Arnold: We’ve got to go back to the drawing board

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Central Coast Mariners suffered a 1-0 defeat to Brisbane Roar in their Hyundai A-League 2013/14 round 5 encounter at Bluetongue Stadium on Sunday evening.

Substitute Kwame Yeboah’s powerful 89th minute strike ensured Mike Mulvey’s men returned to the summit of the Hyundai A-League ladder, and guaranteed that Graham Arnold’s Mariners were left mid-table following the first five weeks of season nine of Australia’s top flight.

Despite the pre-game hype and talent on display in Gosford, the contest started in a rather subdued fashion with both teams struggling to create many clear-cut chances to open scoring.

Indeed, it took until the 38th minute of play for the first real opportunity of the clash to eventuate. After Mariners skipper John Hutchinson was dispossessed in his defensive third, Henrique sent a curling shot at goal. Nevertheless, Central Coast debutant Liam Reddy was on his toes and showed sharp reactions to push the ball away for a corner.

Just before half time both the Mariners and Roar enjoyed chances to break the deadlock. First, Socceroo Matt McKay struck an effort just wide of Reddy’s goal following neat interplay between midfielder Ivan Franjic and young defender Jack Hingert, before Central Coast forward Mitchell Duke raced down the other end only to see his strike be saved by Roar gloveman Michael Theo.

The second half was a more open and entertaining affair, and Reddy proved to be the one of the stars of the show. In the 60th minute, the former Roar shot-stopper reacted smartly to push Franjic’s crisp effort from eight-yards away from goal.

Reddy was called upon again in the 74th minute when former Kelantan midfielder Dmitri Petratos was almost the beneficiary of a neat cut-back by Corey Brown. Despite having not played in the Hyundai A-League for the best part of two years, Reddy showed he hasn’t lost any of his talent as he pulled off a wonder save to deny the 21-year-old from close range.

Mulvey’s charges were creating the better of the goal-scoring opportunities, and three minutes after Petratos’ effort the Queenslanders went within inches of scoring via the boot of Henrique. After rounded Zac Anderson the diminutive Brazilian snuck the ball through the legs of Reddy, however recent NAB Young Footballer of the Year nominee Trent Sainsbury was on the line and cleared the danger.

Mariners left back Joshua Rose produced the home team’s best moment of the match in the 88th minute when he unleashed a powerful low effort from just outside the box. Rose’s rocket rattled Theo’s right post, almost stealing the three points for Central Coast.

However just as it seemed the match was destined to end in a stalemate, substitute Yeboah manufactured a moment of magic to ensure all three Hyundai A-League points would head back to Brisbane. Hingert found the 19-year-old, with Yeboah in turn lashing a fierce drive beyond Reddy and into the back of the net.

Returning Mariners marksman Daniel McBreen sent an ambitious effort at goal in added time, however even last season’s Hyundai A-League Golden Boot winner couldn’t trouble Theo on what was, by and large, a disappointing day for Arnold’s side.

Arnold noted in his post-match press conference that there are a number of areas that the Mariners need to work on before their next game against Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Saturday 23 November.

“We’ve got to go back to the drawing board, but there is still 22 games to go,” Arnold said.

“Mentally we’ve got to be stronger and tougher.”

“As a team we gave the ball away too cheap, and we hurt ourselves.”

“When you give the ball away as much as we did then you are going to get punished by a good side like Brisbane.”

“Brisbane probably deserved to win … anyone who finishes ahead of them is going to be successful this season.”

“If Liam Reddy gets man of the match, that says enough [about our performance].”

Central Coast Mariners 0
Brisbane Roar 1 (Yeboah 89’)
Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford

Central Coast Mariners: 2. Daniel MCBREEN, 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Marcel SEIP, 5. Zachary ANDERSON, 7. John HUTCHINSON (c), 8. Nick MONTGOMERY, 9. Mitchell DUKE, 10. Marcos FLORES (19. Matthew SIMON 77’), 11. Nick FITZGERALD (21. Mile STERJOVSKI 66’), 12. Liam REDDY (gk), 16. Trent SAINSBURY
Substitutes not used: 1. Justin PASFIELD, 6. Brent GRIFFITHS, 17.Anthony CACERES
Yellow cards: Nick FITZGERALD 51’
Red cards: Nil

Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael THEO (gk), 2. Matt SMITH (c), 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 10. HENRIQUE (29. Kwame YEBOAH 87’), 15. James DONACHIE, 17. Matt McKAY, 18. Luke BRATTAN, 19. Jack HINGERT, 22. Thomas BROICH, 23. Dimitri PETRATOS, 26.Corey BROWN
Substitutes not used: 14. Diogo FERREIRA, 20. Matthew ACTON (gk), 27. Devante CLUT, 28. Brandon BORRELLO
Yellow cards: Matt SMITH 59’, Matt McKAY 90+3’
Red cards: Nil

Attendance: 8,303
Referee: Ben Williams

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