Spoils shared in clash with Central Coast

Sydney FC remains undefeated during its pre-season campaign after playing out an entertaining nil-all draw with the Central Coast Mariner in a friendly match on Monday night at Leichhardt Oval.

Sydney FC remains undefeated during its pre-season campaign after playing out an entertaining nil-all draw with the Central Coast Mariner in a friendly match on Monday night at Leichhardt Oval.

Despite a late venue change, just three days before the game a healthy crowd of more than 1,500 turned out on a chilly Monday evening and they were rewarded with a willing contest between the two fierce rivals, as both sides stepped up their preparations for the coming Hyundai A-League campaign.

With nine trial wins already under their belts, the Sky Blues started well and controlled play in the middle of the park without really testing the Central Coast backline. That came in the 12th minute of the match when Alex Brosque found space on the edge of the area and fired off a full-blooded shot that was well blocked by the Mariners defence.

After being on the back foot for much of the first fifteen minutes the visitors finally found space, and threatened the home sides- defence with a dangerous cross in from the right – defused by a timely clearance from Shannon Cole on the far post.

In the 26th minute a John Aloisi interception put Brendan Gan on the attack. The 21-year old delivered a deep cross that was well met on the volley by Karol Kisel but the shot was just wide of the post – and a charging Kofi Danning.

A free kick on the edge of Sydney-s penalty area presented the Central Coast with its best opportunity of the opening period but Nik Mrdja failed to test Keeper, Clint Bolton, blazing the ball over the bar.

The bar again came into play at the other end of the field late in the first half, sparing Dean Heffernan the embarrassment of an own goal – the defender shaking the woodwork with his attempt at a clearing header off a Shannon Cole cross.

The Sky Blues could claim all the credit for creating the best chance of the half, however, almost earning the opening goal just before the break. A dazzling interchange of passing ended with a brutal Terry McFlynn blast but Danny Vukovic was up to the task between the sticks and the stalemate remained.

Sydney started the second period in positive fashion with John Aloisi coming close twice in the first five minutes after the resumption. The Sky Blues should have had the lead in the 52nd minute, but Kisel couldn-t capitalise on a gold-plated opportunity from close range with only the keeper to beat.

Having been denied by Vukovic in the first half, Terry McFlynn had an even better opportunity snuffed out by the Central Coast keeper on the hour. Brosque showed all his attacking class to attract several defenders before laying the ball back to the stand-in skipper who fired off a fierce shot, only to see it again intercepted in athletic fashion by the Mariners- custodian.

Central Coast lifted its intensity and took the game up to its hosts in the final half-hour but still the majority of chances continued to fall for Sydney. Brosque, Karol Kisel and Brendan Gan continued to cause the Mariners headaches in defence but in the end neither side could find a decisive edge and the match ended in an entertaining standoff.

With its unbeaten record still intact, Sydney FC will hit the road this weekend for its next official trial, which will be played against the Newcastle Jets in Port Macquarie at 2pm on Sunday afternoon.

Match Detail

Sydney FC 0
Central Coast Mariners 0

Sydney FC: 1. Clint BOLTON (gk), 4. Simon COLOSIMO, 6. Karol KISEL, 12. Shannon COLE (18. Adam CASEY 62-), 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry MCFLYNN (c), 22. Sung-Hwan BYUN, 23. John ALOISI (16. Chris PAYNE 75-), 27. Matthew JURMAN, 32. Brendan GAN, 35. Kofi DANNING.

Substitutes Not Used: 5. Mitchell PRENTICE, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk).

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

Central Coast Mariners20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 4. Pedj BOJIC (23. Adam KWASNIK 68-), 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Dean HEFFERNAN, 9. Nik MRDJA (27. Milos LUJIC (trialist) 61-), 10. Adrian CACERES (22. Nick TRAVIS 84-), 13. Chris DOIG, 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 21. Ahmad ELRICH (2. Dong-Sup LIM (trialist) 61-), 26. Gary WALES (trialist).

Substitutes Not Used: 6. David D-APUZZO, 30. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk).

Yellow Cards: Dean Heffernan 48-.
Red Cards: nil.
Goals: nil.

Referee: Stuart Wolfe.
Crowd: 1,540 at Leichhardt Oval.