The Roar were fantastic. CCM not so good.
Again Central Coast pressed hard in the opening minutes but soon ran out of ideas and steam. Again Mitch Nichols scored out of the blue. This time all the hard work was done by Massimo, and we thought he had scored until we saw the replay after the game.
It is amazing that Lawry McKinna cannot design a team that has Adrian Caceres in its starting line-up. When he came on late in the game he created the goal and set the potential for several others. But the CCM front line where not good enough.
CCM just don't look like the team that beat the Roar 2-4 early in the season. Matt Simon had a poor game, and from ground level looked quite thuggish rather than the stylish presence we became used to in the first half of the season and earned his Socceroos call up. John Hutchinson had some good touches of the ball. But loss his temper far too easily and with O'Grady and Simon was lucky not pick up a second yellow card. At half time, Hutchinson could be seen arguing with McKay, then Miller (from the bench) and then the referee - but his dangerous two feet off the ground tackle went unpunished. Even play his role in the CCM goal, Simon hacked down Miller off the ball. Reddy will also be disappointed with his save attempt.
At half time McKinna subbed Clarke, who looked strong and made some critical plays in the first half, and MacAllister, for (the Newcastle bound) Petrovski and Mrjda. And it paid immediate dividends for the Roar. The Roar put together some of the best football I have seen them play. And the their short passing inter-play to release McKay for his goal was the pick of the game.
Van Dijk didn't have his best game, along with the Roar speedsters he struggled on the slippery wet surface. Cernek had a good first start and will improve his finish in front of goal. He was subbed for Miller and we got to see Miller with Mitch. Tonight Miller looked under-done and maybe in pain. Mitch looked great.
The surprise of the night was the short term deal that saw Henrique (Andrade Silva) join the Roar on loan from Brazil as cover for Reinaldo. He came on for Mitch Nichols and got himself in the six yard box with a shot on goal with his first touch. The Roar were searching him out from that point - incredibly fast and playing across the park. He had several chances including an unselfish pass into Van Dijk - who couldn't finish, and a runaway from deep in Roar territory - O'Grady escaping punishment for dragging Henrique down by the shoulder.
Zullo had a great game, standing up Porter, and tonight running into the box.
Moore was brilliant. And his jet lag free performance included some great tackling that stopped CCM advances.
The Roar looked brilliant. Their short ball game was fantastic. Where was this early in the game.
The wet - which only opened up after the game - held the Roar to 23,000. But the atmosphere was fantastic.