Mariners maintain charge

The Central Coast Mariners have defeated the North Queensland Fury 1-0 at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Friday night.

The Central Coast Mariners have defeated the North Queensland Fury 1-0 at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Friday night.

Patrick Zwaanswijk scored the only goal in the 36th minute from a corner to give the Mariners victory and leave the Fury brains trust wondering why they can’t defend against set plays.

David Williams had a chance to level the scores in the 81st minute but was left with a mouthful of grass after goalkeeper Matthew Ryan dived at his feet, sparking a protest from the men in green.

Central Coast dominated the start of the game in field position and possession which eventually translated into points while North Queensland once again slipped into gear when it was too little, too late.

Fury coach Franz Straka said bit his tongue when asked if he thought it was a penalty.

“I thought so but you have to ask the referee,” he said.

“I am disappointed, frustrated after this game especially after second half the three points are gone.”

“It’s a pity but the team fought really well, they did everything they could.”

Mariners coach Graham Arnold felt for the opposition.

“I have not seen the replay but from where I was sitting it looked like it was (a penalty) but they even out over the season,” he said.

“It’s not an easy place to come to with the humidity but the boys put in a good shift but for the first half it should have been three-nil game over.

“It’s six points from six we gave a challenge to the boys for back-to-back wins and we are very pleased with the result.”

The Fury had a worrying start with Mark Hughes miss-kicking an attempted clearance, rolling the ball to an open Michael McGlinchey but he too failed to make meaningful contact, spraying the ball across the net.

The Mariners maintained the pressure, camping in the opposition box with Mustafa Amini winding up from in front with a thunderous strike that failed to leave the ground and went straight into the arms of ‘keeper Justin Pasfield.

Williams had the best attacking chance for the hosts with a lively run through the middle as he threaded a through ball to Chris Payne in between two backtracking defenders, although the pass had too much force.

Former Fury striker Daniel McBreen looked destined to score for the visitors when he chipped a high ball over the advancing keeper but defender Andre Kilian sprinted back and with a diving lunge booted the ball out right on the line.

The pressure continued with the Mariners camping in the Fury’s 18-yard box.

Matt Simon had a second chance when he drifted through the defensive line to receive a cross but with the angle too sharp, the shot was easily saved by the goalkeeper.

Patrick Zwaanswijk finally made them pay in the 36th minute through a well constructed set play from the corner when he headed the ball into the net.

Central Coast started strong again after the break with McBreen holding up the ball in the box and finding support easily but he could not get his shot away.

North Queensland struggled for cohesion until Payne and Chris Grossman combined in the box with a one-two which included a lob over a defender but the latter could not get a shot away.

Payne then provided a short pass to Williams who didn’t think twice as he launched an audacious strike from outside the box which just sailed over the cross-bar.

Williams was well positioned to score when he received a precision through-ball in the 81st minute but was left on the turf after goalkeeper Ryan dived at his feet sending him tumbling.

The win will keep the Central Coast in the hunt for a top two spot while North Queensland continues to battle to get their football on track after a tumultuous two weeks.

North Queensland Fury 0
Central Coast Mariners 1 (Zwaanswijk 36)
Crowd 3625 at Dairy Farmers Stadium