Mariners down brave Glory

Perth Glory's unbeaten start to the 2011/12 Hyundai A-League season came to an end on Saturday when they suffered a 2-1 loss to Central Coast Mariners in Gosford.

Perth Glory's unbeaten start to the 2011/12 Hyundai A-League season came to an end on Saturday when they suffered a 2-1 loss to Central Coast Mariners in Gosford.

Glory were bidding to claim four Hyundai A-League wins in succession for the first time, and their first win at Bluetongue Stadium since the competition's inception, but it was not to be.

The visitors went ahead early through a Travis Dodd header, but goals from Matt Simon and Bernie Ibini-Isei put the Mariners up at half-time, and with both sides struggling to find an attacking spark in the second period that was where the scoreline stayed.

Glory took the lead in the sixth minute from their first decent foray forward.

Scott Neville picked out Dodd with a pinpoint cross from the right wing and the midfielder guided a glancing header past Matt Ryan in the Mariners goal.

Mariners striker Simon was booked for dissent immediately after the restart, and was fortunate not to receive a second caution for an intentional hand ball a few minutes later.

Shane Smeltz went close for the Glory with a long-range strike after 11 minutes, forcing a save from Ryan after a nice ball from Dodd.

Billy Mehmet crashed a fierce drive against the post after an inventive touch from Smeltz, while at the other end Ibini-Isei should have done better with a free header but he guided it straight to Glory 'keeper Danny Vukovic.

Glory coach Ian Ferguson was forced into a change when Chris Coyne came off with a groin niggle after 20 minutes, with Josh Mitchell replacing the central defender.

The Mariners were back on level terms seven minutes later when a pass from Mitchell was intercepted, with Pedj Bojic able to find Simon unmarked in the penalty area drove the shot past Vukovic.

Central Coast began to gain the ascendancy in midfield as the first half drew to a close, and they went ahead through a goal from Ibini-Isei in stoppage time.

Rostyn Griffiths put Simon through on goal, and although Vukovic pulled of a sensational diving save from his effort, the ball spilled straight to Ibini-Isei who blasted a shot into the roof of the net.

Both sides struggled to create chances after the break, and Ferguson opted to bring on Brazilian playmaker Andrezinho for Dodd just after the hour mark.

Adam Hughes blew a fantastic chance to pull the Glory level when he fired a shot wide from inside the box but despite pressing late on, Glory could not find a leveller and the Mariners - last season's beaten grand-finalists - held on to post their first win of the season.

Central Coast Mariners 2 (Simon 27, Ibini 45) Perth Glory 1 (Dodd 6)