Friday, November 27, 2009

Mariners draw yet again and fail to score

Central Coast Mariners moved up a place to third on the A-League ladder despite being held to a goalless draw at home at Blue Tongue Stadium in Gosford tonight by fifth-ranked Perth Glory.

There have been five scoreless draws in the A-League this season and the Mariners have been involved in four of these.

Perth had slightly the better of possession, but it was a dull, uninspiring match before a crowd of 7,857.

The visitors also had the better of the chances, but both sides were guilty of poor passing in the final third.

Viktor Sikora missed a great chance for Perth in the 19th minute when he volleyed Mile Sterjovski’s right-wing cross over the bar from 12 metres.

Adam Kwasnik had the ball in the net for the Mariners after a free-kick in the 25th minute, but the effort was disallowed because of off-side.

With four minutes of the first half remaining, Sterjovski cracked a superb right-foot curling shot against Danny Vukovic’s right-hand post, but the ball came back into play and was cleared by the Mariners defence.

Three minutes after the break, Nik Mrdja squandered an excellent opening from a pass by Kwasnik.

In the 51st minute, Sterjovski’s left-wing cross found Adriano Pellegrino at the far post, but his tame header was smothered by Vukovic.

Perth continued to go for the win and, in the 67th minute, a Branko Jelic pass put Sikora clear on the right, but Vukovic just got a foot to the shot and deflected the ball wide of the far post for a corner.

The Mariners’ best chance came five minutes from the end when substitute Nicky Travis crossed towards the far post from the left, but Matt Simon headed an easy chance wide from close range.

The game ended with Sikora shooting wide for Perth and Ahmad Elrich driving just over the bar for the Mariners.

Mariners captain Alex Wilkinson was playing his 100th game for the club.

“We had the better of the first half-hour and we retained possession, but we didn’t create too many chances,” Wilkinson said.

“The last sort of bit of the first half we lost it and let Glory back into the game.

“In the second half, we sort of huffed and puffed but didn’t create too much, although we could have stolen it there at the end.

“A bit disappointed overall.

“Their centre-backs are both very experienced players but, on the other hand, we didn’t keep the ball well enough up front.

“When you can’t keep the ball, you’re not going to create chances and that’s probably what happened tonight.”

Perth’s Mile Sterjovski, who received a yellow card in the match, said: “We knew it was going to be a difficult game and that they’ve got the best defence in the league.

“We knew it was going to be hard to crack them, but I thought we put in a good effort and came away with a good point.

“I think we’re growing in confidence when we come away and, you know, we’re getting points.

“We’re looking forward to going on a bit of a run and I’m confident the boys can finish strongly at the end of the season.”

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