Sydney FC falls 1-0 to Mariners but stay 5th

Sydney FC tumbled to its 3rd consecutive loss, this time going down 1-0 to competition leaders the Central Coast Mariners at the Sydney Football Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Sydney FC tumbled to its 3rd consecutive loss, this time going down 1-0 to competition leaders the Central Coast Mariners at the Sydney Football Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Sydney FC once again frustrated its fans with a strong second half performance that followed a dire first 45 minutes in the ultimate game of two halves. Unfortunately for the 11,866 fans the Central Coast converted possession and dominance into a 9th minute goal and Sydney FC could not find the back of the net in the second stanza.

Coach Vitezslav Lavicka was true to his word, making four changes to the starting side that went down 4-2 to Wellington Phoenix on Wednesday.

Into the starting line up came Nick Carle, Karol Kisel, Rhyan Grant and Sebastian Ryall and onto the bench went Mark Bridge, Dimi Petratos and Shannon Cole, while Jamie Coyne was left out altogether.

Before the game kicked off Sydney FC remembered one of the Foundation Members of The Cove, William “Doggadog” Duran, who passed away during the week, with a Moments Silence.

Former Sydney FC striker and Cove Favourite Alex Brosque, who is in Sydney on holidays, paid tribute to Duran by standing in his reserved seat in The Cove during the Moments Silence. The gesture, as Brosque was his favourite Sydney FC player, brought thunderous applause from the fans in The Cove and tears from Duran-s family, who stood beside the former Sky Blues star in the crowd.

The game had barely started though when the Mariners took the lead with Oliver Bozanic slotting home from close range after the visitors got in behind the left hand side of Sydney FC-s defence in the 9th minute to make it 1-0.

After the goal the Central Coast continued to make the running with Sydney FC sitting deep in defence, countering the effectiveness of the Mariners swift ball movement in attack.

Although managing to stem the Mariners- attacking flow it left the Sky Blues isolated when they tried to attack and despite a half chance to Nick Carle in the 25th minute the home side had little joy in the attacking third.

Sydney FC also failed to take advantage of what possession they did have with cheap turnovers stifling the home side-s attack.

The teams went to the sheds with Central Coast leading 1-0 and Lavicka reacted by bringing Bridge into the game for Bruno Cazarine.

Bridge offered more pace in attack and the Sky Blues started to work their way back into the match with Carle (52nd minute) and Karol Kisel 66th minute testing Mariners keeper Matthew Ryan. In between it was Sydney FC custodian Liam Reddy who was forced into a magnificent save when his point black save denied Bernie Ibini in the 64th minute.

Bridge himself then went close in the 67th minute when he shot just wide after Carle got in behind the Mariners defence as the Sky Blues started to dominate possession and the match with a much improved performance.

Sydney FC continued to pile on the pressure with Rhyan Grant sending a delicious cross into the penalty area that just evaded the out-stretched leg of Bridge in the 74th minute.

In the 79th minute it was substitute Dimi Petratos who came close, who was unable to get his leg to a Brett Emerton cross from the right hand side.

The last 10 minutes saw the home side throw everything forward in pursuit of an equaliser but a combination of resolute Mariners defence and poor finishing saw the Mariners take all three points.

Sydney FC has now gone four matches without a win but amazingly still sits in 5th place on the Hyundai A-League ladder.

The difference now is that the bunched pack is nipping at the Sky Blues heels and where two weeks Sydney FC was shooting for second place, they now find themselves in a dog fight to make the finals.

Next week it doesn-t get any easier with a trip north of the border to take on Brisbane Roar before back-to-back home games against Perth Glory (at Campbelltown on 18 January) and then Newcastle Jets at the Sydney Football Stadium on Sunday 22 January.

Central Coast Mariners 1 (Oliver Bozanic 9) d Sydney FC 0 Sydney Football Stadium Crowd: 11,866 Referee: Jarred Gillett

Sydney FC: 1. Liam Reddy, 2. Sebastian Ryall (12. Shannon Cole ‘60), 4. Pascal Bosschaart, 5. Michael Beauchamp, 7. Brett Emerton, 8. Karol Kisel (11. Dimi Petratos ‘77), 9. Bruno Cazarine (19. Mark Bridge ‘46), 10 Nick Carle, 15. Terry McFlynn (c), 17. Terry Antonis, 23. Rhyan Grant. Sub not used: 20. Ivan Necevski. Yellow cards: Sebastian Ryall 13, McFlynn 54 Red cards: -

Central Coast: 1. Matthew Ryan, 2. Daniel McBreen (12. Troy Hearfield ‘60), 3. Josh Rose, 4. Pedj Bojic, 6. Patrick Zwaanswijk, 7. John Hutchinson, 9. Bernie Ibini (23. Adam Kwasnik ‘77), 11. Oliver Bozanic, 14. Michael McGlinchy, 18. Alex Wilkinson (c), 22. Mustafa Amini (16. Trent Sainsbury ‘90+3).

Sub not used: 20. Justin Pasfield (gk) Yellow cards: Bojic 55 Red cards: -

Fans can purchase 3-Game Packs for games in the New Year starting from only $50 for adults. Details for the Big Night Out Pack (including Melbourne Victory game) and the Football Funday Packs can be found here on our website.

For more information on the club's January holiday clinics check out our Community Programs and see Youth Team Head coach Ian Crook-s interview.