Central Coast Mariners do enough to overcome North Queensland Fury
A first half header from Dutch centre-half Patrick Zwaanswijk was the difference between the sides but the Fury can count themselves unlucky after being denied a late penalty when keeper Mathew Ryan appeared to have brought down David Williams in the area.
Venue: Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville
Referee: Gerard Parsons
Yellow cards: NQF - Ufuk Talay 75’, Mark Hughes 86’, Dyron Daal 88’
CCM - nil
On a perfect night for football in Townsville, it was the home side who made all the running early and it seemed it would only be a matter of time before they scored a goal with all of their aerial strength from set-pieces.
Mariners midfielder Oliver Bozanic had two good chances within the first 20 minutes before Central Coast were just inches away from an opener when Daniel McBreen managed to lob advancing Fury keeper Justin Pasfield but fortunately for the home side, Andre Kilian was on hand to clear neatly off the line.
The Fury were performing well in defence, led by Pasfield who made a top-shelf stop in the 35th minute from a Matt Simon shot before making a double save after fumbling a cross.
GOAL But the ensuing corner, taken by Bozanic, was met strongly by central defender Patrick Zwaanswijk in the middle of a pack of Fury players – his powerful header making it 1-0.
North Queensland responded well late in the half but were forced to go into the shed a goal behind.
The Fury started the second half positively and were certainly asking some questions of the Mariners but it was the visitors who came close just before the hour-mark when substitute John Hutchinson should have scored with his first touch but his header from pointblank range from a Bozanic cross missed the target.
North Queensland were desperately chasing an equalizer, forcing David Williams to let rip from way outside the area, and they were extremely unlucky not to get a penalty when Mariners keeper Matthew Ryan brought down Williams but referee Gerard Parsons waved the protests away, leaving Fury coach Franz Straka irate.
A late, swerving shot from Fury midfielder Isaka Cernak was the best chance of the final ten minutes as the Mariners held out for a vital away win.
Justin Pasfield (gk), Andre Kilian (Talay 63’), Osama Malik, Mark Hughes, Simon Storey (McDonald 53’), Dyron Daal, Gareth Edds, Chris Grossman, David Williams, Chris Payne, Eugene Sseppuya (Cernak 46’)
Subs - Sebastian Usai (gk), Isaka Cernak (46’), Brad McDonald (53’), Ufuk Talay (63’)
Mathew Ryan (gk), Joshua Rose, Chris Doig, Patrick Zwaanswijk, Alex Wilkinson, Mustafa Amini (Hutchinson 58’), Oliver Bozanic (Lewis 69’), Michael McGlinchey, Rostyn Griffiths, Daniel McBreen (Kwasnik 83’), Matt Simon
Subs - Paul Henderson (gk), John Hutchinson (58’), Matthew Lewis (69’), Adam Kwasnik (83’)