Roar dig deep for win

Brisbane Roar have secured back-to-back wins for the first time this season with a gutsy 3-2 win over the Central Coast Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford.

Brisbane Roar have secured back-to-back wins for the first time this season with a gutsy 3-2 win over the Central Coast Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford.

The Roar had never lost to the Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium but they had to show plenty of determination to take three points when the game seemed destined to end in a draw.

Brisbane had plenty of early pressure in the opening five minutes of the contest, Craig Moore having a shot blocked by Matt Simon as the Roar turned up the heat on the Mariners early.

The early pressure paid off as the Roar hit the lead on 10 minutes when Tommy Oar proved his right foot wasn-t just for standing on by curling a shot from his weaker foot inside the post.

Adam Sarota set the goal up with a cross the Mariners defence failed to deal with before Oar beat Brad Porter to slot past Danny Vukovic in goal.

Nigel Boogaard had a chance to draw his side level one minute later, but his free header from a Nicky Travis corner went over the bar.

Henrique then tried another acrobatic effort, following on from his attempt against North Queensland mid-week, from another Sarota cross but it looped high and into the hands of Vukovic.

The Roar were counting themselves lucky to remain in front after 21 minutes when Adam Kwasnik broke down the Central Coast right putting the ball on a plate for Matt Simon, but the Mariners striker skied it over the goal from six yards out.

A minute later, and on the counter, Brisbane found themselves two goals up courtesy of a Sergio van Dijk curling Christmas cracker from outside the box that left Vukovic clutching at thin air.

Sarota then his luck from distance with a rasping left foot strike but he couldn-t quite find the target.

The Mariners were then gifted a life-line back into the match when Craig Moore under hit a backpass to Griffin McMaster and Nicky Travis stole in to slot into an open net.

The home side put plenty of pressure on Brisbane leading into the break, but couldn-t find the goal to drag themselves level.

The opening to the second half lacked the punch of the first half as Brisbane looked to consolidate following a barrage of Central Coast attack at the close of the first.

With 11 minutes gone, Moore looked to extend the lead from a Tommy Oar corner, but again the direction wasn-t quite there to force a save from Vukovic.

Brisbane almost conspired to hand Central Coast the equaliser when a McKay clearance fell to Kwasnik on the penalty spot but the Mariners striker failed to hit the target.

Quality in the final third was difficult for both teams to find as the defensive efforts went to the next level at either end of the pitch.

Eventually the Mariners did draw level courtesy of substitute Dylan MacAllister who nodded in on the line after an unmarked Alex Wilkinson headed back across goal from a Travis corner.

A minute later the Roar had Oar to thank for not conceding two in a minute when he turned a Wilkinson shot off the line.

Suddenly Brisbane sprung to life, immediately putting pressure on the Central Coast goal through Oar and Mitch Nichols.

Nichols- introduction seemed to inspire the away team as his knack of finding space in the midfield caused the Mariners trouble.

Sarota looked to get his name on the scoresheet in the final five minutes, dancing into the penalty area, but a last ditch defensive tackle stopped his goalbound effort.

McKay then shocked the home crowd with a sweet volley from just inside the box to give the gutsy Brisbane side all three points.

Brisbane coach Ange Postecoglou was full of praise for his side, having collected two wins from three games in a week.

“That was a real gutsy performance,” Postecoglou said. “It wasn-t a silky smooth performance but we toughed it out and got the result.

“The result in the end was good reward for a lot of effort shown by the players and I can-t say enough about how deep they dug.

“At 2-2 I thought we might have to hang on, but really we pushed on and got the goal we deserved in the end.”

Central Coast Mariners 2 (Nicky Travis 35-, Dylan MacAllister76-) Brisbane Roar 3 (Tommy Oar 10-, Sergio van Dijk 21-, Matt McKay 90'+1) Saturday, 19 December 2009 Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford Referee: Alan MILLINER

Central Coast Mariners line-up: 20. Danny VUKOVIC (GK), 4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Brad PORTER, 12. Matthew LEWIS (21. Ahmad ELRICH 68-), 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 15. Andrew CLARK, 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 18. Alex WILKINSON (capt), 19. Matt SIMON, 22. Nicky TRAVIS, 23. Adam KWASNIK (11. Dylan MacALLISTER 66-).

Substitutes not used: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 3. Shane HUKE

Yellow cards: Pedj Bojic (90-)

Red cards: Nil

Brisbane Roar line-up: 20. Griffin McMASTER (GK), 3. Luke DEVERE (5. Josh McCLOUGHAN 45-), 4. Craig MOORE (capt), 7. Michael ZULLO, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 9. Sergio VAN DIJK, 13. HENRIQUE (17. Mitch NICHOLS 75-), 14. Adam SAROTA, 15. Matt McKAY, 21. Tommy OAR (23. Tim SMITS 86-), 22. Ivan FRANJIC.

Substitutes not used: 1. Matt HAM (GK)

Yellow cards: Matt McKay (47-)

Red cards: Nil