Mitchell Duke gave Phil Moss a memorable debut game as manager of Central Coast last weekend. In his first home game, Moss' Mariners could not provide a similar thrill as Melbourne Victory held out for a 0-0 draw at Bluetongue Stadium before just 5787 in Gosford. Two balls did find their way into the net but Daniel McBreen was judged offside in the build up to what looked like an 88th minute winner. Mitch Nichols' 14th minute goal was also called off, though he looked to have been onside for the visitors.
The Victory had the share of the game's chances with Mark Milligan and Archie Thompson providing some of the better opportunities on goal with the former smacking the crossbar just before halftime. Nathan Coe made a nice save on a Marcos Flores header in the first half but Liam Reddy's save on Gui Finkler's 80th minute shot kept the Mariners level, as well. Neither side was at its best but the game proved compelling nonetheless. Four yellow cards were issued in the first half as both sides battled to wrest control of a match that could have sent the Victory has high as second and the Mariners as high as third. Instead, Melbourne are tied for third with Newcastle Jets and Sydney FC while Central Coast slip into sixth.
Both sides play at home next weekend with the Mariners hosting Sydney on Saturday December 7 and the Victory hosting Newcastle on Sunday December 8.
Central Coast Mariners: Reddy; Rose, Griffiths, Sainsbury, Roux; McGlinchey, Hutchinson, Caceras (Montgomery 73'); Flores (Sterjovski 85'); Simon (McBreen 61'), Duke
Unused subs: Pasfield, Seip
Melbourne Victory: Coe; Traore, Contreras, Ansell, Geria; Mahazi, Milligan; Thompson (Finkler 75'), Barbarouses; Troisi, Nichols (Pain 66')
Unused subs: Thomas, Jeggo, Galloway