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Mariners foiled by early Sydney strike

Mariners foiled by early Sydney strike

The Central Coast Mariners returned to action after the bye on Saturday night, but fell to a loss at the hands of Sydney FC as Kosta Barbarouses’ early strike proved to be the difference.

Mariners coach Alen Stajcic made three changes to the visitors with Eunsun Kim captaining the side in place of Tommy Oar and top scorer Milan Ðurić returning fit to start after two weeks on the bench. New signing Jair made his full debut for the Yellow & Navy coming in up top in place of Matt Simon.

The Mariners enjoyed a strong spell of possession early, but were brought undone as Rhyan Grant got in behind from a quick free-kick, and his cross found Barbarouses with time and space to finish.

The visitors pushed back immediately and were denied a quick response by a diving savefrom Andrew Redmayne. A free kick from the left was half cleared to Danny DeSilva on the edge of the area, however the Mariners winger saw his rising volley acrobatically tipped over by the home goalkeeper.

As the half wore on neither side came too close to adding to the scoreline with the majority of the play in the middle third of the pitch, and Mariners’ debutant Jair looked lively and had a few good touches as he settled in to his first start with the club.

Moments before half time the scores were almost level. A neat interception by Giancarlo Gallifuoco saw possession worked out wide to Sammy Silvera on the right. With time and space the youngster crossed into the home box for Jair to meet low with a flicked header but it flew agonisingly wide past the post.

The second half began with the Mariners determined to put up a fight and forced a free kick 25 yards out when DeSilva was brought down cynically by Luke Brattan. Ðurić stepped up to strike however his dipping effort was smothered by Redmayne; denying the Serbian his fourth goal this season.

With half an hour remaining Sydney pressed forward searching for the elusive second goal that would put the game to bed. A splitting ball from midfielder Alexander Baumjohann found Milos Ninkovic through on goal but he fired wide while under pressure from Ziggy Gordon.

Stajcic made changes, and youngster Dylan Ruiz-Diaz came on alongside Matt Simon after 72 minutes for Jair and Ðurić as the Mariners continued to push the hosts for an equaliser.

The hosts held on despite the best efforts of the Mariners’ attack with Redmayne the hero saving a goal bound Giancarlo Gallifuoco header from point blank at the death and in the process securing the three points for the Sky Blues.

Attentions now turn to next Sunday, with a big home clash against Adelaide United. Get your tickets for that game now!
While you're here, you may wish to take the time to support former Mariner Andrew Gumprecht and his wife Carina, who has been diagnosed with Cancer. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help assist them through this time. Click here to support their family.

Gumprecht made 63 appearances for the Mariners across four seasons, scoring three goals.

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Dynamic young midfielder Gianni Stensness has committed to the Central Coast Mariners, signing a contract extension keeping him at the club until 2022 after a strong start to the season.

Stensness joined the Mariners on a one-year contract in August this year, and the new deal will keep him with the Club through the Hyundai A-League 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons.

Speaking after inking his new deal, the 20-year old thanked the club for putting faith in him as a young player.

“I’m very happy to have extended my time with the Mariners,” Stensness said.

“It has been a great few months since joining the Club which has encouraged me to extend.”

“The club has believed in me, and I’ve thrived off that, and I want to continue to be in that positive environment.”

Prior to his time with the Wellington Phoenix Stensness was a part of the Mariners’ Academy setup, and said his extension owes to his time as a young footballer working with the club.

“It’s special for me to extend my contract with a club that played a significant role in my development,” he said.

“I want to give back to the club not only for their recent support and belief in me, but also for my time in the youth ranks here.”

“I look forward to further growing as a player here and doing my part to grow the team, get results, and strive to get this club back to its former glory.”

“It’s a particularly positive environment that Staj has encouraged and fostered, he believes in young players, and wants a fit, energetic playing group.”

Stensness has represented New Zealand in under-age squads and helped his country qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at a tournament earlier this season.

Mariners Head Coach Alen Stajcic praised the impact of Stensness so far this season, and pointed to the Mariners’ Academy for its role in his development.

“As a Club we’re very excited to have extended Gianni, and having come on trial a few months ago to now being an integral part of our starting XI it’s clear he has a bright future here,” Stajcic said.

“The Central Coast Mariners Academy provided a launching pad for Gianni earlier in his career, and it’s great to see another young player shining on the professional stage after being given a chance here.”

Stensness has started in all seven of the Mariners’ Hyundai A-League matches so far in the middle of the park, helping to break up opponent’s attacks with a tackle success rate of over 60%, and getting the Mariners moving towards goal with his accurate distribution and forward running.

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mariners v brisbane dec19

A tough night in Brisbane ended in defeat for the Mariners on Saturday night, with second half goals from Roy O’Donovan and Scott Neville enough for Brisbane Roar to take the three points.

The match started slowly with the hosts having the run of play early, but they were kept at bay by the Mariners’ backline and Mark Birighitti and the best chance of the opening exchanges fell to the visitors.

Birighitti denied Dylan Wenzel-Halls down one end and moments later Eunsun Kim was sent through on goal, only to thunder his effort against the crossbar as the Mariners went so close to a lead.

Giancarlo Gallifuoco fizzed an effort wide and Matt Simon was denied by Jamie Young after a good turn in the area, before it was Birighitti’s turn to again save the day as he produced a stunning one-on-one stop to deny O’Donovan racing towards the Mariners goal on the stroke of half-time.

Gallifuoco made a timely intervention moments later and the scores remained level at half-time, and chances were few and far between as the second period got underway.

