Fireworks at SFS in famous Central Coast Mariners win

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A warm spring evening greeted fierce rivals Sydney FC and Central Coast Mariners for the Round Seven Hyundai A-League fixture at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Newly termed the New South Wales Derby, the Sky Blues came into the encounter in excellent form, not having lost since Brisbane Roar in mid October.

The now lush manicured lawn of Moore Park Road was to be the stage of two of the hottest properties in Australian football. Sydney began with Terry Antonis while Graham Arnold opted to keep Mustafa Amini on the bench.

Central Coast Mariners, who had laboured to a home nil-all draw last week against an under strength, Harry Kewell-less Melbourne Victory, were forced to withstand an early Sky Blue barrage.

Former Sydney Olympic duo Nick Carle and Brett Emerton caused issues for the Mariners in the opening minutes. Within the first ten, Brett Emerton linked up with Scott Jamieson and the ball was fed to Mark Bridge. When it was more simple to score Bridge launched it over.

It is clear Emerton and Carle are enjoying life together in Sky Blue as the partnership on the left is developing into something beautiful.

But Graham Arnold’s Mariners settled into a fine rhythm with Michael McGlinchey, John Hutchinson, Joshua Rose and Pedj Bojc all linking up well in the wing back formation.

The high quality midfield arm wrestle began to turn the way of Sydney FC as the half wore on. Antonis began to run the show from deep as his older masters pressed forward.

Press as they might, Sydney FC could not find the opening as they pushed further forward as a premium A-League midfield sniffed a goal in the offing. But as so often happens when in the ascendancy, a moment of indecisiveness from Michael Beauchamp nearly let Bernie Ibini in.

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When Beauchamp needed to clear his lines Ibini pounced, gained possession and was in a one on one. Reddy advanced quickly and blocked a hefty close range strike.

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The Mariners regained the intiative through a rampant Bernie Ibini as the half drew to a close. On 44 minutes Ibini fed to Daniel McBreen who advanced into space on the edge of the area as Antonis was forced to concede a free kick on the edge of the area. What was to come was a memorable strike from Dutch defender Patrick Zwaanswijk. A swerving, rising free kick left the man mountain’s left boot directly into the top corner of Liam Reddy’s goal.

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The Cove stood silenced by a world class strike reminiscent of Alvin Ceccoli’s thunderbolt in season one.

Central Coast up 1-0 at the break and Sydney would have to come from behind to win after conceding first again.

Terry McFlynn would not come out of the sheds succumbing to a knock picked up early in the first half. Bruno Cazarine came on and Nick Carle dropped into his familiar trequartista role.

As the game hit the half hour mark young Borussia Dortmund midfielder Mustafa Amini was unleashed on the SFS. The sight of Antonis and Amini side by side giving the healthy 13947 attendees their money’s worth.

Amini’s impact was immediate. On 65 minutes, it was the Young Socceroo who provided a deft ball to Pedj Bojic out wide. Bojic hit a superb low cross to All-White McGlinchey who had perfect body shape to nestle the ball low and hard into the back of the net. 2-0 Mariners and Sydney with it all to do.

Despite having a premium A-League midfield, the tempo and the high pressing game of last week was lacking. Mustafa Amini was running the show as Central Coast were Brisbane Roar-like in possession. Imperious, moving the ball low with pace and precision.

Viteszlav Lavicka withdrew Terry Antonis in favour of Hirofumi Moriyasu, the young playmaker getting a rousing reception despite the scoreline.

With his first touch, the Japanese midfielder played a superb ball through the heart of the Mariners defence to Mark Bridge. Bridge was in one on one and Pasfield blocked a chip shot well in front of The Cove. But the ball rose to Nick Carle; the man who cannot stop scoring scored again. This time a rare headed goal to get Sydney back into it at 2-1.

But as quick as flash, Matt Simon changed the course of the game again. Simon controlled the ball and took it wide as Beauchamp fell off the rangy striker. Simon got to the by-line, and squared it to Troy Hearfield who side footed home. 3-1 Central Coast Mariners.

The game was alive and Sydney would not lie down. Central Coast Mariners conceded a free kick on the edge of the area giving Brett Emerton a chance from a dead ball situation. Emerton hit a cultured free kick into Pasfield’s top left corner as The Cove went off like a firecracker. Sydney back at 3-2.

As the game went into time added on Shannon Cole earned a corner with a tremendous run down the right hand side. Justin Pasfield was immense as he clawed 3 points for Central Coast with a piece of desperate magic.

Just prior to the final whistle Strebre Delovski, provided a late piece of entertainment of his own giving Karol Kisel a yellow and a red for one tackle before realising the error and rescinded the red.

As time elapsed, the Mariners celebrated a great victory, their first in four years at Moore Park Road.

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