game and the chance to really get behind Graham Arnold-s men as they bid for glory, at half-time in last week-s second-leg at Suncorp Stadium, it looked as though this Preliminary Final might not be necessary for the side from NSW. Then the Yellow and Navy really showed their class and quality by clawing their way right back into the tie, pulling back a 2-0 first-leg deficit to restore parity thanks to two goals in as many pulsating minutes. It was no more than the visitors deserved for their enterprising, fast-paced football which left the bumper crowd of 25,168 stunned into silence at the interval.

However, Roar won the league for a reason, and showed their strength in the second-half by re-taking the aggregate lead through Thomas Broich. The game continued to be an end-to-end cracker with Mariners still harbouring dreams of a home final until, in injury-time, Henrique sealed a 4-2 aggregate win for Roar with a right-foot screamer.

Still, to go to Suncorp and put in such a great display will give Central Coast Mariners huge hope that they can make it into the Grand Final via the long route. But, if they are to take on Brisbane Roar for a sudden-death shot at the Championship, then they-ll first have to overcome a huge hurdle on Saturday.

Gold Coast United will arrive in Gosford in buoyant mood as they bid for consecutive away wins after their stunning victory over Adelaide United last weekend. Mariners beware, Miron Bleiberg-s side showed so many reasons why they will be hard to beat in this crucial and climatic coming together of the Coasts.

Firstly, any side that can win at Hindmarsh must be decent, but to do so having been 2-1 down with 13 minutes to go showed the kind of resilience, spirit and determination that potential Champions need. This fight-back was especially impressive considering that they had earlier surrendered a 1-0 lead. To get over that setback, away from home, and to go on to silence a large and noisy crowd that was gearing up to celebrate illustrated the excellent mental character this Gold Coast side has.

Further proof that Mariners will have plenty to think about on Saturday is the continuing outstanding form of United-s frontmen. Talismanic striker Shane Smeltz was again the hero against Adelaide with a vital brace, including the match-winner 11 minutes from time, while Bruce Djite continued to impress with another notch. The three goals - a 30-yarder, a header and a penalty - showed that the Gold Coast can find the net in a variety of ways, so if Graham Arnold-s side are to progress, then they must get to grips with this deadly duo from the very first whistle.

United will also take heart from their only trip to The Bluetongue in the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season, which resulted in a thrilling 3-2 win back in November. If they can put in a similar performance on Saturday, then they might just find themselves in the Grand Final next Sunday. However, Mariners will also be hugely confident of marching on towards a showdown against Roar.

They-ve been playing wonderful, fluid football all season which has resulted in the creation of plenty of goalscoring chances, so will be encouraged that they are coming up against a United back-line that - by their own high standards - has been haemorrhaging recently. While the goals have been flowing from Smeltz and Djite, the often watertight Gold Coast defence has kept just one clean sheet in the last four games while shipping a whopping nine times in the other three.

The first of these matches resulted in an easy 3-1 win for the Central Coast at Skilled Park in the last meeting between the sides in early February. Then, Mariners secured second spot in a match remarkable for the fact the team-s average age was just 24 and included four teenagers. This young side really is something special and, when they fire on all cylinders, are more than a match for anyone.

This Preliminary Final is impossible to call. With the head-to-head between the teams in the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season showing an away win each and a scoreless draw, there is little to choose between the sides. Don-t be surprised if this one takes you on a nail-biting ride all the way to extra-time. What is for sure is that there will be quality aplenty across both starting line-ups on Saturday and the excitement and passion will be non-stop. Yellow Army, can you match it with unprecedented noise from the stands? It-s up to you to make the difference and be the twelfth man. Get vocal and get behind your heroes.

It-s been an incredible Hyundai A-League season for these two fine teams and both are desperate to end their campaigns with more to show for their efforts than just pride. So get along to this absolutely massive clash on Saturday and give them the kind of vocal support that will help propel them towards Grand Final glory. Who will be travelling to Suncorp Stadium next weekend? Will it be Mariners? Will it be United? Grab a ticket today and get down to The Bluetongue for the last time this season to experience an unbelievably nerve-jangling 90 minutes. It-s going to be huge. Do not miss it!

Grab your tickets now!