A late goal to Tom Rogic was the difference as Brisbane Roar fell to a 1-0 loss against Central Coast Mariners in their final pre-season game at Stockland Park on the Sunshine Coast.
With just two weeks remaining until round one of the Hyundai A-League 2012/13 season, Roar coach Rado Vidosic and Mariners boss Graham Arnold both opted for their strongest available line-ups and it showed as there was little separating the sides in the first 45 minute period.
Early in the fixture, Rogic was already the stand-out for the visitors with three clear-cut chances – shooting one just high, one too wide while his third, volleyed effort was easily saved by Brisbane goalkeeper Michael Theo.
The Roar’s best chance of the opening half fell in the 37th minute after Ben Halloran was tripped 25 yards out from goal and last season’s Hyundai A-League Johnny Warren medallist Thomas Broich stood over the free-kick.
The German midfielder found the head of Paartalu, who nodded back for youngster Nick Fitzgerald to force a quick reaction from Mat Ryan in the Mariners goal.
The ball fell to Paartalu again and this time he crossed to Matt Smith but the Roar skipper’s header failed to hit the target from inside the six yard box.
While the Mariners controlled the play in the first half, the Brisbane club were more dominant in the second, happy to hold their opposition to the occasional counter-attack.
New recruit Halloran showed his worth with a few glimpses of excellence, most notably a defence-splitting ball to Thomas Broich through the middle of the park and dazzling run down the right wing before a timely cross into the penalty area.
While it looked like the match was heading for a stalemate, the Mariners took the lead through their most likely source, Rogic shrugging off the challenge of Paartalu to slide the ball past Theo with ten minutes remaining.
A late free-kick from Berisha and a powerful shot from Paartalu couldn’t trouble Ryan in the dying stages of the match and Central Coast held on to seal the win.
Brisbane Roar 0
Central Coast Mariners 1 (Tom ROGIC 80’)
Sunday, 23 September 2012
Stockland Stadium, Sunshine Coast
Local kick-off: 3pm
Referee: Chris Beath
Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael THEO (gk), 2. Matt SMITH (c), 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 4. Matt JURMAN, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 7. Besart BERISHA, 11. Ben HALLORAN, 17. Mitch NICHOLS (8. Massimo MURDOCCA 73’), 22. Thomas BROICH (18. Luke BRATTAN 78’), 24. Nick FITZGERALD (16. DO Dong-Hyun 57’)
Substitutes not used: 14. Rocky VISCONTE, 19. Jack HINGERT, 20. Matt ACTON (gk), 29. Yuji TAKAHASHI
Yellow cards: FRANJIC 87’
Red cards: Nil
Central Coast Mariners: 1. Mat RYAN (gk), 3. Josh ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 7. John HUTCHINSON (c), 8. Adriano PELLEGRINO (18. Nick MONTGOMERY 69’), 10. Tom ROGIC, 12. Troy HEARFIELD (11. Oliver BOZANIC 58’), 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 16. Trent SAINSBURY, 19. Mitchell DUKE (2. Daniel McBREEN 69’)
Substitutes not used: 5. Zac ANDERSON, 20. David BRADASEVIC (gk)
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil