Richard Garcia (left) and Trent Sainsbury in action.
Melbourne Heart 0 Central Coast Mariners 1
Central Coast Mariners did just enough to take all three points by virtue of a one-nil win over Melbourne Heart at AAMI stadium on Sunday. On a glorious Melbourne afternoon, the two teams put all but their most devoted supporters to sleep as they passed the ball around and backwards in midfield for the first forty-five minutes. Graham Arnold talked afterwards about the sloppiness of his team in the transition from defence to attack, but the home side was even less effective in that respect. Five or six passes across the edge of the penalty area would be followed by a long straight ball which either went out of play or was mopped up by the organised and disciplined Mariners defenders. Or an attempted passing movement through the midfield would come to nothing thanks to a badly directed offering or an interception. It was poor stuff for the 6.357 fans.
Heart gave a first start to Ben Garruccio in place of Mate Dugandzic but the youngster must have wondered what was going on as his team mates struggled to impose any fluency on their attacking moves. It was probably intended that he be withdrawn after an hour or so but injuries to three Heart players ensured that he stayed on for the full 90 minutes. Indeed he had some of his most influential moments late in the game, both in attack and cutting off responses by the Mariners. Definitely one for the future.
Richard Garcia did have one decent opening in the first half which he squandered while the Mariners constructed a rare good attack just before half-time with their best attacker Tomas Rogic testing Clint Bolton with a shot.
Dylan McAllister went off after 37 minutes following a collision and a back injury and he was replaced by Josip Tadic. Fred was taken off at the interval with a tight hamstring and Dugandzic came on.
Mariners broke the stalemate with a well-worked free kick in 51 minutes. Three players stood over the ball and Pedj Bojic took the short return pass from Patrick Zwaanswijk and fired it into the corner off the finger-tips for the diving Bolton. Bojic was pleased that he had been given the responsibility he craved and the manoeuvre he had practised had come off.
Luckily there was more action in any five minutes of the second half than there had been in the whole of the first. Heart did raise its game and created some good openings but found Matt Ryan in uncompromising form when they did break through. The young keeper spread himself well to block a close range effort from Josip Tadic in 66 minutes and later held a diving header from Richard Garcia. Arnold replaced Mile Sterjovski with Bernie Ibini, who immediately opened up the game with some excellent runs at the retreating Heart defence.
David Williams drove wide from distance and then gave away a free kick after Aziz Behic had given him the ball at the end of a typlical slaloming run from defence. However, the longer the game went on the more it appeared that the Mariners would hold out and possibly even add to their lead on the counter-attack. And so it proved a disappointing result for John Aloisi, though he wanted to accentuate the positive in the post-match interview, stressing the chances created and the better effort in the second half, disrupted as it was by the enforced changes.
Sunday, 28 October 2012
Melbourne Heart 0 Central Coast Mariners 1 (Pej Bojic 51’)
Venue: AAMI Park
Kick off: 3:00PM
Referee: Chris Beath
Assistant Referees: Luke Brennan & George Lakrindis
Fourth official: Shaun Evans
1. Clint Bolton, 2. Michael Marrone, 4. Simon Colosimo, 5. Fred (23. Mate Dugandzic 46’), 6. Patrick Gerhardt, 8. Matthew Thompson (18. David Vrankovic 70’), 9. Dylan Macallister (10. Josip Tadic 36’), 11. Richard Garcia, 15. David Williams, 16. Aziz Behich, 19. Ben Garuccio.
Unused substitutes: 20. Andrew Redmayne
Yellow cards: Simon Colosimo 41’, Richard Garcia 59’. David Vrankovic 86.
Red cards: Nil
Central Coast Mariners:
1. Mathew Ryan (Gk), 2. Daniel McBreen, 3. Joshua Rose, 4. Pedj Bojic, 6. Patrick Zwaanswijk, 7. John Hutchinson (5. Zachary Anderson, 90+2’), 10. Tomas Rogic (12. Troy Hearfield 75’), 14. Michael McGlinchey, 16. Trent Sainsbury, 18. Nick Montgomery, 21. Mile Sterjovski (9. Bernie Ibini 65’).
Unused substitutes: 20. Justin Pasfield
Yellow cards: Daniel McBreen 39’
Red cards: Nil