FULL TIME: 2-2 MARINERS & CITY DRAW.
A superb late strike by Marcin Budzinski has denied the Mariners their first A-League win in seven attempts.
When Central Coast keeper Ben Kennedy saved a Ross McCormack shot from close range in the 85th minute, it looked like we would hold on.
But a minute later Budzinski intercepted a clearing ball from defence and drove home a low shot from long range.
Melbourne City managed to tie up the game 2-2 despite having only 10 men for most of the match, when Harrison Delbridge was sent off for a nasty tackle on Blake Powell.
The Mariners took an early lead when captain Alan Baro headed home a ricochet off the crossbar in the 13 minute - his first goal of the season.
But City striker Ross McCormack pegged it back in the 41st minute for his 13th goal of the season.
Post-match, Coach Paul Okon said the Mariners had their depth tested, missing more than half-a-dozen senior players and contesting their third game in nine days.
“The effort was outstanding given it was… such a short space of time,” Okon said. “We probably had too many players out there who couldn’t go the distance, so we were forced to make changes too early. And they were able to bring on fresh legs at a time where we were running out of petrol.”
While the coach suggested patience was the order of the day for Spanish recruit Asdrubal, who missed a huge chance to out the Mariners 3-1 up in the 67th minute.
“He’s still trying to get game time into his legs. Unfortunately he missed 4-6 weeks after the Sydney game where we felt he was really starting to contribute in the way we expected him to. It should have gone in, but we still have confidence in him that he will score goals for us.”
Wamberal boy Laclhan Wales also continued his rapid development as an A-League player against City. The 20 year old took all of the Mariners’ corners and penalty shots before coming off in the 76th minute, setting up both goals.
90': 5 minutes of injury time for the Mariners to get back the lead. Official attendance - 6,263 people.
86': GOAL CITY - WHAT A STRIKE BY BUDZINSKI! The Mariners clear the corner but he brings it back and drives home a low shot from long range. Referee Adam Kersey originally overruled the goal due to offside, but the VAR shows no one was blocking Kenendy's view of the shot. 2-2.
76': SUB MARINERS - 20-year-old Wamberal boy Wales comes off to a standing ovation, after setting up both his team's goals so far. Rowles comes on in his place. 2-1 Mariners.
70': CHANCE CITY - McCormack finds Fitzgerald deep in the box, and he gets around Roux and slides a shot along the ground from an angle. It beats Kennedy but is just wide of the goals. 2-1 Mariners.
67': CHANCE MARINERS - Jakobsen tries to head away an incoming kick but instead knocks it right into Asdrubal's path. He charges towards goal but hesitates and takes too long to shoot, and the ball trickles harmlessly into Bouzanis' hands.
65': Brattan has a shot with his free from that yellow card, and hit Wales right on the shoulder. He's down for a minute but stays out there. 2-1 Mariners.
64': YELLOW CARD/SUB MARINERS - Hiariej turns a foul for a tackle on Brattan into a yellow card, after kicking the ball away and being penalised for time wasting. He gestures to Okon on the bench to say he's done regardless, and is subbed off for Liam Rose.
While Bingham comes on for Appiah.
57': CHANCE CITY - McCormack looks to double his score with a set kick from beyond the box at the eastern end, but it's just a bit too high. 2-1 Mariners.
50': GOAL MARINERS! We've got back the lead after Wales uses the wind brilliantly send the corner into Powell, whose shot hits the crossbar. For the second time this game the Mariners score off a crossbar ricochet, with McGing heading it in. 2-1 Mariners lead!
HALF TIME: 1-all Mariners & City
It's a windy day in Gosford - 42km/h to be exact - but City's still managed to suck all the wind out of the Mariners sails.
Ross McCormack struck in the 41st minute to level the scores, denying the home side a half time lead that would've been a just reward for effort, after they did most of the running and created plenty of opportunities.
Earlier, Central Coast Captain Alan Baro scored his first goal of the season after heading home a ball that ricocheted off the crossbar.
While City will play the second half with only ten men, after defender Harrison Delbridge was sent off for a vicious tackle on Blake Powell.
41' GOAL CITY: That's silenced the home crowd - With just minutes before half time, Jamieson sets up McCormack, who fires past Kennedy into the bottom left-hand corner of the net at the Brisbane Water end. With the goal, the City striker takes the A-League record for least number of matches taken to score 13 goals in a rookie season. 1-1.
36': CHANCES - City striker McCormack controls the ball near the inner box, and his shot heads straight for Mariners goalie Kennedy who knocks it away with both hands.
Appiah quickly takes it down the other end, and after a few attempts to set up a shot Hiariej fires from beyond the box. Like Melling's before it, the Dutchman's attempt is just a bit too high, but what a goal that would've been! 1-0.
32': CHANCE CITY - A corner from the Western side gets carried by the wind and skims off the pack. It finds Atkinson in space, whose shot is off target. 1-0 Mariners, while Powell is back up and running after that earlier challenge from Delbridge.
30': CHANCE MARINERS - A cross from McGing from the eastern wing looks to set up Asdrubal from point blank range, but City keeper Bouzanis is onto it and the Spanish striker crashes into him as he saves the ball. We're making all the plays at the moment, and lead 1-0.
26: RED CARD - Blake Powell is down and looks badly hurt after a tough tackle from Delbridge. The Mariners fans bay for blood and referee Adam Kersey obliges. That was a nasty challenge!
21': CHANCE MARINERS - Powell sends a surgical pass between two City players, and finds Wales on a run down the Western wing. Wales has a shot from the edge of the box under pressure under pressure metres too high and wide of the left-hand side of the goal. The wind's still carrying them! 1-0 Mariners.
16': CHANCE MARINERS - Melling expertly dispossess Malik and streams down the field, takes a flying shot from 25 metres out. It sails over the crossbar.
13' GOAL MARINERS: Wales takes a set piece from just beyond the box. He sends the ball flying into the pack and City defender Delbridge almost heads home an own goal. it hits the crossbar before Mariners captain Alan Baro heads in the rebound. 1-0 in favour of the home side.
10' CHANCES: Appiah finds Powell with a back-heel outside the box, and he finds Asdrubal right in front of the net. From one metre out, Asdrubal flicks it back looking for a teammate, but he only finds City defenders.
City takes the ball down the ground quickly, and Arani sends a pinpoint pass to McCormack. it ricochets up off his thigh before being saved by Kennedy. 0-0.
8': Mariners have started promisingly here - a couple of build-ups through good passing chains that haven't quite amounted to scoring opportunities. 0-0.
0' - KICK OFF: The wind will present a challenge in this match - it's blowing from West to East right across the ground to start the game.