Colourful End To Sky Blues Clash With Mariners

An undermanned Sydney FC played out an entertaining 1-1 draw with the Central Coast at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday night with a Mariners penalty in the 73rd cancelling out a Rhyan Grant goal to the Sky Blues minutes into the second half.

An undermanned Sydney FC played out an entertaining 1-1 draw with the Central Coast at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday night with a Mariners penalty in the 73rd cancelling out a Rhyan Grant goal to the Sky Blues minutes into the second half.

In a fiercely competitive contest, the newly re-signed Grant gave the home side a deserved lead when he capitalised on a defensive error from young Mariners keeper Matthew Ryan in the 47th minute but were pegged back via the penalty spot.

Sky Blues keeper Liam Reddy was sent off after he was ruled to have taken down Patricio Perez, reducing Sydney FC to 10-men and it was Perez who converted from the spot to level the scores.

Sydney FC now turns their attention to their home match against Adelaide United on Saturday 4 September, a must win round five Hyundai A-League clash.

“The whole team are very disappointed. I am upset,” Lavicka said. “I don-t know what to say at this time. We proved that we can deliver good individual performances and a good team performance. Full credit to the players, they gave it everything. We-re all frustrated.”

The Sky Blues went into the clash without skipper Terry McFlynn and gun striker Alex Brosque, who are both likely to miss the upcoming games against the Reds.

“We-re not happy at all,” said captain Stuart Musialik. “We-ve had a slow start to the season and needed the win so to something like that go against us is difficult to deal with.”

“We improved our performances from the past two weeks. We-re heading in the right direction, it-s just important we get over this disappointment and look forward to next week.” Sydney FC hadn-t lost to their opponents in the last three meetings and looked to continue that run in front of their home crowd. Lavicka made two changes from the side that lost to Brisbane Roar, with Shannon Cole replacing Hayden Foxe in defence and Mark Bridge returning to the fold.

The Sky Blues signalled their attacking intent from the start, pushing men forward at every opportunity. The home side, buoyed by the return of Bridge, started brightly, dominating the early exchanges with little reward for their efforts. Sydney almost took the lead after ten minutes when Bridge-s deflected long range strike ballooned up in the air and ricocheted off the post.

The Mariners were content to soak up pressure and chance their luck on the counter. They provided few scares for the Sky Blues defence, although full back Josh Rose issued a warning shot when he found space behind the home defence and swept a dangerous delivery across the five-yard box.

The best opportunity of the half fell to the unlikeliest source, centre-back Sebastian Ryall-s fizzing low drive crashing against the woodwork and bouncing to safety.

It wasn-t long until the Sky Blues made their pressure pay, their persistence rewarded by a goal in fortunate circumstances just minutes into the second half.

Grant celebrated signing his new two-year contract in style, pouncing on a goalkeeping error to prod home from close range and open his account for the season.

Stung by conceding, the Mariners sprung into action with Matt Simon inches away from getting on the end of a floated delivery. The striker came close again minutes later as the opposition went in search of a coveted equalizer.

With the tempo considerably higher, both sides found chances easier to come by and Stephan Keller almost doubled the lead, only to direct his glancing header wide of the post.

Brimming with confidence, the Sky Blues threatened again but couldn-t snare a second and that would prove costly just seconds later when Reddy saw red after he was adjudged to tripped Perez.

Ivan Necevski replaced Kofi Danning but could do nothing about Perez-s spot kick, the diminutive substitute-s calm finish levelling the score against the run of play.

Reinvigorated by the penalty, the opposition looked to utilise their man advantage, probing the rattled Sydney backline but they saw their efforts thwarted by last gasp defending and when Perez did find the net, by the offside flag.

Facing relentless pressure from the opposition, the back four defended manfully with Keller and Ryall providing stubborn resistance.

Match Details:

Sydney FC: 1 (GRANT 47') Central Coast Mariners: 1 (PEREZ 73'P)

Sydney FC Line-up: 1. Liam REDDY (gk), 2. Sebastian RYALL, 3. Stephan KELLER, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK (c), 10. Nicky CARLE, 11. Kofi DANNING (20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk) 72'), 12. Shannon COLE, 19. Mark BRIDGE, 21. Scott JAMIESON (6. Hirofumi MORIYASU 90'), 22. Sung-Hwan BYUN, 23. Rhyan GRANT.

Substitutes Not Used: 5. Hayden FOXE, 16. Terry ANTONIS.

Yellow Cards: 8. Stuart MUSIALIK 76', 21. Scott JAMIESON 77', 19. Mark BRIDGE 78'. Red Cards: 1. Liam REDDY 71'. Goals: 23. Rhyan GRANT 47'.

Central Coast Mariners: 20. Matthew RYAN (gk), 2. Daniel McBREEN (23. Adam KWASNIK 69'), 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Rostyn GRIFFITHS (10 Patricio PEREZ 53'), 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON.

Substitutes Not Used: 17. Chris DOIG, 30. Paul HENDERSON (gk).

Yellow Cards: 3. Joshua Rose 64', 7. John HUTCHINSON 90+3'. Red Cards: Nil. Goals: 10. Patricio PEREZ 73'.

Referee: Matthew BREEZE. Crowd: 10 147 at the Sydney Football Stadium.