Mariners on a high as they surge ahead - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mariners on a high as they surge ahead

By Sam Lienert 21/10/2007 08:53:25 PM Comments (0)

Central Coast striker Sasho Petrovski says his team's confidence is booming after signing Socceroos star John Aloisi, then notching a last-gasp win to open a handy buffer at the top of the A-League ladder.

Petrovski scored in injury time to clinch a thrilling and valuable 2-1 away victory for the Mariners over Wellington Phoenix.

It put his side three points clear at the top of the table, ahead of second-placed Adelaide, third-placed Newcastle and fourth-placed Melbourne.

Adelaide and Melbourne both had wins this weekend, United downing Sydney 1-0 at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday night and the Victory defeating bottom-placed Perth Glory 2-1 at Telstra Dome.

Newcastle and Queensland drew 1-1 in Newcastle on Friday night, causing the Jets to lose some ground to the Mariners in the battle for top position.

Petrovski had some luck going his way, with New Zealand defender Jeremy Christie messing up a backpass to set him up with a straightforward chance, after their match appeared headed for a draw.

"It was just one of those goals out of desperation," the striker said.

"It was a counterattack that we were on and I got the ball up front and two defenders tried to close me down.

"They got the ball off me but the backpass played to the keeper didn't make it, I picked it up got around him and put it in."

It was a relief, after he had sprayed a penalty shot wide of the net earlier in the half, after the two sides went to halftime at 1-1.

Petrovski said it was a crucial result, with injury and illness having threatened to slow down the Mariners' early season momentum.

"It was very important because we've got a few injuries at the moment and a few people were playing sick, guys on the bench were carrying injuries, to get this result is a good test of the depth on our team," he said.

"The coach would like to have everyone on deck and everything rolling smoothly like it did in the first round, but in the second round we're trying to keep it together."

He said Friday's signing of 31-year-old Socceroos striker John Aloisi was a huge boost, particularly given the uncertainty over whether Nik Mrdja will play again this season.

"It will be massive to play with him up front," Petrovski said.

"All the lads have lifted and can't wait for him to arrive, it boosts our confidence as we try to win the championship."

Aloisi will make his A-League debut against Sydney FC next Sunday.

Petrovski said his addition to the squad contributed to a confidence in the Central Coast squad about what they could achieve this season.

"We should feel confident and we should walk on with our heads held high, what we've done at the moment no other team is doing it ... we were down to our bare bones this game and we got three points," he said.

Fifth-placed Queensland are still well in touch with the top four, only two points adrift, but sixth-placed Sydney are four points off the pace, with their loss to Adelaide a worrying fourth defeat in six matches at home so far this season.

The Phoenix are now six points out of the top four, while winless Perth are in desperate territory, a further three points back at the foot of the ladder.

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