Promising build-up play from the Mariners lead to a chance for Danny DeSilva on the edge of the area only for his chip to go high of Young’s goal and shortly after Birighitti stuck out a hand once more to deny Wenzel-Halls again.

The young forward created the Roar’s first goal two minutes later though, crossing past Kye Rowles and finding O’Donovan who managed to get a touch and send the ball past Birighitti and in.

Alen Stajcic made two immediate changes as Sam Silvera and Jordan Murray replaced DeSilva and Simon but they were unable to stop the Roar going two goals up as Neville headed home from a corner with 24 minutes left to play.

Silvera almost created a lifeline inside the final 10 minutes as he combined neatly with Lewis Miller to find space in the area but his shot was parried by Young and the rebound evaded Tommy Oar at the back post.

That was it for the Mariners though, and they will sit next weekend out with the bye before travelling to face Sydney FC on the road in round 10.

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The Central Coast Mariners claimed their first home win of the Hyundai A-League season on Sunday night, with a strong defensive effort keeping out Western United and ending a run of 38 games without a clean sheet.

Milan Duric started on the bench while Kye Rowles and Danny DeSilva returned to the lineup, and Lewis Miller and Eunsun Kim came into the side for their starting league debuts.

The game began at a tentative pace with neither side creating a clear cut opening in the first 20 minutes. Filip Kurto had to look lively to race off his line to prevent Tommy Oar latching onto a long ball from defence and on 25 minutes Mark Birighitti was forced into a spectacular save to prevent Dario Jertec putting Western United ahead.

From the resulting corner Ziggy Gordon blocked Andrew Durante’s header on the line as the Mariners fought to keep Western at bay and not long after Birighitti again made a spectacular save, this time to keep out a stinging free-kick from Alessandro Diamanti.

Link-up play from Diamanti and Besart Berisha helped create space for a pass to Panagiotis Kone at the back post but with plenty of space he smashed his effort well over the goal and the teams went in equal at the break.

The break came at the right time for the hosts and after forcing the ball into the Western United half after the restart they took the lead in the 49th minute.

A cross from the left was half cleared by Andrew Calver to Giancarlo Gallifuocco on the edge of the box and his first time strike was deflected past Kurto and in, handing the midfielder his first Hyundai A-League goal and the Mariners their 500th.

United almost pulled a goal back moments later when Appiah found himself with room down the right wing to cross for Berisha but he fired wide with the goal begging.

The visitors continued to push for the equaliser however found a resolute Mariners defence in fine form with Miller slotting in perfectly at right back to the joy of the home faithful.

Not content with their one goal advantage the Mariners pushed for a second to give them a little breathing space but were denied by a superb diving save by Kurto again as he took flight to keep out Jack Clisby’s curling effort from the top of the box.

United had a chance to steal a point in the last five minutes after Diamanti won the ball back on the edge of the box but once again the Italian could not find the net, flashing a right footed strike wide of the post.

The win sees the Mariners climb to sixth in the table, just a win behind Western United and preparations begin for next week’s trip to take on Brisbane in round eight.

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 Clinical Adelaide beat Mariners on the Coast

The Mariners fell to their first home defeat of the season on Saturday, going down 3-1 to Adelaide United after taking an early lead through Milan Ðurić at Central Coast Stadium.

Alen Stajcic made two changes to the side who faced Melbourne City in Round 4 with Jordan Murray coming in for Danny De Silva and Ruon Tongyik making his first start of the season in place of Kyle Rowes.

The game burst into life early on when Sam Silvera latched on onto a ball headed down on the edge of Adelaide’s area, and the winger took a deft touch to burst past the first challenge before being fouled by defender Michael Marrone and awarded a penalty.

It was Ðurić who stepped up and calmly dispatched his effort high into the net to give the Mariners an early advantage, his third goal of the season and becoming the first Mariner to score in three of the first five games since Matt Simon in 2008/09.

Adelaide drew level after 26 minutes when Michael Maria darted inside and fed Ben Halloran on the edge of the area and the winger exchanged passes with Riley McGree before firing low inside Mark Birighitti’s near post.

The Mariners almost regained the advantage when a short corner was worked to Tommy Oar and his cross to the back post was won in the air by Murray, only for his goal bound header to be cleared off the line by Michael Jakobsen.

Moments later the hosts were made to pay for their missed chance and fell behind to an impressive strike by Nikola Mileusnic.

A cut back by Maria found Mileusnic 12 yards out and he adjusted his body to side foot a volley past Birighitti into the top corner and put his side ahead.

The momentum swing further shortly after when Kristian Opseth got on the end of Halloran’s low cross to fire home after the latter was released by James Troisi’s searching clearance from the backline.

Oar was denied by Paul Izzo after the restart, seeing a speculative effort palmed over the bar from the corner of the box and the deficit remained two goals at the break.

Stajcic made one change at the half with young defender Lewis Miller replacing Dylan Fox in the backline, and the second half began quietly right up until the Reds were awarded a penalty as McGree went down under contact just before the hour mark.

But Birighitti was up to the task, staying low and saving the spot kick from Opseth with his legs to keep the score at 3-1 as the game entered the final 30 minutes.

Giancarlo Gallifuoco had a header saved by Izzo not long after as he got on the end of Silvera’s cross, and Matt Simon also had an effort saved by the visiting goalkeeper after coming on as the Mariners pushed to get back into the game.

That was how it finished though with Adelaide two-goal victors, and the Mariners are back home again next weekend as league newcomers Western United visit Central Coast Stadium.

Buy your tickets for that game now, with $2 from every ticket purchased going to support the Rural Fire Service.

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