Central Coast Mariners miss a chance to return to second spot in the A-League in falling to a 3-1 defeat to the lowly Perth Glory.
Two early penalties and an own goal given with an attacking player offside were eventful but what mattered was that Perth Glory won to get off the bottom of the A-League table and the Central Coast Mariners missed a chance to go second.
The Glory beat the Mariners 3-1 at nib Stadium on Saturday night to climb ahead of the Melbourne Heart at the foot of the table and Central Coast ended the night below Western Sydney in third spot, but equal on points.
It was an eventful evening from the outset with retiring Glory captain Jacob Burns earning a penalty that Steve McGarry converted in the eighth minute, but Burns gave one away with the Mariners scoring through Nick Fitzgerald 10 minutes later.
The 1-1 deadlock was broken in the 71st minute with a Glory goal to Sidnei and then the home side wrapped up the 3-1 win with an own goal awarded to Zach Anderson despite Sidnei coming from an offside position to force him into a mistake.
The Glory dominated the opening minutes and then drew a mistake out of Mariners captain John Hutchinson in his 200th appearance in the A-League.
After a cross from Chris Harold that ended up on target and needing a good save from Liam Reddy, Burns was brought down by Hutchinson and, even though it was soft, debutant referee Stephen Lucas awarded the penalty.
McGarry had no trouble scoring to put the Glory one-goal up after just eight minutes.
Ten minutes later there was almost a carbon copy down the other end.
Burns was the recipient of the penalty for the Glory and then he was the one penalised for giving one away on Kim Seung-Yong.
Again it was soft and minimal contact, but at least it was a consistent call and Nick Fitzgerald levelled the scores.
It was the home team who continued to look the most dangerous and that eventually led to a go-ahead goal in the 71st minute.
Brazilian Sidnei was the man to score for the Glory and put the home side 2-1 up and that became 3-1 in the 85th minute with a moment of controversy.
Mariners defender Anderson was challenged by Sidnei who came from an offside position, but Anderson’s attempted clearance ended up in the back of the net and wasn’t called back.
Glory coach Kenny Lowe was equally emotional and happy that his team found something to end their home season on a high and to farewell Burns in perfect fashion.
“I thought the spirit, attitude and desire to actually make a statement was fantastic, and I’m pleased for the players,” Lowe said.
“They have worked ever so hard and they have been hammered. Burnsy gets hammered, but he has finished on a high and I don’t think he could have written it himself. Even I felt quite emotion there when he came off.”
Mariners coach Phil Moss wasn’t making any excuses for his team’s performance but has vowed to bounce back next weekend in Brisbane against the Roar.
“There are reasons probably behind it, but I’m not going to come out with any excuses. Everyone knows what we’ve had lately but there are no excuses inside our dressing room,” Moss said.
“I’ve got no doubt we will bounce back this week because there is a lot of fight in that dressing room, and pride that is hurting because we know we are much better than what we showed out there.”