Central Coast Mariners and Brisbane have played out a post-Christmas cracker, fighting out a 3-3 draw in a thriller in Gosford on Saturday afternoon.
A largely forgettable first half ended with Roar taking a 1-0 lead to the break thanks to Jean Carlos Solorzano’s first Hyundai A-League goal in three years.
But the contest sprung to life after the break with goals to Eddy Bosnar – in his first start since November 9 – and Matt Simon putting the Mariners in front before James Donachie levelled things up again.
Substitute Seung Yong Kim looked like winning it for the home side when he struck 10 minutes from time but the Mariners could only hold the lead for two minutes before Solorzano got his second to ensure the visitors escaped with a point.
WHAT THEY SAID
"It's great that the fans came out in big numbers today. We're not happy with the draw but in saying that it was a good game of football.
"I've been injured and sick, it was best for the team I didn't play. The team did well while I was away but I'm glad to be back and I'll give this team everything I have every week." - Mariners defender Eddy Bosnar
"I thought we had the chance to kill the game off and we were just dropping too deep and the Central Coast were running at us and we gave them that space.
"It's always a team effort but at the end of the day that's what we get paid to do. Obviously personally I'm happy but for the team, we performed but it's disappointing not to take the three points home." - Roar defender James Donachie
0-1 Solorzano (45’) – A neat piece of work by Henrique freed up Steven Lustica just outside the box, the midfielder’s shot taking a deflection and bouncing up into the path of Solorzano. The Costa Rican managed to bring the ball down and take it around Josh Rose before slotting past Liam Reddy from close range.
1-1 Bosnar (57’) – An over-hit corner was missed by everyone forcing Anthony Caceres to retrieve on the left wing. The midfielder swung in a cross which picked out an unmarked Eddy Bosnar who planted a precise header in the bottom corner.
2-1 Simon (63’) – Nick Fitzgerald forced a diving save out of Jamie Young with a powerful drive, with Roar’s ‘keeper getting up quickly to then deny Mitchell Duke on the rebound. But the ball spilled into the path of Simon who had the simple task of poking it home.
2-2 Donachie (71’) – Some slack marking from the Mariners at a corner allowed James Donachie to leap high and get a header towards goal, the ball coming off the back of Storm Roux and past a stranded Reddy and on.
3-2 Kim (80’) – Duke won possession in midfield and ran at the defence before passing to Simon on the left. The striker’s effort was only parried into the path of Seung Yong Kim, with the Korean showing great technique to volley the ball into an open net.
3-3 Solorzano (82’) – Dimitri Petratos found the over-lapping run of Daniel Bowles down the right and the defender played in a perfect low cross the allowed Solorzano the simple task of side-footing it home from just a couple of yards out.
With just a few minutes left the Mariners created another chance to regain the lead when a cross was only partially punched away by Young. Duke got to the loose ball first and looped a header towards goal where only a brilliant header by Donachie saw the ball fly just centre-metres wide of the post. It was a huge play and ensured the visitors would escape with a point.
OPTA DATA KEY STATS
The Mariners had struggled for goals in front of their home fans before this match, with Eddy Bosnar’s opener their first home goal in over 400 minutes of action. Simon’s goal was his third in as many games while Brisbane continued their love—affair with the Central Coast, now losing just two matches there in 17 visits.
Referee Matthew Conger was in his first Hyundai A-League game and earned the ire of Brisbane when he awarded the Mariners an indirect free-kick just a couple of metres out from goal for an apparent back-pass by James Donachie. It looked a harsh call and only some desperate defending – with all 11 players on the goal-line – denied the Mariners an equaliser.