Will the Mariners see out 2011 in the style to which they’ve become accustomed, or can Gold Coast cause an upset?
Central Coast Mariners v Gold Coast United Saturday 31st December 6.15pm
Will the Mariners see out 2011 in the style to which they-ve become accustomed, or can Gold Coast cause an upset?
Having proved themselves to be genuine title contenders, Mariners will see this coastal match-up as the chance for three more points as they take on a Gold Coast side that has been wallowing at the bottom of the ladder for some time. Home fans should beware though, as, last time they met, the Mariners had to scramble from behind for a late draw, so there could very well be an upset and some points in this match for the underdogs. If the Yellow Army wants to avoid such an occurrence, they-ll need to play their part by heading down to Bluetongue Stadium and getting vocal! It-s said that the way you spend the 31st and the people you spend it with will set the tone for the coming year, so both teams will absolutely be looking to capitalise on this superstition and collect some good luck.
Back in round two, these two teams played a tight match at the same venue, which left fans well and truly on the edge of their seats. Despite dominating possession for much of the first half, the Mariners couldn-t convert their strong field presence into goals and were made to pay when Gold Coast-s young star James Brown drove home a brilliant shot in the early minutes of the second-half. The Yellow and Navy continued to trail, despite again monopolising the ball for much of the second half and were relieved when stand-in captain Patrick Zwaanswijk managed to save the day with three minutes to go, rising to head home a cross from teammate Brad Porter and stealing a 1-1 draw.
The Mariners have since had a dream run, even managing to shake off their aversion to Suncorp Stadium, when they brilliantly laid to rest the ghosts of last season-s Grand Final by defeating champions Brisbane Roar 2-1 a few weeks back. With performances like that to build on, the Yellow Army will be hoping for an easy win against a side that has found life tough so far in the Hyundai A-League 2011/12 season.
However, any complacent Central Coast fans would do well to have a look at how brilliantly the Gold Coast performed in their last away game when they recorded just their second win of the season at Hindmarsh Stadium. In a display of counter-attacking excellence, first-half goals to Ben Halloran and Marceo Rigters and a late finish from Dylan Macallister secured a comprehensive 3-0 win. Another display like that will certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons on Saturday.
Bluetongue Stadium is a great place to kick off your celebrations this New Years. Grab yourself a ticket today and see whether Mariners can secure the win or if the Northern underdogs can battle their way to a result. Get down there and be part of the outstanding Hyundai A-League action!