Matt Simon’s second half goal wasn’t enough for Central Coast Mariners to defeat Brisbane Roar in their first pre-season friendly against a Hyundai A-League opponent in Bathurst on Saturday.
Simon fired home a crisp shot from six-yards 65 minutes into the friendly at Carrington Park to bring Graham Arnold’s men to within a goal of Mike Mulvey’s charges with 25 minutes to play.
Unfortunately for Central Coast they could not complement Simon’s strike as the clock wound down, with Liam Miller’s 12th minute effort combined with Corey Brown’s well-taken 60th minute goal ensuring Brisbane won the pre-season hit-out in central western New South Wales.
The Mariners took to the field in Bathurst having endured a somewhat disrupted preparation for the friendly fixture against Roar.
Midfielder Michael McGlinchey and attacker Nick Fitzgerald only joined the squad on game day, with McGlinchey arriving late into camp following the birth of his newborn son Max, and Fitzgerald linking with the team after overcoming two days of fever.
Talented youngster Tom Slater was a late withdrawal from the travelling party after he sustained a spider bite on Friday, while left back Joshua Rose was not risked due to a niggling injury.
Brent Griffiths and Michael Neill also sat out the game due to minor injuries, while Mitchell Duke is currently in Brazil with the Socceroos.
Roar began the game brightly and took the lead early on infront of over 2,000 fans. Shane Stefanutto sent a low cross into the box, with former Manchester United midfielder Miller rushing onto the ball before sending a first-time shot into the back of the net.
Mile Sterjovski had a golden opportunity to level proceedings ten minutes later, however Roar custodian Michael Theo did well to block the former LOSC Lille man’s effort from just inside the area.
Young Roar striker Kwame Yeboah performed strongly throughout the friendly, and he rattled the side netting just three minutes into the second stanza.
Brisbane doubled their advantage on the hour mark when Corey Brown finished a neat team move through the centre of the park. Brown’s left foot shot went low under the onrushing Justin Pasfield.
It would take Central Coast just four minutes to reduce the deficit, with Simon smashing a strong right-foot shot into the back of the net following Nick Montgomery’s cutback from the goal line.
But despite an improved performance in the second stanza, the Mariners couldn’t net another goal in the final third of the fixture to secure a draw with the match-hardened Roar in Bathurst.
Central Coast Mariners 1 (Simon 64’) def by Brisbane Roar 2 (Miller 12’, Brown 60’)