Central Coast Mariners opened their Hyundai A-League account with an entertaining 3-2 win over a disappointing Perth Glory in Round 1 in Gosford.
Mariners wingers Fabio Ferreira and Mitch Austin were the heroes for the home side with superb displays against a lacklustre Perth outfit on Saturday.
Ferreira bagged a couple of penalties and was a constant threat while Austin down the left was pacy and dangerous.
Central Coast’s Irish stiker Roy O’Donovan bagged the opener on nine minutes. Perth skipper Richard Garcia equalised shortly after with a bullet header to make it 1-1.
But after Glory striker Guyon Fernandez brought down right winger Ferreira on 57 minutes, the Portuguese flyer converted to give the home side the lead.
And nine minutes later, the former Chelsea player smashed home a second spot kick to make it 3-1 to the home side.
Glory with a late goal in time added on by Gyorgy Sandor but it was too little too late.
On a pristine surface in Gosford, Glory had the ball in the net in the opening few minutes after skipper Richard Garcia was slipped through but after Guyon Fernandez slotted home it was adjudged offside.
The home side looked disjointed early on as Glory pressed forward easily, but soon the Mariners were on the scoreboard.
Opening up the visitors down the right, O’Donovan was in the right spot as a powerful volley from Ferreira hit Covic and the rebounded ball hit the Irish striker and the ball crept into the net.
Talk about the luck of the Irish! That lifted the home side who soon found their mojo and could’ve made it two had it not been for Covic.
Glory hit back shortly after. Josh Risdon with the purposeful run down the right, his deep cross was met by the former Hull City favourite who buried it past Liam Reddy.
Mitch Austin down the left was causing all sorts of problems with his crosses – on such delivery broke for Nick Fitzgerald whose shot fizzed past Covic’s right hand but just wide.
And 24-year-old Austin should’ve made it 2-1 in the final minute of the first half, Covic fumbled the ball but the flyer blasted wide from inside the box.
Austin continued to be the outlet down the left for the home side, but it was the other Mariners winger Ferreira who won - then scored - a penalty on 57 minutes.
The Portuguese flyer went close to a third minutes later as the home side sensed the win. And it was his ball into the path of Storm Roux that saw Antony Golec take down the Kiwi in the box.
Ferreira then coolly converted his second of the game to make it 3-1 on 65 minutes.
New Glory signing Diego Castro capped a disappointing Aussie debut after he was found in space in the middle of the box on 78 minutes. He couldn’t keep his shot down and it sailed over.
Reddy remained resolute to keep out the Glory while Covic in the Glory goal kept out a fourth with his foot.
Glory nabbed a consolation goal in the final 10 seconds in time added on when Hungarian Sandor's deflected effort beat the excellent Reddy.
But in the end the Mariners ran out deserved winners against the FFA Cup semi finalists to open their Hyundai A-League season in the best possible way.
Central Coast Mariners 3 O’Donovan (9’) Ferreira (pen 57’, pen 65’)
Perth Glory 2 Garcia (23’) Sandor (90'+2)