Mariners cancel out Orlando's magic

A piece of individual magic from marquee Orlando Engelaar proved a mere highlight for Melbourne Heart FC on Sunday afternoon, as the Red and White succumbed to Central Coast Mariners at AAMI Park.

A piece of individual magic from marquee Orlando Engelaar proved a mere highlight for Melbourne Heart FC on Sunday afternoon, as the Red and White succumbed to Central Coast Mariners at AAMI Park.

Despite an incredible goal from Engelaar from inside his own half - arguably the best goal of the Hyundai A-League 2013-14 season - the Mariners equalised in first half stoppage time through Kim Seung-Yong and sealed the match in the 78th minute through substitute Bernie Ibini.

The result was disappointing for John van-t Schip-s side, with the Red and White enjoying 56 per cent possession and territorial advantage over their opponents, but lacked a killer instinct in front of goal and were ultimately punished by a well-structured Mariners outfit.

Keen to catch the Mariners - who arrived in Melbourne on Friday following a gruelling trip to China - off guard early in the contest, Melbourne Heart carved an early chance as attacking spearhead David Williams sprayed the game-s first chance wide in the fifth minute.

But the match became congested as combative Mariners captain Nick Montgomery and his central partner Anthony Caceras did their best to stop Melbourne Heart-s energetic pair of Massimo Murdocca and Jonatan Germano from entering into any rhythm.

Williams again proved Central Coast-s chief agitator, earning a chance in the 20th minute by pouncing on a Mariners- mistake, but rifled a shot high over the bar.

In the 28th minute Mate Dugandzic was played through into the box but his dangerous square cross couldn-t be tapped home by Ramsay even though Mariners ‘keeper Liam Reddy had been beaten by the winger-s square ball.

Melbourne Heart continued to try and wrestle dominance in the game when Jason Hoffman-s cross deflected off an opponent and struck the crossbar, but that was the least of Reddy-s worries as soon after in the 34th minute Engelaar scored one of the goals of the season.

Receiving a loose ball inside the centre circle following a Murdocca tackle, Engelaar noticed Reddy off his line and executed a precise 50-metre lob over the back-peddling custodian.

Engelaar-s fourth goal this season will remain an A-League highlight for years to come and ensured that every time he touched the ball anywhere on the pitch, the crowd implored him to shoot.

Melbourne Heart looked to double its lead as Ben Garuccio whipped in a vicious low ball across the middle of Central Coast-s box with Williams and Dugandzic both narrowly missing connection.

Just before the half was about to end in stoppage time, Seung-Yong levelled with a neat side-footed finish after being played through by Matt Simon.

In the second half, the game continued to be a hard-fought contest in midfield, with the first good chance falling to Williams who forced a smart one-handed stop from Reddy in the 58th minute, after being put in on goal by a Robbie Wieleart.

Harry Kewell came on to boost the Red and White-s hopes for a win in the 64th minute but he was instantly greeted by the head of towering Mariner Zac Anderson, the two clashing heads, which typified the ferocity of the contest.

That didn-t faze Kewell who had two headed chances on goal deflected out for corners in the 72nd and 75th minutes respectively.

Despite dominating the second half, Melbourne Heart went behind in the 78th minute after Ibini-s cool finish after he was played through on goal following Reddy-s goal kick.

Central Coast sprung to life after the goal and would have gone two goals up in the 84th minute if it weren-t for a quick low save from Andrew Redmayne in goals when Nick Fitzgerald looked to finish off some neat build up work by his team.

Van-t Schip-s side battled admirably in the match-s closing stages by continually push Central Coast to defend deep within their half, yet could not find the breakthrough to take a point from a game it needed to win to stay in the finals hunt.

Match Details Hyundai A- League Round 24 Sunday, 23 March 2014 Melbourne Heart FC 1 (Orlando Engelaar 35-) Central Coast Mariners FC 2 (Kim Seung-yong 45 + 2, Berni Ibini 77-) Attendance: 5,418 Referee: Hiroyuki KIMURA

Melbourne Heart FC Starting XI: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 3. Robbie WIELART, 4. Orlando ENGELAAR, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 7.Iain RAMSAY (10.Harry KEWELL 64-), 13. Jonatan GERMANO (21. Stefan MAUK 81-) , 15. David WILLIAMS, 17. Jason HOFFMAN, 19. Benjamin GARRUCIO, 23. Mate DUGANDZIC, 24. Patrick KISNORBO Substitutes not used: 20. Tando VELHAPI (GK), 6.Patrick GERHARDT, 22. Nicholas KALMAR Yellow Cards: Jonatan Germano 34- Red Cards: Nil

Central Coast Mariners FC Starting XI: 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Marcel SEIP, 5. Zachary ANDERSON, 8. Nick MONTGOMERY ©, 11. Nick FITZGERALD, 12. Liam REDDY (GK), 17. Anthony CACERAS, 19 Matt SIMON (9. Mitchell DUKE 74-) , 21. Mile STERJOVSKI (20. Bernie IBINI 66-), 25. Eddy BOSNAR, 26. Kim SEUNG-YONG (7. John HUTCHINSON 55-) Substitutes not used: 1. Justin PASFIELD, 15. Storm ROUX, Yellow Cards: Nick Fitzgerald 59- Red Cards: Nil