Gold Coast United have grabbed all three points in a smash and grab thriller at Bluetongue, scoring three goals to two to end the Mariners’ unbeaten home record.

The game started quickly, with each side getting a good chance early on. First Culina side footed tamely to the keeper from a good position inside the box, then Daniel McBreen headed narrowly wide for Central Coast.

The early action was favouring the Mariners and they nearly went ahead via the toe of Gold Coast centreback Kristian Rees after a dangerous ball across the six yard box.

Just before the fifteen minute mark the home side really should have been ahead. Wilkinson curled a perfect cross into the six yard box, this time from the right, and Matt Simon somehow contrived to knee wide when it looked easier to score.

Amini was the next Mariner to have a strike on goal. His strike from 20 yards was well hit but too near to Moss, who gathered comfortably after an initial juggle.

The Gold Coast were struggling to keep the ball in the Mariners’ half, and the home side were able to easier pick the pocket of isolated Gold Coast players.

Michael McGlinchy was again influential for the Mariners, and on the half hour mark he tested his All Whites colleague in goal for the Gold Coast with a powerful strike off his left from just outside the area. Moss was up to the task and beat the strike away well.

Moss came to the Gold Coast’s rescue superbly again five minutes later. The Mariners strolled forwards and Amini found himself alone with Moss after a deflection off a Gold Coast toe. He put his foot through it but the keeper flung up a hand and pushed the strike just over the bar.

Despite all the pressure from the home side it looked like the game might drift to half time without a goal, but with five minutes left in the half Josh Rose and Simon combined to give the Central Coast a deserved lead.

Fullback Rose burst onto a good ball in behind the visitor’s defensive line and Simon was able to steer in his well weighted cross at full stretch. The home side were one up, and looking good for their lead.

The Gold Coast had barely been in the match in an attacking sense, but minutes later they were bizarrely level. A Jason Culina corner wasn’t well dealt with and it fell to the unlikely boot of Djulbic, whose snap shot flew into the top of the net to deflate the Mariners right before the half time break.

Things nearly got even worse for the Mariners just five minutes after the break. Taj Minniecon found himself one on one with Matt Ryan after a chaotic attempt at playing the offside trap by the Mariners. He had all the time in the world but somehow blazed high and wide. The replay showed there might have been a bobble just before he struck it, but it was a bad miss regardless.
Moss was on hand to make another save from a good strike from McGlinchy not long after as the Mariners struggled to pull themselves back into the lead.

The game drifted into a stalemate soon after, with neither side able to produce the quality required to change the game, and the silence of the crowd was testament to that.

The Bluetongue crowd were back in full voice soon after as their side almost managed to bundle the ball home after a goalmouth scramble, but a combination of Moss again and a crowd of players managed to keep it out.

After 70 minutes the Gold Coast were back to their old tricks of scoring goals against the run of play. Robson floated the ball into the box and Pantelidis was on hand at the far post to smash home the loose second ball. 2-1.

It took less than a minute for the Mariners to strike back. Supersub Kwasnik leapt on poor positioning from Djulbic at the back from a Mariners long ball to skip around Moss and slide home another goal off the bench. Moss thought Kwasnik had nudged Djulbic as they competed for the long ball, but the goal stood.

The goal rush wasn’t quite finished. This time it was Alex Wilkinson making an uncharacteristic mistake at the back. His control on the chest was heavy and Barisic, another substitute, pounced on the loose ball and finished coolly to put the Gold Coast back into the lead.

Three goals in four minutes, and the Mariners somehow found themselves battling to preserve their unbeaten home record after cruising at half time.

The Mariners continued to push but the Gold Coast closed the game out well to snare a valuable three points in a game the Mariners will be disappointed to lose after they should have been out of reach by half time.

The Gold Coast, however, deserve plenty of credit too, after hanging in early on and coming out on the right side of a goal rush in the middle of the second half.

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