CENTRAL Coast Mariners defeated Lake Macquarie Roosters 3-0 after a double from Daniel McBreen, and a headed goal from trialist Brent Griffiths direct from a corner sealed the win.
Post match, Mariners coach Graham Arnold said the game was valuable to give game time to a number of A-League players, as well as many of the clubs’ emerging stars.
“It was important we got minutes in the legs of some of the players who haven’t played as much this pre-season,” he said.
“This was an important match for players like Adam Kwasnik, who has just returned from China, and Brad Porter who is returning from injury.
“Sam Gallagher and Trent Sainsbury have also just come back from the U20 World Cup in Colombia, so it was an important match for them, too.
“And we gave opportunities to a number of our youth boys who we believe will contribute to the success of the club, not only this season but in seasons to come.”
McBreen opened the scoring with a venomous volley in the first half after attacker Kwabena Appiah-Kubi did well to cut the ball back, while Griffiths met a well-weighted corner with a stern header to make it 2-nil at the break.
Lake Macquarie, featuring former Central Coast Mariners stars Damien Brown and Andre Gumprecht in their line-up, as well as the NSL experienced Danny Burt offered plenty on their home ground, coming close to pegging the Mariners back on a number of occasions.
However deep into the second half, McBreen’s strong run into the box was rewarded when he was felled and referee Andrew Higgins pointed to the spot.
Capping a strong display, the Mariners captain on the night stepped up, sending the ‘keeper the wrong way to earn himself a double and round out the scoring.
With Appiah-Kubi taken from the field with cramp 20 minutes from time, Arnold opted not to go to his bench, instead playing the remainder of the match with ten men.
Central Coast Mariners 3 (McBreen 20’, 75', B. Griffiths 35’)
Lake Macquarie Roosters 0
Macquarie Field, Speers Point
Referee: Andrew Higgins
Assistant Referees: Ryan Gallagher, Glen Peterkin