Zwaanswijk equaliser denies Glory
A controversial late goal from Patrick Zwaanswijk has given Central Coast a 1-1 draw with a Perth Glory on Sunday evening at nib Stadium.
A controversial late goal from Patrick Zwaanswijk has given Central Coast a 1-1 draw with Perth Glory on Sunday evening at nib Stadium.
Perth took the lead in the fourth minute through a deflected Josh Mitchell strike and appeared set to hold on after weathering some intense second-half pressure from the Mariners in some warm conditions.
But Dutch defender Zwaanswijk was on hand in the 87th minute to bundle the ball across the line from close-range, although it looked like Glory youngster Josh Risdon was fouled by Daniel McBreen as the Mariners' striker nodded the ball across to Zwaanswijk.
Glory launched a late assault on the Central Coast goal as Robbie Fowler sent a free kick over the bar before the former Liverpool striker fired a powerful strike straight at Mariners' stopper Matthew Ryan.
But the hosts couldn't force another goal and had to settle for a point that sees them remain in second-last on the table, while the Mariners stay in fourth.
Despite missing a host of senior players including skipper Jacob Burns and veteran defender Andy Todd (both with hip injuries), along with the suspended Mile Sterjovski, the Glory looked fresh after last week's bye and set out to attack the Mariners' goal from the outset.
Steven McGarry shot over the bar in the first minute, but the men in purple and white didn't have to wait long to take the lead from a fourth-minute corner.
Fowler swung the ball in from the left to the near post and unmarked defender Mitchell managed to chip towards goal, the ball taking a deflection into the back of the net as it evaded Josh Rose on the line.
The Mariners responded through Pedj Bojic, who blasted over in the eighth minute from a corner, while Adriano Pellegrino saw a 20-metre shot with his non-preferred left foot just clear the bar 17 minutes in.
Perth were dealt a significant blow in the 19th minute when defender and stand-in captain Scott Neville, playing at right midfield instead of his usual right back position, was forced off with an irregular heart beat, his place taken by Tommy Amphlett.
The 27th minute saw both sides go close to scoring as Fowler nodded an Amphlett cross narrowly wide before a quick counter released Matt Simon down the other end, the Mariners' striker firing wastefully wide from five metres when one-on-one with Tando Velaphi.
As the temperature hovered around 30 degrees, the Glory opted to slow things down and retain possession, forcing the Mariners to take the initiative, something they were struggling to do with key midfielder Mustafa Amini well contained by Perth youngster Howard Fondyke.
Perth opened the second half with another series of attacks as Anthony Skorich's netted effort was ruled offside in the 49th minute before Fowler mis-timed a header, nodding Pellegrino's incisive cross narrowly over the bar from a metre out five minutes after the break.
By that stage Mariners coach Graham Arnold had seen enough, the former Qantas Socceroos boss bringing on Argentine playmaker Patricio Perez and striker Daniel McBreen for Amini and Adam Kwasnik respectively.
Former Glory striker McBreen looked to make an immediate impact as a powerful effort from a tight angle was deflected across goal by Velaphi.
With Perez and Michael McGlinchey taking control of the midfield battle, Central Coast pressed the Glory further and further back as the pressure mounted.
Perth were still able to attack through quick-counters as Skorich hit the side-netting with an effort ultimately flagged offside before McGarry's powerful shot stung Ryan's hands.
Ten minutes from time, Rose looked like he'd equalised when he nodded home McGlinchey's right-wing cross, but the flag was also up once again.
Arnold then opted for a change of structure that proved telling as he sent towering defender Zwaanswijk forward for the final seven minutes, the Dutchman finding himself in the right place to take the ball across the line three minutes from time after McBreen's unseen foul on Risdon.
Despite being all but out on their feet, the young Perth side pressed for a late winner, but ultimately had to settle for the point.
Perth Glory 1 (Mitchell 4) Central Coast Mariners 1 (Zwaanswijk 87) Crowd: 6536 at nib Stadium, Perth