Penalties punish Mariners as Roar claim victory

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Despite the Mariners’ best efforts, two errors in defence have cost them three points and a potential spot in the top six, losing to Brisbane Roar 2-0 in Gosford on Friday night.

Both goals were made very easy indeed for the Roar with two well-taken penalties from Jean Carlos Solorzano and Thomas Broich, in the 49th and 92nd minutes respectively, securing the seventh-placed team a much-needed win.

What seemed to be disappointing from the spectators’ point of view is not that the Mariners lost, or that they lost at home, or even that it is their sixth loss at home, or that they conceded in the final minute of play, but that once again a referee has seemingly managed to make a match about himself.

Though one could easily argue that the referee had no other choice but to award the first penalty against Eddy Bosnar for a handball, the second one was simply a case of a more experienced player outwitting a less experienced one. The basically harmless but un-co tackle from A-League youngster Anthony Kalik was exploited by Broich, and you can’t blame him for that.

“Thomas is a player with great experience and he knows how to sniff out a penalty, and young Anthony will learn from it and he will grow from it,” Moss said after the game.

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Despite the ending, the first ten minutes started in fairly even form. The Mariners even enjoyed a period of solid attack for the next ten minutes, with a relentless barrage of shots at Brisbane keeper Michael Theo.

New recruit Fabio Ferreira was quick to impress fans, showcasing skill and desire in offense, creating plenty of opportunities for the yellow and navy early on.

“I ranked the first half performance with some of our best of the season…we had some chances in the first half, we didn’t take our chances but Fabio did well tonight for his first performance for the club,” Moss said.

The loss of Mitchell Duke, who left the Mariners for J-League club Shimizu S-Pulse was softened by the addition of Ferreira, but he wasn’t the only one giving Brisbane cause for concern.

John Hutchinson had Theo on his toes with a well-aimed header in the 15th minute, and birthday boy Nick Fitzgerald tried very hard indeed to celebrate his twenty-third year by getting on the score-sheet, applying pressure to the Roar’s defense.

While both teams tend to keep possession in their defensive thirds as a way to rebuild play and control of the game, Brisbane took the initiative to apply pressure.  A moment of hesitation in attack from Eddy Bosnar in the 38th minute forced the Mariners to turn back again, resulting in dispossession, but at least the Roar were doing their job well.

The Mariners didn’t give up on their “if-in-doubt-pass-it-back” mantra despite several intercepted passes and errors, with Liam Reddy almost gifting Thomas Broich with a goal in the 39th minute. Broich should have squared off to Brandon Borrello, but alas, he did not and the Mariners dodged a bullet.

There were plenty of chances made and plenty of chances lost at both ends of the pitch by the end of the first half. With both teams fully aware of the importance of a win at this stage of the competition, the second half brought a renewed sense of desperation in attack.

The first goal came in the 49th minute from a penalty taken by Solorzano after Bosnar was charged with a handball. The Mariner was not at all happy with the referee’s decision, arguing the ball had slapped into his hanging limb from a deflection. It’s hard to say what happened, but suffice to say it didn’t end well.

Liam Reddy, who has both saved and conceded the most goals of any keeper in the A-League this season, added one more to his tally.

While Brisbane settled into the second half swimmingly, the Mariners found themselves once more flailing in neck-deep water.

Although the Mariners were a touch frazzled defensively after the goal, they didn’t drop their heads after conceding, still pushing forward with strong chances from Bosnar and Fitzgerald.

Another free kick for Brisbane almost resulted in a goal in the 64th minute, with Luke Brattan showing off his technical prowess, testing Reddy once more who managed to tip it over the crossbar.

Anthony Kalik, the youngest player in the A-League, replaced captain John Hutchinson in the 71st minute, meaning either Moss is really supportive of developing young talent or that at this point he is literally willing to try anything. (A bit of both, perhaps?)

As the last ten minutes of the game approached and the Mariners edged towards their sixth home defeat this season, it was hard to not feel that this game would not bring a positive conclusion for the Mariners.

And yes, it did get worse…Broich was awarded the penalty against Kalik in extra time, leaving the score 2-0, Kalik feeling terrible, and the Mariners even further away from making the finals.

In typical Phil Moss style, he remains adamant that the Mariners are still in the running.

“Yep. It’s gonna be tough, but mathematically while its still possible we’ve got a chance to make the top six,” he said.

The Mariners will play Chinese favourites Guangzhou on Tuesday night in their opener of the ACL, allowing the players to refocus their attention on something other than A-League matches.

“Certainly the ACL is a welcome distraction from tonight,” Moss said.

It’s a welcome distraction for all Mariners fans.

Central Coast Mariners starting 11: 2. Storm Roux, 3. Josh Rose, 4. Jacob Poscoliero, 7. John Hutchinson (C) 8. Nick Montgomery, 10. Anthony Caceres, 11. Nick Fitzgerald, 12. Liam Reddy (GK), 18. Glen Trifiro, 19. Matt Simon, 25. Eddy Bosnar, 26. Fabio Ferreira

Central Coast Mariners substituts: 1. Matthew Nash (GK), 14. Travis Major, 15. Matt Sim, 16. Liam Rose, 20. Anthony Kalik

Brisbane Roar starting 11: 1. Michael Theo (GK), 2. Jerome Polenz, 4. Adam Sarota, 5. Corey Brown, 12. Jean Carlos Solorzano, 13. Jade North, 15. James Donachie, 17. Matt McKay (C) 18. Luke Brattan, 22. Thomas Broich, 28. Brandon Borrello

Brisbane Roar substitutes: 3. Shane Stafanutto, 8. Steven Lustica, 9. Andrija Kaluderovic, 21. Jamie Young (GK), 34. Shannon Brady

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