Brisbane Roar into top-six in assured display against Mariners

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Brisbane Roar 2 defeated Central Coast Mariners 0 (Image via @brisbaneroar / Twitter)

Brisbane Roar saw off the challenge of Central Coast Mariners to earn a much needed A-League home win with two unanswered second-half goals.

A Roy O'Donovan strike on the hour and a header from defender Scott Neville seven minutes later, secured the points to ease the pressure on Roar boss Robbie Fowler.

Such is the psyche of the modern supporter, managers are ill afforded time and patience these days, and a stumbling start to the season, which saw the Roar claim only one win from their opening six games, has led to grumblings in some quarters.

Fowler made four changes from their 2-1 loss at bottom club Wellington Phoenix, with first starts for goalkeeper Jamie Young and striker Dylan Wenzel-Halls.

Both gave assured displays and played their part in what was probably Brisbane's most complete display this term.

The Roar made a positive start and was immediately on the front foot, pinning the opposition back into its own half in the opening 15 minutes.

Despite this, it was Central Coast who came closest to opening the scoring with their first meaningful attack. Korean midfielder Eun-Seon Kim burst into the penalty area and saw his vicious strike bounce off the crossbar.

As the first half wore on, the Mariners started to get more of a foothold in the game and, at half time, there wasn't too much to pick between the teams as they went in goalless.

In the second half, it was good work from young striker Wenzel-Halls, lining up on the right side of a new 4-3-3 formation employed by Fowler, that gave his side the lead on the hour mark. The 21-year-old, whose pace and energy breathed new life into the Roar attack, took on Kye Rowles and his low cross picked out Roy O'Donovan who got ahead of marker Ziggy Gordon to fire past Coast keeper Mark Birighitti.

Seven minutes later, Brisbane doubled their advantage. Jay O'Shea's corner picking out Scott Neville, who rose highest to plant his header home, to the delight of the 11,793-strong crowd.

There was still time for Central Coast to threaten but Young put out a strong hand to deny substitute Samuel Silvera, with Tommy Oar unable to convert the rebound.

Mariners boss Alen Stajcic was clearly frustrated with the match officials, earning himself a yellow card in the closing minutes for his protests. Four mariners players found themselves in the notebook of referee Ben Abrahams, with none from the Roar.

Stajcic cut a frustrated figure in his post-match press conference, citing his side's poor execution in front of goal:

'"The first ten to15 minutes Brisbane dominated, but as the half went on we started to control the game... It's very frustrating and disappointing it was there for the taking today."

Fowler was quick to praise the attitude and professionalism of goalkeeper Jamie Young, stating he had asked the 34-year-old to make someimprovements to his game in pre-season:

"We said that Jamie needed to work on his kicking and composure with a football..his attitude has been unbelievable, he's the first on the training pitch and the last off... he's deserved his chance, he looked solid and composed."

The win lifts Brisbane into the last playoff spot, in sixth, whilst Central Coast drops to eighth. The Mariners will have a bye round next week with the Roar facing a tough assignment away at Sydney FC.

SCORE: Brisbane Roar 2 – Central Coast Mariners 0

Adam Cattell is a school teacher with a passion for grassroots football. You can follow him @catter100.

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