Central Coast crowned A-League kings after grand final win
AT long last it was the Mariners that tasted grand final success in the A-League grand final at Allianz Stadium yesterday, upsetting Premiers Plate winners Western Sydney 2-0.
The Central Coast outfit dominated play for almost the full 90 minutes, shedding the monkey that has been on the club's back for the past eight seasons and finally saluting in its fourth title decider.
The Mariners hit the front through a Patrick Zwaanswijk header from a beautiful Michael McGlinchey cross with just one minute left in the first half.
They had two clear-cut chances in the lead-up to the Dutch defender's goal, with Josh Rose crossing for Bernie Ibini in the 41st minute, but not troubling Wanderers' goalkeeper Ante Covic.
Just two minutes later, Rose produced a lovely ball to McGlinchey, with the Kiwi international putting a ball across the face of goal, but no one was there in support to finish off the play.
Rockhampton product Rose was simply outstanding for the Central Coast on the left wing, constantly calling on the Wanderers defence to shut down his attacking raids.
In the 25th minute, Rose produced a pinpoint ball across the face of goal, just out of Ibini's reach.
In the ninth minute, Mariners striker Mile Sterjovski's chip over an advancing Ante Covic went inches over the bar, after Central Coast goalkeeper Matt Ryan's kick-out found the Wanderers defence short.
Such was the Mariners' defence, the Wanderers only had one chance in the first half after 20 minutes.
An impressive Mark Bridge counter-attacking run led to his cross flying just over Dino Kresinger's head.
The second half also belonged to the Mariners, with McBreen converting a spot kick following a Jerome Polenz handball in the 68th minute.
It was a cruel moment for Polenz, who was one of the Wanderers' shining lights, along with Shannon Cole and Kwabena Appiah-Kubi.
The Wanderers pressed hard in the dying minutes on the back of the incredible atmosphere their fanatical supporters created.
But the likes of Rose, Trent Sainsbury and Zwaanswijk were superb at the back for the A-League champions.