Central Coast Mariners and North Queensland Fury have played out a 1-1 draw at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford. Central Coast Mariners: 1 (Nik Mrdja '3) North Queensland Fury: 1 (Jeremy Brockie '20) Venue: Bluetongue Stadium
The Mariners got off to a dream start when Brad Porter supplied Nik Mrdja with a perfect cross and the ex-AIK striker nodded home from close range to make it 1-0 early in the piece.
About fifteen minutes later, the Fury equalised when Jeremy Brockie thrashed the ball towards goal from inside the area and the deflection off Brad Porter hit the back of the net, cancelling out Mrdja's opener.
Just prior to the half-hour mark, Mrdja tried his luck from way outside the area, showing that he is full of confidence, but the shot whistled over the crossbar.
The home side were looking ominous when pushing forward but a flowing play ended in Andrew Clark blasting the ball well wide and the scores remained 1-1 at the 33rd minute mark.
Seven minutes prior to half-time, Brockie thought it was time to try his luck when he hit a speculative left-foot volley from outside the area on an angle but the shot did not bother Mariners keeper Danny Vukovic too much.
The Mariners should have been ahead on the stroke of half-time but skipper Alex Wilkinson somehow managed to put his header from close range over the target.
The beginning of the second term saw both sides take a cautious approach with the Mariners edging slightly in front but the Fury almost went ahead when Robbie Fowler played a deft through ball to Chris Grossman who duly slotted it past Vukovic but the linesman called him offside and the goal was disallowed.
With just over ten minutes remaining, Mariners forward Adam Kwasnik swung in a corner that took all by surprise and skimmed across the top of the crossbar, stranding Fury keeper Justin Pasfield. Almost instantly, the Fury went down the other end and also came close when Fowler hit a volley that was flicked over the bar by Vukovic but the ensuing corner amounted to nothing.
Neither side could break the deadlock as the game moved on and had to settle for a draw that kept the Mariners 8th and the Fury 9th on the league table.