It was a perfect farewell for Mariners star Michael McGlinchey as he scored a late winner to give the Mariners a 2-1 win in their traditional New Year’s Eve fixture against Perth Glory.
There were plenty of changes for both sides with the Mariners dropping Marcos Flores and Marcel Seip for Mitchell Duke and Zac Anderson, while Perth had William Gallas, Shane Smeltz, Jamie Maclaren, Cameron Edwards and Ryo Nagai.
Perth Glory struggled to hold possession which allowed the Mariners plenty of possession and saw them really control the match.
It was all Central Coast in the opening stages and in the 12th minute the Mariners had the lead as McGlinchey’s corner was poorly cleared, falling to Zac Anderson who was able to pass for Trent Sainsbury who was able to poke home his first ever A-League goal.
The Mariners kept on pushing for a second goal, dominating possession in front of a big home crowd, kicking off their new year’s celebrations.
Perth had a deep line that was holding up the Mariners and stopping the chances from really turning in to goals, despite all the Mariners possession.
There was a nasty clash in the 31st minute as Sainsbury and Ndumba Makeche had a head clash, that lead to both players struggling but somehow staying on the park.
In the 39th minute the Central Coast could well have had a penalty as a powerful strike from Mile Sterjovski that seemed to be blocked by a defender’s arm, only for the referee to call play on.
Towards the end of the half Perth started to look more dangerous, having much more of the ball, but Liam Reddy was still not really forced in to any work as the half ended 1-0.
The first chance of the second half fell to Perth as a shot from distance from trouble maker Jacob Burns went well over the bar in the 51st minute.
Perth were largely restricted to shots from distance and went closer just after the hour as Chris Harold was able to force Reddy in to a save.
Two substitutes were forced on the Mariners with Anderson and Sainsbury going off with injury, forcing some heavy defensive changes which allowed Perth to have chances while those adjustments were being made.
Harold very nearly found the equalizer as Isaka Cernak crossed for the youngster who was able to get a header away that went just wide.
In the 84th minute Perth Glory got a lifeline as Marcel Seip fouled Harold in the box, allowing Steven McGarry to step up and hit the penalty that appeared to be giving Perth a draw.
There was another Mariners penalty shout in the 88th minute as McGlinchey went down in the box under Perth pressure, but again the referee was unmoved.
In stoppage time the advantage went back to the Mariners as Jacob Burns’ temper got the better of him again and he earned two very quick yellow cards, seeing the Mariners gain a man advantage.
That allowed the Mariners the opening they needed and late in to stoppage time they found their goal and it was from the departing McGlinchey.
Daniel McBreen had the initial effort with a header that went off the post and back for McGlinchey who was able to hit a powerful strike back in to the net.
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