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Central Coast Mariners heap more misery on Sydney FC

Sydney FC 0 Central Coast Mariners 1

Alessandro Del Piero is put under pressure by Nick Montgomery of the Mariners.

Alessandro Del Piero is put under pressure by Nick Montgomery of the Mariners. Photo: Getty Images

A month might be a long time in football but that doesn't mean things will change. Sometimes it means more of the same.

In December, Sydney FC ventured to Gosford full of hope but were crushed by Central Coast, the 1-0 scoreline hardly indicative of the gulf between the two sides.

Sydney played host on Saturday night but the scene was straight out of Groundhog Day. A single goal to the Mariners was enough to clinch victory and they were a class apart all night.

Corey Gameiro shows his frustration.

Corey Gameiro shows his frustration. Photo: Getty Images

Time
90.00
Team
SYD
Score
0
Team
CCM
Score
1
Sydney FC versus Central Coast Mariners FC
View Match Statistics
Players Goals Sterjovski (59min)

There is no easy way to sugar-coat this for Sydney FC fans. The malaise has returned and hopes of turning the season around are fading. The title talk is gone; now the club faces an almighty scrap just to make the finals series. This was nowhere near a fitting send-off for Brett Emerton, who received a pre-game ovation so grand that it moved his wife, Sarah, to tears.

Lowly Wellington's 5-0 hammering of Melbourne Victory has drawn them within two points of Sydney and if Adelaide defeat the Wanderers on Sunday, the Sky Blues will slip to eighth.

The inverse applies to the Mariners, who temporarily move within two points of second spot. So much for not playing their best football: they continue to round up the points, home and away. Turns out Phil Moss and those players who haven't been sold are doing quite a job.

But they might be wheeling out the barn door for a spot of shooting practice at Tuggerah this week. Central Coast should have wrapped this one up by half-time.

It began with Storm Roux in the opening minutes, who blasted his effort high and wide. Daniel McBreen's header soon after was at least on target but Corey Gameiro was on hand to clear off the line.

Josh Rose was on the end of Nick Fitzgerald's clever pass into space but he finished like a left-back: shooting low but straight into the planted foot of Vedran Janjetovic.

As the half wore on, Mile Sterjovski had a tough effort from close range, managing only to hook it into the side netting. Matt Simon also should have done much better when he only needed to get his effort on target, heading too far across goal instead.

Last but not least for the half, Fitzgerald would be left kicking himself after being put into the clear thanks to a lovely long-range pass from Trent Sainsbury. Fitzgerald seemed to miscalculate his angles, however, and despite being one-on-one with Vedran Janjetovic, ran wide and managed to shoot wider.

Sydney thought they had the lead when Alessandro Del Piero hooked a great pass to Ranko Despotovic but as the Serbian rounded Liam Reddy to score, the linesman spoiled the party by raising his flag.

Apart from that, Del Piero had a bona fide stinker. His free kick after 48 minutes summed up his night - it nearly made the second tier.

This was another errant display from the Italian, the kind that has become all too frequent of late. When the game gets played around him, he looks pedestrian. His teammates failed to play to his strengths, however, rendering him redundant. All can take a share of the blame.

More lively appeared Gameiro, who brings a spritely presence. After Despotovic did well to knock a high ball on, Gameiro was through but followed the Mariners' lead by shooting wide.

They were subsequently made to pay when Sterjovski rifled a shot from 30 yards out that took a wicked deflection off Matt Jurman's elbow, leaving Janjetovic flat-footed as the ball bounced into the net.

Frank Farina's reply was to send on new signing Milos Dimitrijevic and returning forward Joel Chianese, but neither could alter the flow, so in control were the visitors.

McBreen could have doubled their advantage midway through the half but Janjetovic - in another credible display - blocked the effort with his left foot.

That he was Sydney's best player on the night said it all.

15 comments so far

  • farina out. enough is enough

    Commenter
    mike1978
    Date and time
    January 18, 2014, 11:06PM
    • An extremely disappointing season. Abbas, Petkovic, Janjetovic and Despotovic have been consistently good.

      The rest have pretty much been average to poor.

      Not good enough.

      Commenter
      glenn2145
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      January 18, 2014, 11:34PM
      • And that's why I won't go to sydney fc games anymore. The team has no game plan and the standard is so poor. Farina was never going to work. Players average at best

        Commenter
        Tim
        Date and time
        January 18, 2014, 11:48PM
        • Maybe so..but a real fan stands by their team through hell and back.

          Commenter
          Stan
          Location
          Sydney
          Date and time
          January 19, 2014, 1:09AM
        • No strategy no shape no idea.

          Commenter
          Maradona
          Date and time
          January 19, 2014, 8:20AM
        • Agreed though i believe the talent is there but we just don't have a manager good enough to make the most of it. Hopefully Farina will be the last of Sydney FC's managerial mistakes. Can't see us getting 16,000 per game once ADP departs, more like 3,000. I won't be there either.

          Commenter
          Magnus
          Location
          Abbotsford
          Date and time
          January 19, 2014, 10:13AM
      • A team of some very talented individuals that lack leadership, discipline and direction, if they have a game plan it is not apparent, their ability to adapt during the game is missing, time for a change yet again.

        Commenter
        KOAK
        Date and time
        January 19, 2014, 7:49AM
        • We are playing like a group of amateurs, with possibly the biggest budget in the A-league. Theres is no discernible structure to our game. No change since previous management. Sky Blue supporters will follow forever, but right now it looks like the club is taking the mickey out of us. #thisisnotgoodenough.

          Commenter
          Tio
          Date and time
          January 19, 2014, 8:09AM
          • It's not how I saw the game. Sydney FC played poorly, for sure. But Central Coast weren't a lot better. Their goal was from a deflection. And they missed many obvious scoring opportunities.

            Sydney FC had a goal disallowed that looked to be valid (Robbie Slater said as much) and the ref pulled up another potential scoring opportunity for Sydney late in the match that again looked onside.

            So while Sydney FC looked flat and disorganised, Central Coast were terrible in the final third. I doubt either team would have won against decent opposition.

            Commenter
            Pete in Cronulla
            Date and time
            January 19, 2014, 8:27AM
            • SFC despite CCM having the clearer chances played well and put in a lot of effort. I cannot agree with Farina's comments that the players diid not respond when going one down. Taking Nicky Carle off didn't improve the performance in midfield. Carle is being played out of position. He is an attacking midfielder not a defensive midfielder. McFlynn played well and he made an excellent saving tackle in the first half. Sydney did have chances and deserved at least a draw. The crowd got behind the team and it was a very close game. CCM are an excellent team and the current champions. Dimitrijevic cannot be expected to instantly alter a game. Midfields rely on understanding and this comes through playing together over long period of time. Chianaese did have some half opportunities and brought pace to the forward line. SFC can still easily make the finals and while Farina may not be the world's best coach he has the team playing a lot better despite the recent losses. He lacks tactical finesse and if the season goes poorly may end up being replaced. Now is not the time to give up hope on SFC. It is a time for fans to get behind the team. A good performance against MVC will see SFC back into finals contention.

              Commenter
              EE
              Date and time
              January 19, 2014, 10:23AM

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