Sydney FC steals dramatic 1-0 victory over Mariners

Sydney FC exacted sweet revenge on Central Coast with a dramatic 1-0 victory thanks to a late Brett Emerton winner at Allianz Stadium tonight.

Sydney FC exacted sweet revenge on Central Coast with a dramatic 1-0 victory thanks to a late Brett Emerton winner at Allianz Stadium tonight.

During the week Coach Frank Farina asked for courage and a fighting spirit from the players and they responded in spades, dominating the top-of-the-table Mariners to move off the bottom of the ladder, just three points outside the top six.

The local derby was played at a frantic tempo with the Sky Blues deserving the win in front of a boisterous crowd of 16,887.

The win was secured in the 89th minute when Brett Emerton rose highest to a fantastic cross from Ali Abbas, to plant a powerful header into the back of the net, sending the Sky Blues faithful at Allianz Stadium into pandemonium.

On a night where every man in Sky Blue stood tall, Alessandro Del Piero, Rhyan Grant, Vedran Janjetovic and Peter Triantis were standouts.

Triantis was handed a starting debut from Farina, with the central midfielder one of three changes from the side that fell to Newcastle 2-1, and he was immense, marking Socceroo Tom Rogic out of the match.

Nathan Sherlock and Blake Powell were also handed starting berths, with the trio replacing Terry McFlynn, Fabio and Terry Antonis.

The changes led to a new formation, with Powell partnering Yau upfront and Del Piero being the head of a diamond midfield and the change in formation had an immediate impact with Sydney-s movement on and off the ball the crispest the team has seen all season.

Del Piero relished the change to a more advanced, free role, creating the game-s first chance, when he fed Yau a delicate lob, with the striker only able to fire over the bar from a tight angle.

The visitors had their first chance through Daniel McBreen, with the in-form striker forcing a great finger-tip save from Vedran Janjetovic.

Janjetovic was called into action again minutes later, saving smartly at the near post from Josh Rose after a sweeping Mariners move.

On 18 minutes Del Piero came close to breaking the deadlock, doing brilliantly to dispossess John Hutchinson on the edge of the area, only to fire a stinging shot straight at Matt Ryan.

The Italian was becoming increasingly a threat to Matt Ryan-s goal, sending a free kick just over the crossbar only minutes later.

Just two minutes before the break, Sydney came within inches of finding the back of the net, with Del Piero again in the thick of the action. The Italian saw his in swinging corner hacked off the line by Trent Sainsbury, with the defender again clearing a Rhyan Grant header over the crossbar in the ensuing scramble.

Such was the first half performance that the Sky Blues left the field to a standing ovation.

Sydney started the second half, the way they ended the first, full of running and enthusiasm and Peter Triantis was the first to test Matt Ryan, hitting a rocket from 35m, which the keeper did well to claim.

Against the run of play it seemed certain that the visitors would score, only for Janjetovic to pull off the save of the season from Daniel McBreen. The striker latched onto a long ball, slipped past Sebastian Ryall, turned Janjetovic but the Sky Blues custodian somehow regained his feet to save brilliantly.

Soon after Frank Farina handed a senior debut to Alec Urosevski, with the whippy striker replacing an exhausted Yairo Yau.

Into the last 10 minutes and chances opened up at both ends, with Del Piero again shooting straight at Ryan, before Tom Rogic fired over the bar from 8m after being teed up by substitute Mitchell Duke.

With a raucous crowd urging on Sydney, Rhyan Grant came agonisingly close to a spectacular winner, seeing his curling shot from the left edge of the penalty area crash back off the crossbar.

And just as a draw seemed likely, Emerton struck a fantastic winner. Ali Abbas found space wide on the left flank and whipped in a beautiful cross to the far post, where Emerton attacked the ball and fired a bullet header into the back of the net.

As Sydney looked to consolidate their lead, tempers frayed in injury time with John Hutchinson and Tom Rogic both receiving their marching orders from referee Peter Green.

Hutchinson received a second yellow card after lashing out at Abbas, before a horror Rogic challenge on Rhyan Grant saw the striker receive a straight red card.

Much to the relief of the players and the crowd, the next time Green blew his whistle, it was for full time, giving the fantastic crowd a late Christmas present.

Sydney FC 1 (Brett EMERTON 89) d Central Coast 0 Allianz Stadium Referee: Peter GREEN Crowd: 16 887

Sydney FC: 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC, 2. Sebastian RYALL, 5. Nathan SHERLOCK (18. Trent MCCLENAHAN ‘65), 7. Brett EMERTON, 8. Adam GRIFFITHS, 10. Alessandro DEL PIERO, 12. Blake POWELL, 21. Yairo YAU(27. Alec UROSEVSKI ‘76), 22. Ali ABBAS, 23. Rhyan GRANT (17. Terry ANTONIS ‘95), 26. Peter TRIANTIS.

Sub Not Used: 33. Matthew NASH. Yellow Cards: Peter TRIANTIS 5, Ali ABBAS 7, Blake POWELL 27, Alec UROSEVSKI 92, Sebastian RYALL 95.

Central Coast Mariners: 1. Mathew RYAN, 2. Daniel MCBREEN (19. Mitchell DUKE ‘83), 3. Joshua ROSE, 5. Zachary ANDERSON, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 9. Berni IBINI, 10. Tomas ROGIC, 14. Michael MCGLINCHEY (21. Mile STERJOVSKI ‘71), 16. Trent SAINSBURY, 18. Nick MONTGOMERY, 24. Hayden MORTON.

Subs Not Used: 13. Brent Griffiths, 20. Justin PASFIELD.

Yellow Cards: Trent SAINSBURY 18, Hayden MORTON 70, Daniel MCBREEN 78, John HUTCHINSON 85, 93.

Red Card: John HUTCHINSON 93, TOM ROGIC 95.