Mariners grab last gasp win over Knights - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mariners grab last gasp win over Knights

By Damon Cronshaw 08/01/2006 08:23:36 PM Comments (0)

Central Coast left-back Dean Heffernan scored in the 90th minute to give his side a 1-0 win over the New Zealand Knights before the match erupted into a brawl involving players, officials and a spectator.

The pitch invader was later escorted from Central Coast Stadium while Football Federation Australia said it would investigate the injury-time melee.

The fight began near the western sideline after a tackle on the Mariners' Jamie McMaster and quickly involved several players and the rival clubs' benches in pushing and shoving.

The spectator jumped the fence and approached the benches but did not appear to become involved physically.

Referee Srebre Delovski took some moments to regain control before awarding yellow cards to Knights players Kris Bright and Jeremy Christie and Mariners goalkeeper Danny Vukovic.

Heffernan's goal, his sixth of the season, lifted the Mariners into third place in the A-League, leapfrogging arch rivals Newcastle.

Heffernan swept home the winner from the edge of the box with his right boot.

It was the first time this season the Mariners have won two games on the trot, and they are unbeaten in five matches.

Throughout Heffernan looked the player most likely to find an advantage, his marauding runs down the left flank the highlight of the home side's performance.

New Zealand's only win of the season came away to the Mariners in September and the Kiwis almost spoiled the home side's day again.

Mariners coach Lawrie McKinna gave McMaster his debut to try and find a goal.

The 23-year-old striker, who grew up on the Central Coast, replaced Mariners leading scorer Stewart Petrie in the 61st minute to a loud cheer from the home fans.

But McMaster, who spent six years in England with Leeds United, Coventry City and Swindon Town, had little impact.

New Zealand's Glen Moss pulled off a superb save from an Andre Gumprecht shot in the 4th minute, the long-range effort heading for the top corner until the `keeper stretched and got a hand to it.

Early in the second half, Mariners striker John Hutchinson botched two good chances.

The first came from a Dean Heffernan cross, which he failed to hold.

Moments later, Gumprecht threaded a pass into the box for the striker, but his left-footed strike from close range went straight to Moss, who deflected it wide.

Knights midfielder Bright regularly found space in the front third but three of his efforts on goal missed the target, including a 35th minute unmarked header from about eight metres out.

Bright did hit the mark with a left-foot bullet from an acute angle in the 62nd minute, but Mariners goalkeeper Vukovic superbly tipped it over the cross-bar.

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