The Central Coast Mariners have fallen to a Premier’s Plate bound Perth Glory 3-0 at Central Coast Stadium, courtesy of goals to, Joel Chianese, Dino Djulbic and Neil Kilkenny.
It was a bright start for Perth, as Kennedy denied Keogh from the edge of the box with an outstretched leg in the third minute of play.
It was a tight affair as both sides battled it out in the midfield trying to create an opportunity.
Perth however, had the majority of the chances that troubled the Mariners’ defence.
It took Glory just 12 minutes to open the scoring, when, Joel Chianese, drilled his effort past Kennedy to give Glory the lead.
The Mariners were fired up and were able to make a few forays into the box, with, Jordan Murray, having the pick of the chances, however unable to capitalise.
In the 29th minute, a Glory corner saw, Dino Djulbic, double Glory’s tally as he smashed his header home.
The second goal deflated the Mariners, as the Yellow and Navy struggled to get past a formidable Glory midfield.
The frustrated Mariners could not grab an equaliser before the half time break.
The second half saw the introduction of, Connor Pain, as Coach, Alen Stajcic, looked for a bit more firepower in the final third.
Despite a good period by the Mariners, where they were able to make the Glory sit deep, the Glory managed to win a penalty in the 57th minute.
Midfielder, Neil Kilkenny, made no mistake from the spot and added a third for the Glory.
Perth almost added a fourth, however Kennedy was able to keep the ball out and start a Mariners’ counter attack that saw, Connor Pain, unable to test Reddy on the end of a swift counter attack.
In the 79th minute, a delivery by, Andrew Hoole, deflected off the first man and hit the crossbar, with Aspropotamitis unable to head in the rebound.
The Mariners tried their best for the remaining minutes of the match but could not test the Glory as the referee blew full time.
Mariners’ Interim Head Coach, Alen Stajcic, told the post-game press gallery that despite the loss, the gameplay from the Mariners was on par with that of Glory.
“I don’t think we were on the back foot, we were on the score line but not in terms of the game,” Stajcic said.
“Since I’ve been here, for the three games, we have had more of the ball, more patches of play.
“They (Perth) scored off two set pieces, and they have that little bit of quality with Castro and Ikonimidis.
“In terms of the patterns of the game, I thought it was 50/50, they had more scoring moments and the score line reflects that.
“I was happy that we had a go and kept going right to the end and had them pinned back right towards the end.
“There was 20 minutes where we dominated and had a few half chances where we hit the crossbar.
“The fact that we had those chances (against the top team) was really pleasing,” Stajcic said.
“There just needs to be better defending in those areas, during set pieces, and when Castro had the ball in the box, we can’t defend like that.
“I’m pleased with the boys, in midfield we were good, created some good chances, it was just those final moments that weren’t there.
“We need to build that quality and belief so the boys can back themselves a little bit more.
“There’s enough good starting points for the next three weeks,” he continued.
“Defensively, we’ve showed in the first two weeks we improved a lot, last week was an example of that and this week we decided to be a bit riskier and try and go at Perth, which leaves you a bit more open, but we seemed to start controlling the game.
“They tried to control the game, it’s against the ladder leaders who’ve only lost a few games all season.
“I think they dominated Victory more last weekend than what they did today, and sometimes the score line doesn’t reflect that.
“We just need to work on those key moments in defence and attack.
Stajcic also told the gallery that he was now squarely focused on establishing a solid foundation as the club thinks about the future.
“For me it was all about setting a foundation for the team moving forward, not just for this year, but for next.
“I want to see which players can be a part of this club to be competitive next year.
Media release, Apr 7
James Watts, Central Coast Mariners’ Media