Central Coast Mariners vs the Brisbane Roar
Besart Berisha head butts in a heated exchange after a tackle on number four, Pedj Bojic. Photo: Brendan Esposito
CENTRAL COAST Mariners ended one of the A-League's longest hoodoos after claiming their first home win against Brisbane Roar.
Tom Rogic scored an 81st-minute winner and had an important role in the Mariners' first goal to prove that he's no longer just a star of the future, but perhaps already one today.
The hosts started the match knowing they had to do what no other Mariners team had done before and topple the Roar. A Bernie Ibini goal after only three minutes gave Graham Arnold's men early hope. Rogic had found space on the counter-attack and put in a pin-point pass to Daniel McBreen, who failed to control the ball in his stride. The veteran striker recovered, however, to find Pedj Bojic down the right flank and the defender whipped in a deep cross to the unmarked Ibini who headed the ball past the outstretched arms of Michael Theo.
Rogic nearly doubled the Mariners lead in the 19th minute when he was put into space in the box by Josh Rose and unleashed a stinging left-foot shot that rattled the upright.
Brisbane began to dictate possession after escaping the scare, but the champions struggled to unlock the Mariners defence. Massimo Murdocca eventually created the Roar's first chance with a long-range shot that sailed wide of the goal.
Midway through the first half, Besart Berisha and Nick Montgomery tangled and the Mariners midfielder was ruled to have fouled the Albanian striker. A tussle followed and the Mariners complained that Berisha stomped on the English midfielder while he was getting up off the ground.
The Roar levelled the match in the 32nd minute through a fierce Murdocca drive from outside the box. The midfielder scored his third A-League goal with a shot from 20 metres that beat Mat Ryan at the near post.
Though, Berisha nearly soured the Roar's celebrations immediately after the kick-off. The Albanian striker fouled Trent Sainsbury and appeared to have attempted to head-butt John Hutchinson during the skirmish. While he escaped with a yellow card, he received a spray from coach Rado Vidosic.
''[I told him to] Take a drink and cool down. What can you tell him?'' Vidosic said. ''He's very passionate and if things don't go our way sometimes he reacts a little bit silly. He should try and control his temper as much as anybody else.''
Brisbane started the second half more composed and controlled possession in the first 10 minutes. The lively Mitch Nicholls came on for Henrique and wearing down the Mariners became their goal for the second period. Though, the hosts were happy to sit deep to contain the Roar and hit them on the counter.
Late in the game, Bojic made a darting run down the right flank and looked to have skipped his way into the box before Matt Jurman fouled the Mariners defender. The Roar's defence failed to regather from the set-piece and poor marking allowed the Mariners to snatch the lead late in the game. Michael McGlinchey latched onto a looping Oliver Bozanic free kick and headed the ball back into the middle of the box for Rogic to fire a volley from close range.
The Roar's lapse in defence bore the brunt of their coach's criticism, who put his players on notice to take responsibility for their poor form.
''It was just kindergarten stuff,'' Vidosic said. ''Players need to have a good look at themselves. I can't go out there, they all got instructions what they need to do and if I tell you to mark him, that's all that you need to do. You stay with him, you follow him. If he goes to toilet, you go with him to toilet, it's simple as that.''