Missed chances and a man of the match performance from Central Coast Mariners keeper Liam Reddy denied Sydney FC the points at Bluetongue Stadium as the hosts came away 2-1 winners over the Sky Blues.
Missed chances and a man of the match performance from Central Coast Mariners keeper Liam Reddy denied Sydney FC points at Bluetongue Stadium as the hosts came away 2-1 winners over the Sky Blues.
Sydney FC dominated large parts of the game but Reddy was in fine form to twice keep out efforts from Alessandro Del Piero and also deny Terry Antonis and Corey Gameiro.
The Sky Blues now head into a huge home derby match next Saturday against Western Sydney Wanderers, after goals from Kim Seung-yong and Mitch Duke cancelled out a superb finish from Richard Garcia.
Head Coach Frank Farina made one change to the side which defeated the Newcastle Jets 2-0 at Hunter Stadium seven days ago. Teenage defender Aaron Calver replaced Themba Muata-Marlow at right back.
Sydney FC created the first opening in the 3rd minute when Terry Antonis surged forward and cut back inside to get a sight on goal, however the Young Socceroo skipper fired over with his left foot.
On ten minutes Antonis was in the action again when he played in Gameiro. The ball was a tad over-hit and Gameiro-s shot was closed down quickly by the legs of Liam Reddy in the Mariners goal.
The best chance of the opening quarter went to the Mariners in the 22nd minute. Kim Seung-yong dribbled his way through the Sky Blues defence to create an opening however his shot was brilliantly saved by Janjetovic at point blank range. The rebound fell again to Seung-yong who crossed but Rose put a soft header into the arms of the Sydney FC keeper.
Kim Seung-yong wasn-t to be denied however and when the Mariners won a free-kick on the edge of the Sydney FC box two minutes later, the South Korean curled a right foot shot into Janjetovic-s left hand post to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
A period of Sydney FC pressure followed with Del Piero and Antonis almost creating some openings.
The best came when Del Piero picked up the ball in centre field and struck a right foot shot skidding towards the bottom corner of Liam Reddy-s right hand post. The Mariners keeper had to be alert to dive low and push the ball around the post to keep the home side in the ascendancy at the break.
Garcia replaced Gameiro at half time for the Sky Blues as they looked for an equaliser early in the second half.
Despotovic turned and shot on 50 minutes but his effort flew over the bar. Five minutes later Del Piero almost pulled the Sky Blues level. Standing over a free kick on the left hand side of the Mariners penalty area the World Cup winner struck a curling right foot effort towards the top right hand corner of Liam Reddy-s goal, which the former Sky Blues stopper dived full length to tip around the post.
Sydney FC weren-t to be denied however and were level just after the hour mark. Petkovic dribbled through a tip gap in the Mariners defence and fired a left foot shot which Reddy could only parry, and Garcia arrived at the far post to lift a shot into the roof of the net from a tight angle.
The goal spurred the Mariners on to regain their advantage and Duke almost took advantage running onto a loose pass but was denied at close range by Janjetovic.
He was on the scoresheet with 16 minutes to go however. A dangerous move from Sydney FC was countered by the Central Coast and Sterjovski played a ball across the outside of the Sky Blues penalty area which Duke picked up, moved inside and finished with a powerful right foot shot to restore the advantage.
Sydney FC pushed forward again and Despotovic and substitute Urosevski both had headers to restore parity.
With five minutes to play Antonis struck a rasping drive which was directed straight at Reddy.
The earlier head clash and injuries in the final few minutes meant Sydney FC were able to press for an equaliser in five minutes of injury time.
However despite dominating those minutes the goal didn-t come and the Sky Blues will take heart from their performance heading into the big Sydney derby at Allianz Stadium next weekend.
Central Coast Mariners 2 (Seung-yong 25-, Duke 74-) d. Sydney FC 1 (Garcia 61-)
Referee: Jarred Gillet.
Central Coast Mariners: 12. Liam Reddy, 3. Josh Rose (29. Matthew Sim 72-), 4. Marcel Seip, 5. Zach Anderson, 7. John Hutchinson ©, 9. Mitch Duke, 11. Nick Fitzgerald, 17. Anthony Caceres, 21. Mile Sterjovski, 25. Eddy Bosnar (15. Storm Roux 39-), 26. Kim Seung-yong (20. Bernie Ibini 70-).
Unused Substitutes: 1. Justin Pasfield, 28. Glen Trifiro.
Yellow cards: Seip 34-
Sydney FC: 20. Vedran Janjetovic, 6. Nikola Petkovic, 34. Aaron Calver (29. Alec Urosevski), 5. Matthew Jurman, 13. Sasa Ognenovski, 10. Alessandro Del Piero, 9.Corey Gameiro (11. Richard Garcia 45-), 22. Ali Abbas, 17. Terry Antonis, 24. Hagi Gligor (28. Matt Thompson 76-), 4. Ranko Despotovic.
Unused Substitutes: 1. Ivan Necevski, 36. Themba Muata-Marlow
Yellow cards: Calver 24-, Del Piero 43-, Gligor 68-,