Mariners v Fury

A-League report by Chris Dunkerley
Central Coast Mariners v North Queensland Fury

Central Coast Mariners edged into 3rd spot on the table overnight with a lacklustre 1-0 win over struggling North Queensland Fury in front of a midweek crowd of nearly 6K on a rare fine game night in Gosford.

In dark suit rather than his tan jacket Fury coach Frank Straka started with only 7 of the side that took the Mariners close in round 9. Mariners coach Graham Arnold had an unchanged squad from last weekend and started Argentinian Patricio Perez in place of Young Socceroo Mustafa Amini.

The game kicked off well enough - Patricio Perez picking up the ball in midfield and making a run forward slipped the ball to Adam Kwasnik who shot straight at Fury 'keeper (and Mariner recruit) Justin Pasfield.

Within a minute the Fury posed danger in the Mariners penalty area and it took some fine work from Dutch defender Patrick Zwaaswijk to defuse the situation.

Olly Bozanic hit a snap shot over in the 6th minute, but it wasn't until the 20th minute that the crowd's pulse was raised again. Michael McGlinchey took a free-kick on the left and found Rostyn Griffiths but his header was palmed wide by Pasfield.

In the 28th minute Michael Glinchey made a run forward, backed up by his team-mates, and picked out Matt Simon on the right. The big striker looped the ball back left over the box and Adam Kwasnik rose above Simon Storey to head into the top left corner of the goal. 1-0

Brad McDonald got down the left the goal-line and cut in but his pass was cut out by a massed Coast defence. A few minutes later Fury's David Williams played in Gosford local Chris Payne who tested rookie Mariners 'keeper Matt Ryan fo the first time, but he stodd tall and took risk out of the the strike well.

The game fell away and it wasn't until the 40th minute that Olly Bozanic surged down the left and with no options, took a stinging shot on target -that deflected off a defender for a corner. Gareth Edds got a rare shot in, but Ryan blocked it, and then Matt Simon at the other end couldn't get past Pasfield.

The second half was even less eventful, with 14 minutes expiring before David Williams's frustration got too much, and he turned on the ball from midfield but shot wide to the left of goal.

Former Mariners NYL player Panni Nikas made a weaving run into the area in the 65th minute and from the left of goal cut a square ball, to find no-one there to make what would have been an easy knock-in.

Mariners substitute Mustaf Amini played in Matt Simon in the 72nd minute, but one-on-one with 'keeper Pasfield Simon tried to blast it past him rather than use some guile and thus the result was a save by Pasfield.

In the 76th minute Pedj Bojic got in a cross from an overlap on the right, but despite the ball bouncing around like in a pinball game, Daniel McBreen at last got near the ball but didn't control it, and send it wide.

Franz Straka moved his men around and rather than the midfield which he had done until then, he tried to pressure the so-far solid Coast defence - but Graham Arnold wraught his own changes to defuse any weakness. Last gasp was a chance to Bozanic who sent a speculator wide on the right, and that was that!

It was a game that never rose to great heights but in the end the Mariners defence was not much troubled despite the obvious hard work the Fury were putting in - the key threat from David Williams long range shots never eventuated, and energy was saved for a vital match-up with 2nd placed Adelaide in 4 days time.

"They're always dangerous with people like David Williams we tried to nullify him tonight. They are obviously going through a tough time .. they have had four games in fourteen days. You have to give full credit to North Queensland," Mariners coach Graham Arnold said after the game. "I'm happy with the three points but that's where it ends. I think we were a little too negative tonight. We gave North Queensland the opportunity to get back into their shape ... But, overall we deserved to win the game, we did had four or five good chances."