Roar undone by clinical Mariners

Massimo Murdocca returned to active duty in the National Youth League at Ballymore Stadium but he was helpless to stop Brisbane going down 3-1 to the Central Coast Mariners.

Massimo Murdocca returned to active duty in the National Youth League at Ballymore Stadium but he was helpless to stop Brisbane going down 3-1 to the Central Coast Mariners.

Clinical finishing from the Mariners was the difference between the two sides as Brisbane again squandered good opportunities in front of goal and were punished.

Murdocca-s first touch on the ball illustrated his time out of the game with a wayward pass enabling the Mariners to break forward, but in typical fashion the midfielder worked back to help his defence clear the danger.

Hyundai A-League veteran Nik Mrdja opened the scoring for the visitors on seven minutes when the Roar gave away cheap possession in the attacking half of the pitch.

The Mariners broke quickly and Mrdja collected the ball just inside the Roar half and despite Matt Mundy trying to pressure the Central Coast striker, he hammered the ball into the top corner of the goal.

The goal came as Dylan MacAllister was forced from the field with a leg injury following a mid-air collision with Brisbane goalkeeper Matt Acton.

Acton was forced into a finger-tip save on 13 minutes as Brendan Griffin dipped a free-kick into the same corner Mrdja had hit his goal.

Brisbane nearly drew level on 18 minutes when Jordan Farina blasted a bullet-like corner into the Central Coast box, but despite Andrew Redmayne spilling his catch neither Adam Sarota or Mundy could capitalize - Mundy having a stinging shot well saved by Redmayne.

The home side went close again two minutes later when Farina and Tim Smits combined well to set up Ken Dougall, but with Redmayne beaten his shot drifted just outside the post.

Farina then had two efforts on goal in a minute - one saved and one going just wide of the mark - as the Roar began to put the Mariners under sustained pressure.

Brisbane-s combinations on the edge of the Central Coast penalty area were proving dangerous, but they couldn-t quite find the killer touch to make their pressure count.

Smits was next to have the Mariners defence on its toes when he snuck in front of his defender to meet a Michael Ryan cross, but again, his effort couldn-t be steered on target.

Mrjda had a rare effort on goal with 10 minutes left on the clock to remind the Roar of the visitor-s attacking threat.

As if to underline that threat, Central Coast captain Panagiotis Nikas doubled the lead on 37 minutes when he pounced on a Mundy defensive error to slot the ball past Acton.

Murdocca made way at the break, having worked through his first half of football since the pre-season in what will be an encouraging sign for senior coach Ange Postecoglou.

Brisbane continued to look dangerous at set-pieces and Bob Malcolm was twice denied by some desperate defending following a low-driven Luke Brattan cross.

It was a theme of the opening stages of the second stanza as the Mariners continued to frustrate Brisbane-s attacking play with desperate lunges and late touches clearing danger.

Despite all their attacking intentions, the Roar found themselves further behind on 73 minutes when a looping ball across the box dropped to Nicholas Fitzgerald who was given far too much time on the ball and snuck the ball under Acton for the third goal.

Two minutes later the home fans finally had something to cheer about when the Mariners failed to clear the danger from a corner and Mundy smashed home a half-volley into the bottom corner.

The goal spurred on the young Roar side and Smits had a goal ruled out for a tug on a defender-s shirt just three minutes later.

Acton was well on his toes with six minutes left in the game as Mrdja bore down on his goal, but he was bravely out to the feet of the big striker to halt the danger.

As in the first half, the Roar Youth side controlled plenty of possession and worked some classy combinations around the opposition penalty area.

Smits was denied a headed goal into injury time when his goal-bound effort was cleared off the line.

However, in the end, the Mariners were able to keep the home side at bay to take the three points.

Brisbane Roar 1 (Matt MUNDY 75-) Central Coast Mariners 3 (Nik MRDJA 7-, Panagiotis NIKAS 37-, Nicholas FITZGERALD 73-) Saturday, 14 November 2009 Ballymore Stadium, Brisbane Local kick-off: 3.15pm (4.15pm AEDT) Referee: Alan Milliner

Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Matt ACTON (GK), 2. Tim SMITS (OA), 4. Michael RYAN (capt), 5. Isaka CERNAK, 6. Calum O-CONNELL (3. Alistair QUINN 46-), 8. Jordan FARINA (15. Antony SCHIAVO 57-), 12. Ken DOUGALL, 13. Adam SAROTA, 14. Bob MALCOLM (OA), 16. Matt MUNDY (OA). 18. Massimo MURDOCCA (OA) (7. Luke BRATTAN 46-).

Unused substitutes: 20. Luke MUIR (GK)

Yellow cards: Calum O-CONNELL (31-)

Red cards: Nil

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK) (20. Mathew RYAN (GK) 73-), 2. Nathan SHERLOCK, 6. Matthew LEWIS, 7. Brendan GRIFFIN (3. Jerry KALOURIS 60-), 10. Panagiotis NIKAS, 12. Shane HUKE (OA) (. Nicholas FITZGERALD 60-), 14. Brady SMITH, 15. Adam ORMSBY, 16. Nik MRDJA (OA), 17. Matthew CROWELL (OA), 19. Dylan MACALLISTER (11. Mitchell MALLIA 7-).

Unused substitutes: Nil

Yellow cards: Mitchell MALLIA (43-)

Red cards: Nil

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