Forget the three points for a win, hapless Sydney FC couldn’t buy themselves a draw at the moment.

Credit: Kristy Beck

With Danny McBreen replacing Matt Simon up front, Central Coast Mariners needed their young striker Bernie Ibini to mature quickly into the class player most expect him to become. Promising major changes for his team, Sydney FC coach, Vitezslav Lavicka, moved Rhyan Grant to the right of defence while on the left Shannon Cole was dropped in favour of Seb Ryall. Nick Carle also returned for the fixture, but it didn’t make a difference, as the Mariners ran out a 1-0 win.

A decent number of travelling Mariners fans joined the Sydney cohort to make up a crowd of 11,866 at the Sydney Football Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Pre-game, both teams faced the Cove and paid tribute to Sydney FC fan, William ‘Doggadog’ Duran, who passed away earlier this year.

It was the Mariners who struck first, Sydney FC’s shaky defence again looking in worse shape than Gold Coast United owner Clive Palmer. Bozanic had the easiest of goals after a good pass across the box from Pedj Bojic, the Olyroo captain scoring his first goal of the season in the ninth minute.

But for Liam Reddy, it could have been two nil, when Ibini was found racing toward goal after 16 minutes, with only the ‘keeper to beat. Reddy did well to step up and meet Ibini’s shot, clearing it off his body for a corner.

On half-time, again it could have been the Mariners to put the ball in the net after a first stanza of one way traffic to Central Coast. Reddy loomed large, preventing a header on the goal line, and kept his team in the contest going into the break with only a one nil deficit.

In Sydney’s best play of the game, Nick Carle gave Bridge a scoring opportunity on 66 minutes similar to that of Bozanic’s in the first half. Unlike Bozanic though, Bridge shot just wide, leaving the rising Sydney fans clutching their heads in angst.

As Sydney desperately pressed in the 79th, Petratos almost latched onto a decent Bridge through-ball, but could not match it for pace as it went out for a goalkick. One nil it would remain, giving the Central Coast Mariners a comfortable lead at the top of the Hyundai A-League ladder.

William ‘Doggadog’ Duran 1957 – 2012
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Editor of The Football Sack for three years, Matthew now spends his time sipping Merlot whilst watching the latest installment of Thursday FC.