A Patrick Zwaanswijk header followed by a McBreen converted penalty sealed the 2012/2013 Hyundai A-League Championship for the Central Coast Mariners, their first in four attempts.

What’s inside the ball, you ask? The A-League trophy of course.

It was just reward for a team that outplayed the Western Sydney Wanderers in the A-League Grand Final, ending the Sydney club’s 13 game unbeaten streak. The Mariners will only party quietly after their 2-0 win however, leaving for South Korea tomorrow morning to fulfill Asian Champions League commitments.

Match Report

Despite the disrespectful start prior to kickoff, where the Red and Black Bloc sung through the entire national anthem, it was a spectacularly high paced opening.

The Central Coast Mariners ate (and choked on) the majority of an entré of chances. After only four minutes Bernie Ibini hit over the top from a decent cutback from Pedj Bojic. Two minutes later a Jerome Polenz foul led to a Mariners freekick on the edge of the box which was whipped in and almost found on-waiting Sainsbury.

In the 8th minute Mile Sterjovski should have opened the scoring, finding himself clear on goal with Wanderers ‘keeper Ante Covic advancing. But the striker’s looping chip only managed to skim the top of the crossbar.

After 19 minutes it was Wanderers turn with Mark Bridge curling a cross from the left to last week’s hero Dino Kresinger. The ball ultimately passed inches in front of Kresinger’s head and out for a goalkick.

Back up the other end, Josh Rose placed a seething ball from the left across the face of goal to Ibini, who couldn’t stick his peg out far enough to get on the end of it.

An intense opening could not be sustained however and mid-way through the half a ten minute lull ensued before Appiah-Kubi almost walked the ball around Mariners ‘keeper Ryan.

The first shot on target that forced a save came didn’t come until the 41st, Ibini driving low and hard directly toward Covic – who dealt with it easily.

Zwaanswijk scored his first goal of the season to break the deadlock just before the break. A corner in the 43rdminute had Patrick Zwaanswijk jump above Kresinger and powerfully head home to give the Mariners a 1-0 advantage at half time.

With a one goal advantage Mariners looked in complete control as the match restarted. One might have gone so far as to have called them Marinercalona.

Shinji Ono came close to levelling in the 58th minute, his shot/cross from the left wing missing everyone inside the box.

In the 63rd Sterjovski could have given the Mariners a second, neatly controlling a longball, flicking it to his right foot and shooting, but in the end placing the ball just wide.

Jerome Polenz gifted Central Coast their second goal five minutes later, handling the ball inside the box. A-League Golden Boot winner Danny McBreen stepped up and slammed the round thing into the net.

2-0 the final score, giving Mariners a well deserved Hyundai A-League Championship.

WSW: Covic, Cole, Topor-Stanley, Beauchamp (C) Polenz, Poljak, Kresinger, Mooy, Appiah-Kubi, Bridge, Ono.

SUBS: Haliti, Elrich, Visconte, Trifiro, Saliadarre.

MARINERS: Ryan, McBreen, Rose, Bjoic, Zwaanswijk, Hutchinson (C), Ibini, Bozanic, McGlinchey, Sainsbury, Sterjovski.
 
SUBS: Anderson, Caceres, Duke, Pasfield, Fitzgerald.

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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.