Sky Blues sink Mariners to move to top of table

Terry McFlynn celebrated his return from injury and the birth of his first child in perfect fashion on Labour Day Monday, claiming a 21st minute header that secured an entertaining 1-nil win over the Central Coast Mariners and returned Sydney FC to the summit of the Hyundai A-League table.


Terry McFlynn celebrated his return from injury and the birth of his first child in perfect fashion on Labour Day Monday, claiming a 21st minute header that secured an entertaining 1-nil win over the Central Coast Mariners and returned Sydney FC to the summit of the Hyundai A-League table.

The Northern Irishman-s clinical top-corner finish capped off a magical week for the crowd favourite, who welcomed daughter, Olivia to the world on Thursday. It was his first match in a month, and the midfield dynamo looked like he was making up for lost time in a jack-in-the-box performance.

His first-half finish rounded out a move that would have brought a smile to coach Vitezslav Lavicka-s face, after patient and probing build up allowed Stuart Musialik to float a pin-point cross in for McFlynn to unlock the Mariners- notoriously stingy defence.

It took ten minutes for the open affair to spring to life, with Dyllan Macallister firing the first warning shots - he looped a header straight into Clint Bolton-s gloves, before thumping John Hutchinson-s floating ball towards the bottom corner minutes later - only to see it brilliantly clawed away by Bolton.

Nick Mrdja and Pedj Bojic wasted two decent free kick opportunities in a positive early spell for the away side, but it sparked the Sky Blues into action. Alex Brosque began to dazzle the Mariners- defence up front, before Mark Bridge and Steve Corica found encouraging space down the right flank.

What followed was a stunning passage of build-up play, beginning with Karol Kisel, Seb Ryall and Stuart Musialik and culminating with McFlynn-s unstoppable header, which proved to be the match winner.

“Every goal is special, especially if it-s put us at the top of the league now” said McFlynn after the match. “It was important for us to come home today, in front of the home fans to get a win to get us to the top of the league.”

The quality of both sides- play went up a gear after the opener. Sydney was running at the Mariners with pace and purpose but spurned a couple of positive opportunities all within ten minutes.

Corica dragged a left-foot side-volley wide off Brosque-s cross, after Bridge hassled Bojic into error; Brosque forced Danny Vukovic down sharply to his left and McFlynn thundered a drive just wide off the ensuing corner. On 37 minutes, left-back Sung-Hwan Byun should-ve done better when Brosque played him into the box, but he blazed high over the bar.

Nigel Boogaard ensured Bolton remained on his toes, forcing him to tip a dipping long-range effort over the cross bar to round out the chances in an entertaining stanza.

The second half began with a case of comedy capers as the Sky Blues almost handed the Mariners an equaliser; Bolton slipped and gifted his clearance to Mrdja - but the Sydney gloveman breathed an almighty sigh of relief when the striker trod on the ball with a guilt-edged chance at his mercy.

Normal business resumed with Sydney creating, but failing to take another few chances. Corica threaded the ball out to a rampaging Kisel, but he flashed his strike across the face of goal.

Then only Vukovic stood between Bridge and another one of his special strikes, but the Mariners- custodian got down quickly to palm a volley which was beautifully controlled off his chest.

Sydney looked in control when they held onto the ball, and they needed to, with the Mariners throwing everything at the Sky Blues when they got the ball in the final 15 minutes. Michael McGlinchey was proving particularly elusive, and would-ve scored an audacious thirty metre volley had Bolton not got his fingertips to it.

The heavens opened and it bucketed down - but the Sky Blues defended manfully until the end. Stephan Keller added to the tension when he was knocked unconscious contesting a header, but his partner in crime Simon Colosimo and the lung-busting McFlynn were on hand to clean up all the scraps.

“I think tonight we scored when we were playing well and that-s what we-ve been focusing on,” said McFlynn. “There-s been time where we-ve been playing well and haven-t scored and made us force things, especially in the first half we played really well.”

Coach Viteslav Lavicka agreed: “I think especially in the first half, we played well, in shape, we tried to play quickly especially in attack” he said after the match. “It-s still a process, we know that we need to improve, especially the finishing part...we need to score more goals.”

It's a short turn around for Sydney - up next is a trip to Etihad Stadium to play the Melbourne Victory for the first time this season on Friday, October 9.

Match Detail

Sydney FC 1 (Terry McFlynn 21-) Central Coast Mariners 0

Sydney FC: 1. Clint BOLTON (gk), 2. Sebastian RYALL, 3. Stephan KELLER (13. Antony GOLEC 90-), 4. Simon COLOSIMO, 6. Karol KISEL (12. Shannon COLE 72-), 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 10. Steve CORICA (c), 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15.Terry MCFLYNN, 19. Mark BRIDGE (16. Chris PAYNE 84-), 22. Sung Hwan BYUN.

Substitutes not used: 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk).

Yellow Cards: nil. Red Cards: nil. Goals: 15. Terry McFlynn 21-.

Central Coast Mariners: 20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 4. Pedj BOJIC, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Dean HEFFERNAN, 9. Nik MRDJA (23. Adam KWASNICK 68-), 11. Dylan MACALLISTER, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 17. Chris DOIG, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 22. Nicky TRAVIS (5. Brad PORTER 73-).

Substitutes not used: 30. Matthew RYAN (gk), 15. Andrew CLARK.

Yellow Cards: nil. Red Cards: nil. Goals: nil.

Referee: Matthew Breeze. Crowd: 13,887 at the Sydney Football Stadium.