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Mariners end home drought with Glory win

NZN 24/11/2016 Matt Encarnacion

Central Coast have claimed their first A-League win at home since New Year's Eve with a dynamic 2-0 victory over an injury-hit Perth.

Harry Ascroft volleyed home in the first half and then Roy O'Donovan sealed all three points in the second, temporarily sending the Mariners into the top six.

Playing in front of their home fans in Gosford for just the second time this season, a thrill-seeking Mariners outfit put on a show on Thursday night for the small but vocal crowd of 5296.

Connor Pain and Trent Buhagiar led an energetic Mariners performance that belied their four-day turnaround and justified coach Paul Okon's decision to make four changes to his line-up.

Instead, it was the Glory who looked lethargic, their horror night kicking off with the loss of Socceroo Josh Risdon to a knee injury in the warm-up and Diego Castro limping off early.

Right-back Rhys Williams in particular had no answer for Pain's speed, with a handful of chances fired in from the boot of the former Melbourne Victory player.

Buhagiar almost drew a penalty out of Williams in the 26th minute, while Pain's speed also lured Liam Reddy out of his box, but his shot was cleared off the line by Joseph Mills.

The Glory conceded three yellow cards in the opening half as they simply had no match for the Mariners' pace, and the pressure eventually told on the scoreboard.

Ascroft took advantage of a scramble in the box to volley home a Nick Montgomery corner with his second touch, registering his fourth goal of his A-League career.

Perth attempted to pick up the pace in the second half but any hopes were dashed when O'Donovan slotted in a miscue from Montgomery in the 63rd minute.

The victory, just their second at Gosford in 14 games, elevates the Mariners past Western Sydney into sixth spot, while the Glory could fall as low as fifth by the end of the weekend.

It was also the Mariners' first clean sheet in 36 games.

Glory coach Kenny Lowe refused to use the early injuries as an excuse for the slow start.

"You've still got to cope with that," he said post-game.

"We came out a bit sluggish. We had a chance early on that we didn't quite take. But I thought we huffed and puffed, to be truthful."

Mariners coach Paul Okon was delighted with the way his team responded after such a short turnaround, having just played Newcastle on Sunday.

His changes included youngsters Buhagiar and 19-year-old midfielder Adam Berry.

"We brought some boys in who we thought could give us that energy," he said.

"Everyone knows when you throw young boys in, they run, they have no fear. Fortunately for us, they're two boys that can play football. I'm happy with that decision."

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