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Sydney FC squeeze out Mariners in A-League

AAP logoAAP 8/01/2017 Adrian Warren

Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold hailed the character of his unbeaten A-League leaders after they scraped past Central Coast 3-2 in Gosford on Sunday.

Sydney, who lost centre-back Matt Jurman during the week to South Korean side Suwon Bluewings, had his replacement and stand-in skipper Sebastian Ryall limp off with a hamstring injury in the first five minutes.

Brazilian Bobo scored twice and substitute David Carney notched a contentious late winner.

The Mariners became the first team this season to score twice against Sydney and came from two down on Sunday to level at 2-2, despite a missed penalty from Fabio Ferreira.

"I think we showed fantastic character with the reshuffle when Seb Ryall went off, with Brandon O'Neill having to go back to stopper and the early replacement," Arnold said.

"We were rapt with the three points, it's a tough place to play."

Carney's 77th-minute stooping header at Central Coast Stadium had Mariners players and coaching staff screaming for an offside call.

"From where I was sitting I thought it was (offisde). The replay confirmed that," Mariners coach Paul Okon said.

"But it's really irrelevant, because what I think or what I say now doesn't change anything."

Bobo''s first brace for Sydney came five minutes either side of halftime.

Sydney created the bulk of the clear cut chances before the break, with Filip Holosko spurning two good early opportunities.

"We were probably our own worst enemies there for the first half," Arnold said.

"We totally dominated and we should have scored more than one goal.

"We concede a soft goal and that gave the Mariners momentum.

"You've got to give the Mariners full credit for the way they played.

Bobo pounced on a flick header from Holosko, controlling the ball with his first touch and drilling the ball home with his second.

He doubled the visitors' advantage from a close-range tap in after a pass from impressive playmaker Milos Ninkovic.

Roy O'Donovan pulled one back with a 65th-minute header and Ferreira blazed a spot kick over the bar seven minutes later after Rhyan Grant fouled substitute Connor Pain.

"I thought Roy was our penalty taker, we're not used to getting penalties," Okon said after only the Mariners' second spot kick of the campaign.

Pain and fellow substitute Liam Rose were at the forefront of the Mariners revival, adding thrust and menace to their attack.

Scott Galloway levelled after 76 minutes, but the home fans' joy lasted only a minute.

Josh Brillante replaced Ryall, with O'Neill shifted from midfield to centre-back.

Brillante picked up a yellow card in the second half and will miss next week's Sydney derby after collecting his fifth booking of the season.

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