Mariners squeeze past Glory

Written By Unknown on Senin, 31 Desember 2012 | 23.40

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Tight ... Oliver Bozanic is tackled by Jacob Burns. Source: Dean Lewins / AAP

Substitute Bernie Ibini ensured an understrength Central Coast entered the new year on top of the A-League ladder with the decisive goal in the Mariners' 1-0 home win over Perth at Bluetongue Stadium on Monday.

Ibini's 68th-minute goal was the first shot on target of a match dominated by two well-drilled defences.

However, after what looked like a hand-ball, Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson felt Ibini's goal should not have stood.

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"I felt he was all over Jamieson and also he has used his hand to get the ball around to him and score the goal,'' he said.

"We've lost three points there.''

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It was the Mariners' sixth win from as many home games this A-League season.

Without the suspended trio of playmaker Tomas Rogic, leading goal-scorer Daniel McBreen and captain John Hutchinson, Central Coast struggled to penetrate the Glory rearguard.

Mariners coach Graham Arnold said the win furthered his belief in the group.

"(The win) confirmed to me that we definitely have the depth to continue and go forward,'' Arnold said.

"The performance in the first half I think was a bit down for both teams because of the heat, but in the second half when the sun was gone it was a much better spectacle,''

Perth were a man down from the 76th minute when Dutch central defender Bas van den Brink was sent off after collecting a second yellow card.

Glory created the only decent chance of the first half, but it was spurned by normally deadly striker Shane Smeltz.

The unmarked New Zealand international put a sidefoot volley wide from six metres out following a good cross from Steven McGarry.

At the other end, former Mariners goalkeeper Danny Vukovic pushed away a couple of dangerous crosses, but the home team struggled to create a genuine shot on goal in the first half.

Re-live the action between the Mariners and Glory with our A-League Match Centre, featuring video highlights and all the important stats!

The Mariners upped the tempo in the second half and looked the more likely to score.

Striker Adam Kwasnik had a headed goal disallowed in the 47th minute for offside and headed wide 12 minutes later.

The breakthrough came shortly after when 53rd-minute substitute Ibini won a challenge with Scott Jamieson to an Oliver Bozanic cross.

The 20-year-old striker drilled the ball past Vukovic for his third goal of the season.

Glory didn't create much in the second half and their hopes plummeted after van Den Brink, who had earlier been booked for a foul on Michael McGlinchey, was given his second card for an illegal challenge on Mile Sterjovski.

Perth didn't have an attempt on target in the whole game, while the Mariners had just two.

Ferguson lamented his team's inability to make their chances pay.

"For the first half we looked very comfortable, I thought we moved the ball about well and we had a couple of half chances here or there,'' he said.

"In the second half, they came out with the bit between their teeth and probably towards that 65th, 70th minute mark we started to tire and that took its toll at the end.''

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