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Perth Glory FC

Glory moved to within three points of the top six following a hard-fought 2-2 draw with A-League leaders Central Coast Mariners which was played out amidst appalling weather conditions in Gosford.

The pre-match downpour forced kick-off to be delayed for 30 minutes and when play did get underway, the Mariners started strongly and drew first blood through Marcos Urena.

Having taken a while to settle, Glory made it 1-1 just before the break as Bruno Fornaroli nodded home his seventh goal of the season and the visitors proceeded to control much of the second half, eventually taking a deserved lead through substitute Nick D'Agostino.

There was to be a sting in the tail, however, as Central Coast were awarded an 88th-minute penalty when Matt Simon clashed with Luke Bodnar and the home skipper successfully converted from the spot.

The penalty decision, which was made after a lengthy referral to the VAR, was hotly disputed by the Glory players at the time and by Head Coach Richard Garcia in his post-match media conference.

"I'm disappointed," he said.

"I thought the boys played really well.

"The VAR decision ruined the game, but I think the boys found some very good positions to score and I saw that hunger and fight that I feel we probably lacked in the last few performances.

"I didn't think it was a penalty.

"It's a hard one and the referees are trying to do their best.

"I thought it was a good challenge... he [Bodnar] went up for the ball and there was a clash of heads.

"I don't think I've ever seen that being called as a penalty in my life.

"But if we move on to Friday [v Western Sydney Wanderers] with the same mentality, I'm sure we'll do well."

The draw, Glory's first of the season, sees them remain in eighth spot, but with up to three games in hand on the teams above them, very much in the finals mix.

The Mariners appeared to adapt to the conditions more quickly than Garcia's side and created the first chance when Urena found a pocket of space in the box and the recalled Liam Reddy had to produce a smart block to keep the Costa Rican striker at bay.

Urena was not to be denied in the 25th minute, however, firing home from an acute angle after Reddy had gone full-length to keep out a skidding low shot from Daniel De Silva.

And it took a fine, last-ditch tackle from Bodnar, on his Glory A-League debut, to prevent the Mariners' number 12 from making it 2-0 moments later.

Glory's response came in the form of a half-chance for Andy Keogh who was unable to get enough contact on a free-kick delivered into the box by Neil Kilkenny, allowing Mark Birighitti to make a comfortable save.

As half-time approached the men in purple continued to force their way back into the game and were rewarded in the 41st minute when Kilkenny's enticing ball into the box picked out the lurking Fornaroli who found the net with a deft glancing header.

Clearly stung by conceding that equaliser, the league leaders came close to restoring their advantage almost immediately, De Silva drawing a strong save from Reddy before Oliver Bozanic's follow-up effort struck the post.

Glory duly began the second half more purposefully than they had the first, dominating in terms of both possession and territory and coming close to hitting the front when D'Agostino teed Fornaroli up after latching on to an Andy Keogh through-ball, only for the club's top scorer to attempt a Rabona-style finish which did not come off.

15 minutes from time, however, the visitors' pressure finally told.

Keogh was the architect, playing a cute, round-the-corner pass into the box and the onrushing D'Agostino needed no second invitation to flash a low shot between Birighitti and his near post.

At that stage, a third away win of the season seemed very much on the cards for Garcia's side, but it was not to be.

With two minutes left, Simon and Bodnar came together in the box and after the VAR ruled the collision worthy of a penalty, Central Coast's top scorer calmly sent Reddy the wrong way.

Match Details

Central Coast Mariners 2 (Urena 25', Simon 89') Perth Glory 2 (Fornaroli 41', D'Agostino 75')

Half-time: 1-1

Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Referee: Kurts Ams

Central Coast Mariners: 1.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 4.Joshua NISBET, 5.Stefan NIGRO, 8.Oliver BOZANIC (c), 10.Daniel DE SILVA, 11.Jack CLISBY, 12.Marcos UREÑA (29.Alou KUOL 59'), 14.Daniel BOUMAN (6.Gianni STENSNESS 73'), 15.Kye ROWLES, 19.Matt SIMON, 21.Ruon TONGYIK

Substitutes not used: 20.Adam PEARCE (gk), 22.Michal JANOTA, 23.Dan HALL, 25. Matthew HATCH, 26.Jaden CASELLA

Yellow Cards: Clisby, Simon

Red Cards: None

Perth Glory: 33.Liam REDDY (gk), 8.Kosuke OTA, 9.Bruno FORNAROLI, 10.Andy KEOGH 38.Ciaran BRAMWELL 82'), 13.Luke BODNAR, 15.Brandon WILSON, 17.Diego CASTRO (C), 20.Carlo ARMIENTO (18.Nick D'AGOSTINO 46'), 23.Dane INGHAM (16.Nick SULLIVAN 46'), 29.Darryl LACHMAN, 88.Neil KILKENNY

Substitutes not used: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 5.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 19.Callum TIMMINS, 24.Daniel STYNES

Yellow Cards: Ingham, Lachman

Red Cards: None


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