Central Coast edge out struggling Sydney FC

ANGELA HABASHY
Last updated 04:20 19/01/2014

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A Mile Sterjovski rocket has ensured Sydney FC endured their fifth consecutive winless week in the A-League, with the Central Coast Mariners downing the Sky Blues 1-0 at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.

Sterjovski's 58th minute strike was enough to ensure the three points, lifting the defending champions to third on the ladder while Sydney sit in seventh.

Both teams came out on the attack firing a handful of strikes in the opening stages.

Nicky Carle, back from suspension, got things started when he went for goal in the first minute but shot wide.

The Mariners returned fire moments later with Storm Roux threatening before a Daniel McBreen strike was saved off the line by Sydney's Corey Gameiro, who chested it to safety.

Several golden chances were to follow for the Mariners with Josh Rose, Matt Simon and Nick Fitzgerald finding themselves one-on-one with Sydney keeper Vedran Janjetovic.

Rose made a bustling run down the left and drew a great save form the gloveman.

Simon could also have put the visitors ahead but headed wide before Fitzgerald caught Janjetovic off his line, but the keeper needn't have scrambled back with the shot going wide.

Ranko Despotovic had the 16,006-strong crowd on their feet when he looked to have broken the deadlock in the 30th minute but was ruled offside.

Alessandro Del Piero, Gameiro, Pedj Bojic all got in on the action with shots of their own but Ali Abbas had Sydney's best chance of the half forcing a save from Liam Reddy just before the break.

Gameiro could have put Sydney in front early in the second stanza.

But it was the visitors who opened the account in the 58th minute with Sterjovski's long-range missile, copping a deflection off Sydney's Matthew Jurman on the way and finding the back of the net.

McBreen and substitute Bernie Ibini kept Janjetovic on his toes while Sydney coach Frank Farina brought on returning striker Joel Chianese and handed new recruit Milos Dimitrijevic his debut in an effort to add fire power up font.

But in the end Sterjovski's strike was enough to ensure the result.

"I'm delighted with keeping a clean sheet but I thought our performance was probably the most complete of the season," Mariners coach Phil Moss said.

"We were away from home and I though we were very dominant tonight.

"I've got so much faith in these boys.

"It doesn't matter what's thrown at us, we find that resilience and that comes from the culture of the club and the dressing room."

Farina, on the other hand, cut a dejected figure.

"It was disappointing," Farina said.

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"We played some decent stuff in patches, we could have scored ourselves just before their deflected goal.

"But our reaction after that, I expect more. I was disappointed with that."

Central Coast Mariners 1 (Mile Sterjovski 58m) Sydney FC 0 at Allianz Stadium. Crowd: 16,006. Referee: Peter O'Leary

- AAP

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