The Central Coast Mariners came agonisingly close to scoring a third Hyundai A-League win in succession against Melbourne Victory at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford on Saturday night.
The two teams played out a pulsating 0-0 draw after the Mariners came so close to scoring two times within 10 seconds in the 29th minute of the first half.
The drama started when young Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas fumbled a shot from Michael McGlinchey.
The ball looked certain to cross the line before an outstanding clearance from Rodrigo Vargas. The ball then fell to Daniel McBreen who headed the ball on to the underside of the crossbar.
The ball bounced and was cleared by Thomas. McBreen and several other Mariners players thought the ball had crossed the line before it was cleared.
But replays showed the entire ball did not cross the line with assistant referee Scott Edeling and referee Strebre Delovski correct not to award a goal.
That amazing goalmouth scramble was the highlight of a first half the home side dominated for long periods.
While they did not create any clear-cut chances before the 29th minute, the Mariners were full of running and put the Victory defence under pressure.
Young striker Bernie Ibini had a low shot saved in the seventh minute and McBreen had a header saved in the 28th minute.
With Central Coast dominating field position and possession for much of the first stanza, Melbourne was restricted to attacking on the break and had a great chance to take a shock lead in the 40th minute. Defender Matthew Kemp exchanged passes with Marco Rojas before a heavy final touch meant Kemp failed to get a shot on target.
There was plenty of action early in the second half. Recalled Melbourne striker Daniel Allsopp had a shot well saved in the 49th minute and within a minute there was a good chance at the other end of the field when Oliver Bozanic had a low strike well saved for the Mariners.
Central Coast’s best moment of the second half came in the 80th minute when McBreen headed over the bar from close range after a pinpoint cross from Oliver Bozanic.
The home team came close again with only three minutes to play when replacement Troy Hearfield flicked the ball over the crossbar after a good low cross from Joshua Rose.
With only seconds to play McBreen then watched on as his powerful header from a corner went just wide.
Central Coast 0
Melbourne Victory 0
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