Last week Shannon Cole signalled his arrival on the Hyundai A-League stage with a stunning performance in his debut game against Melbourne but this week he went one better, firing home a late free kick to secure victory for Sydney FC.
Last week Shannon Cole signalled his arrival on the Hyundai A-League stage with a stunning performance in his debut game against Melbourne but this week he went one better, firing home a late free kick to secure maximum points for Sydney FC in its meeting with the Mariners.
Stand-in skipper, Steve Corica was the star of the first half, scoring an early brace to give his side the upper hand, but it was Cole-s class that saved Sydney, after the visitors were forced to fight out the final 25 minutes of the match with only 10 men.
“Last week he was unlucky, this week a little further to the right, about half an inch made the difference,” said Sydney coach, John Kosmina of Cole-s 81st minute winner.
With the ball moving end to end early, Sydney FC midfielder Terry McFlynn released Alex Brosque, who-s neat ball in from the right paved the way for Corica to slot the ball low past Mariners keeper, Danny Vukovic in the 6th minute.
The home side soon kicked into gear with its first chance falling to Ahmed Elrich whose shot was saved easily by keeper Clint Bolton.
However in the 13th minute, Central Coast was awarded a penalty after striker, Matt Simon was brought down during a tussle with Robbie Middleby, and Sasho Petrovski equalised with ease from the spot.
The home side’s lead lasted only a minute though as the Mariner’s defence was again exposed.
Central Coast defenders stood off Sydney FC front-man Mark Bridge, and after some stylish interplay in the box, Brosque again found his captain, and Corica had his second inside the 15 minute mark.
Both teams had opportunities to extend the scoreline, but it was Sydney that was forced onto the defensive in the lead up to the break.
The hosts couldn-t beat the barrier that is Bolton though, and went to the sheds a goal down.
The Mariners returned to the field more determined in the second half, pushing the ball up the field and pressuring Sydney FC from the start.
Petrovski gave the blue brigade an early scare, beating Bolton, only to be denied by the offside flag, then in the 66th minute prolonged pressure payed off, with the former Sydney striker stealing his second from close range to put the hosts back on level terms.
Not long after, Sydney debutant, Stuart Musialik receive a yellow card for a tackle from behind, and his reaction proved costly with a second yellow for dissent seeing the midfield marched from the field.
Despite being down to 10-men, Sydney seemed to lift and still managed to work into attack, and an 80th minute foul on Captain Corica just outside the box had Nigel Boogaard seeing yellow, and set the stage for Shannon Cole.
In only his second A-League appearance, the set-piece specialist squeezed the ball over the wall, passed the fingertips of Vukovic and into the back of the net, restoring FC-s advantage.
The Mariners launched a barrage of attack in the closing stages but couldn-t crack the Sydney FC defence, which held out the home side to take a thoroughly entertaining 3-2 win.
Sydney Coach, John Kosmina was happy to come away with the three points after another tight tussle between the two rival teams.
“Without sounding cocky, I expected to get a result tonight,” Kosmina said. “I was pleased with the way we moved the ball around and I think we can only get better with Aloisi and Popovic coming into the squad.”
The Sydney FC side will look to build on the performance when it returns home to host the Perth Glory at the Sydney Football Stadium next Sunday.
Sydney FC 3
Central Coast Mariners 2
1.Clint Bolton (gk), 2. Iain Fyfe, 4. Simon Colosimo, 7. Rob Middleby, 8. Stuart Musialik, 10. Steve Corica (c)(Dez Giraldi 82-), 12. Shannon Cole (25. Robert Mileski 90-+4), 14. Alex Brosque (16. Christopher Payne 89-), 15. Terry McFlynn, 17. Jacob Timpano, 19. Mark Bridge
Substitute not used: 20. Ivan Necevski (gk)
Yellow Cards: Middleby 34-, Colosimo 45-, Musialik 69′, Musialik 69′, Cole 90-, Fyfe 90’+5
Red Cards: Musialik 69-
Goals: Corica 6-, 14-, Cole 81-
Central Coast Mariners
4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Bradley PORTER, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 10. Adrian CACERES, 15. Andrew CLARK (9. Nik MRDJA 78-), 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 21. Ahmad ELRICH, 22. Sasho PETROVSKI
Substitutes not used: 6. David D’APUZZO, 17. Matthew OSMAN, 40. Mark BOSNICH (gk)
Yellow Cards: Clark 48-, Petrovski 55-, Bojic 56-, Boogaard 80-
Red Cards: nil
Goals: Petrovski 13’P, 67′
Referee: Ben Williams