Friday, August 7, 2009

Central Coast Mariners Upset Melbourne Victory: Matchday One

The Central Coast Mariners sure like to spoil a party. The Mariners threw the form book and their winless record of 2009 out the window and upset the previous season A-League champions Melbourne Victory in the opening round fixture of season five.

The boys from Gosford spoilt Sydney FC’s party in season two as well, when they humbled the then reigning champions 1-0 in the opening round fixture of season two in Sydney.

The Victory seemed to forget that this was Season Five and thought they could just do the same thing they did in season four. With no new signings on the park the Victory came un-stuck as the Mariners went up 2-0 early in the first half. The home team could just not find anything to combat the Mariners enthusiasm and willingness to work hard all game while the Melbourne Victory struggled in vain to haul back the deficit.

Melbourne’s midfield of Leigh Broxham, Grant Brebner Tom Pondeljak and Carlos Hernandez where totally outplayed by the Mariners midfielder. Particularly Michael McGlinchey the under 20 Scotland rep and former Celtic junior was buzzing around all evening Pedj Bojic generally played as a defender last season and was hugely impressive in midfield and went some way to exorcising the ghost of Mile Jedinak. John Hutchinson also had a good game and was his usual annoying presence in midfield. Fans of the Mariners are now asking who is Mile Jedinak?
The defence was also much improved after the Mariners Asian Champions League (AFC) debacle which conceded many soft goals from set pieces. It's a different tale with new boy Chris Doig at the back, Alex Wilkinson, Nigel Boogard and Dean Heffernen looked more composed with the latter even surging forward now and again.

The first goal by Mat Simon was fortunate as Simon latched onto a loose ball in the box, the tall striker scuffed the shot, the ball looked like it hit three parts of his leg before it flew past the hapless victory keeper Glenn Moss. The second goal was a deflection off a shot by new boy Scott McGlinchey it may have been fortunate but at least he but at least he shot at goal, unlike Melbourne who could only mange a couple of meagre half chances all game.

This is the Mariners of old and looked nothing like the rabble that contested the Asian Champions League. After failing to make it out the group stage in the AFC the Mariners have started off A-league season 5 on fire. The fisherman will be hoping to reel in coastal rivals Newcastle Jets in what should be a great M5 derby in matchday two of the A-league next week.

Also get the best analysis of the game from Tony Tannous the Roar and Half-Time Heroes writer:

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