Mariners set record in win over Perth - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mariners set record in win over Perth

By Philip Henderson 10/12/2006 09:27:57 PM Comments (0)

Central Coast coach Lawrie McKinna branded his back four "outstanding" after the Mariners kept an A-League record fourth-straight clean sheet in their 1-0 win over Perth Glory.

Adam Kwasnik's 12th minute goal was enough to seal the Mariners' sixth win of the season at a wind-swept Central Coast Stadium, although McKinna was upset with a shocking John Hutchinson miss early in the second half which would have killed off the contest.

Victory keeps Central Coast well placed in the top four and within two points of second-placed Sydney FC, while it all but ends Perth's finals hopes.

Danny Vukovic kept his fourth-straight clean sheet - a first in the A-League's short history - but with the Mariners goalkeeper only required to make two good saves, McKinna left most of the applause for his defenders - particularly Alex Wilkinson who the coach spruiked as a Socceroos contender.

"Getting a clean sheet is just a credit to the boys," said McKinna, who was forced to make an early change to his back four when veteran Tony Vidmar (calf injury) was replaced by Andrew Clark in the 13th minute.

"Wilko, Viddy, Clarke, (Wayne) O'Sullivan, and (Damien) Brown, they've been outstanding the last four weeks, especially Browny at the back.

"They've been working brilliantly ... Wilko's not done himself any harm for the national team."

The Mariners looked well in control throughout the match despite losing Vidmar, Nik Mrdja (heel) and Adam Kwasnik (leg) to injuries. McKinna said only Vidmar was doubtful for next week.

Perth coach Ron Smith, whose seventh-placed Glory needed to win to stay in the finals hunt, admitted his side lacked urgency in the second half.

Smith also defended his decision to leave form striker Jamie Harnwell on the bench and keep former Socceroo Stan Lazaridis in cotton wool for Thursday's game with Sydney FC at Aussie Stadium.

Harnwell looked dangerous late in the match with his height in the blustery conditions.

"It's easy after the event," said Smith.

"I didn't know it was going to be a hurricane wind, and I wanted to see how Luka (Glavas) would go.

"And it was a question of we've got two games to play within four days, so I've tried to share some of the workload around for the players we've got.

"(Lazaridis) might have played today but I doubt he would have lasted the 90 minutes. He and I both agreed ... let's aim for Thursday.

"He should be fresh as by then."

Stewart Petrie nearly put the home side in front after nine minutes when his lobbed shot bounced off the crossbar.

Soon after, though, it was Petrie's pin-point perfect cross which supplied the eventual winner for the Mariners.

Kwasnik muscled his way in front of Perth's Naum Sekulovski and with an outstretched left boot guided the ball past 'keeper Tom Tomich and into the net.

Leo Bertos had Perth's best chance in the 15th when his one-on-one strike against Vukovic was palmed clear by the Mariners 'keeper.

The Mariners should have doubled their advantage in the 59th when Petrie's skidding cross found Hutchinson alone in the box. But with the goal beckoning, the substitute forward bunted the ball well wide of the target from five metres.

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