December 31, 2012
Mariners stay top with win over Perth
|Central Coast Mariners||Perth Glory|
|Bernie Ibini-Isei (68')|
|Central Coast Mariners||Perth Glory|
|20 Justin Pasfield||1 Daniel Vukovic|
|1 Matthew Ryan||30 Lewis Italiano|
|4 Pedj Bojic||3 Bas Van den Brink|
|3 Joshua Rose||8 Dean Heffernan|
|13 Brent Griffiths||5 Steve Pantelidis|
|5 Zachary Anderson||21 Scott Jamieson|
|16 Trent Sainsbury||19 Joshua Risdon|
|11 Oliver Bozanic||10 Liam Miller|
|8 Adriano Pellegrino||7 Jacob Burns|
|14 Michael McGlinchey||6 Nick Ward|
|23 Adam Kwasnik||4 Billy Mehmet|
|21 Mile Sterjovski||13 Travis Dodd|
|9 Bernie Ibini-Isei||9 Shane Smeltz|
|19 Mitchell Duke||14 Steven McGarry|
|18 Nick Montgomery||12 Ryo Nagai|
|Bernie Ibini-Isei for Adriano Pellegrino (53)||Billy Mehmet for Travis Dodd (71)|
|Brent Griffiths for Oliver Bozanic (88)||Nick Ward for Joshua Risdon (72)|
|Ryo Nagai for Shane Smeltz (85)|
|Matthew Ryan (87)||Bas Van den Brink (58)|
|Nick Ward (89)|
|Bas Van den Brink (76)|
|· Squads: Central Coast Mariners | Perth Glory|
Substitute Bernie Ibini ensured an understrength Central Coast entered the new year on top of the A-League ladder with the decisive goal in the Mariners' 1-0 home win over Perth at Bluetongue Stadium on Monday.
Ibini's 67th-minute goal was the first shot on target of a match dominated by two well-drilled defences.
It was the Mariners' sixth win from as many home games this season.
Without the suspended trio of playmaker Tomas Rogic, leading goal-scorer Daniel McBreen and captain John Hutchinson, Central Coast struggled to penetrate the Glory rearguard.
Perth were a man down from the 76th minute when Dutch central defender Bas van den Brink was sent off after collecting a second yellow card.
Glory created the only decent chance of the first half, but it was spurned by normally deadly striker Shane Smeltz.
The unmarked New Zealand international put a sidefoot volley wide from six metres out following a good cross from Steven McGarry.
At the other end, former Mariners goalkeeper Danny Vukovic pushed away a couple of dangerous crosses, but the home team struggled to create a genuine shot on goal in the first half.
The Mariners upped the tempo in the second half and looked the more likely to score.
Striker Adam Kwasnik had a headed goal disallowed in the 47th minute for offside and headed wide 12 minutes later.
The breakthrough came shortly after when 53rd-minute substitute Ibini won a challenge with Scott Jamieson to an Oliver Bozanic cross.
The 20-year-old striker drilled the ball past Vukovic for his third goal of the season.
Glory didn't create much in the second half and their hopes plummeted after van Den Brink, who had earlier been booked for a foul on Michael McGlinchey, was given his second card for an illegal challenge on Mile Sterjovski.
Perth didn't have an attempt on target in the whole game, while the Mariners had just two.
Perth coach Ian Ferguson felt Ibini's goal should not have stood.
"I felt he was all over Jamieson and also he has used his hand to get the ball around to him and score the goal," he said.
"We've lost three points there."
Mariners coach Graham Arnold said he didn't see the alleged handball by Ibini.
"We've had plenty go against us, so for once we've had one go for us," Arnold said.
Ferguson thought Van den Brink's second booking and consequent dismissal was probably warranted as the defender hadn't spoken to him about the incident.
"For the first half we looked very comfortable, I thought we moved the ball about well and we had a couple of half chances here or there," Ferguson said.
"In the second half, they came out with the bit between their teeth and probably towards that 65th, 70th minute mark we started to tire and that took its toll at the end."
Arnold said his young defenders Zac Anderson and Trent Sainsbury were superb and pointed out the team had won without three of its leadership group in McBreen, Hutchinson and injured defender Patrick Zwaanswijk.
"Tonight confirmed to me that we definitely have the depth to continue and go forward," Arnold said.
"The performance in the first half I think was a bit down for both teams because of the heat, but in the second half when the sun was gone it was a much better spectacle," Arnold said.
He rated Rogic a 75 per cent chance of remaining at the club after the January transfer window and goalkeeper Mat Ryan a 100 per cent chance of staying.