Knee injury ends Oar’s season

Australia international Tommy Oar will miss the rest of Central Coast Mariners' A-League season with a knee injury.

The midfielder faces a recovery time of up to three months after being hurt in the Gosford club's 1-1 draw with defending premiers Sydney FC at the weekend.

He hyperextended his knee when he landed awkwardly after challenging for a ball in the air, causing a posterior capsule ligament sprain.

The 27-year-old, who has previously had two stints with Brisbane Roar, doesn't need surgery, but will be sidelined for at least ten weeks.

He said: "I am really disappointed to not be able to play again this season. I know I'm in great hands with Dave McGinness and the medical team at the Mariners, so I am putting my full focus into getting myself healthy and fully fit for next season."

Oar, who has played 28 times for the Socceroos, joined Mike Mulvey's side in pre-season on a two-year deal following a spell in Cyprus with APOEL.

His absence is a blow for Central Coast, who are five points adrift of Brisbane at the foot of the A-League table.

Oar's final appearance of the campaign, when they held the Sky Blues away from home, was just the second time in the last seven games they've avoided defeat.

The Mariners have only won one game all season, and will need to pick up a second victory at Central Coast Stadium on Friday against Brisbane if they are to retain hopes of avoiding a second straight wooden spoon.

The Mariners are 7/5 to win their next game against Brisbane Roar, who are 17/10, with the draw 13/5.

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Sky Blues held by Mariners

Bottom side Central Coast held minor premiership contenders Sydney FC to a 1-1 draw in front of their own fans at Leichhardt Oval.

The Mariners took the lead against the run of play nine minutes before half-time when Adam le Fondre returned to the top of the A-League Golden Boot standings by netting the equaliser.

The Sky Blues will regard the game as two points dropped, despite having trailed. They are now 10 points behind leaders Perth Glory with eight games left.

Central Coast ended their four-match losing streak while Steve Corica's team have won just one of their past four fixtures.

Le Fondre now leads the goalscoring chart on his own again – with 13 for the season – one more than Perth's Andy Keogh and Roy Krishna of Wellington Pheonix.

He converted from the spot 14 minutes from time after Jem Karacan had been bundled over by substitute Alex Brosque in the box.

The home side couldn't go on and secure victory, with Brosque and Milos Ninkovic unable to take chances in the final three minutes.

They had started the game well and were unlucky not to take a 20th-minute lead through Ninkovic.

The midfielder fired a powerful shot against the post with Mariners keeper Ben Kennedy beaten and then, when he latched onto the rebound, his second effort was just wide.

Josh Brillante's volley was saved by Kennedy on the half-hour mark and the Sky Blues looked the more likely side to score only to fall behind when Aiden O'Neill fired in a shot that found the bottom corner past unsighted keeper Andrew Redmayne.

Corica said after he match: "We had about 14 or 15 shots, some one-on-ones, and hit the post so had plenty of good chances. It was not for the lack of trying and I can't take anything away from the boys' effort."

Sydney FC are 3/1 to win the Grand Final and 1/1 to win their next game against Wellington, who are 5/2 with the draw 13/5.

Wanderers end victory wait

Western Sydney earned their first win in two months as they scored in each half to beat Central Coast 2-0 at Spotless Stadium.

The meeting between the A-League's bottom two teams went the way of Markus Babbel's side by the same scoreline as their last victory on 7th December.

And it leaves the Mariners in increasing danger of finishing bottom of the table for the second straight season.

The Gosford club have a six-point deficit at the foot of the table, having failed to take any of their chances against Wanderers and having fallen to a ninth straight away defeat.

The clean sheet was a welcome boost for Babbel's team, who had conceded 11 goals in their last three games.

Mariners keeper Ben Kennedy made a diving save to deny Oriol Riera midway through the first half, and the Spaniard was out of luck again at the end of the half when he headed against the post from close range.

Wanderers did take the lead just before the interval, though, as Tarek Elrich sent in a curling cross which eluded everyone including Kennedy as it bounced off the woodwork and into the net.

It was the 32-year-old's first goal in Wanderers colours and first in two years.

The Mariners threatened an equaliser on 56 minutes when Matt Millar had a volley tipped over by keeper Vedran Janjetovic.

Once they doubled their lead 13 minutes from time, though, the hosts looked secure.

It arrived when Roly Bonevacia put Jaushua Sotirio into space on the counter, and the attacker finished coolly to Kennedy's left.

Wanderers lost Kwame Yeboa to a suspected groin injury early in the first half.

Western Sydney are 4/1 to win their next game against Adelaide United, who are 8/13 with the draw 3/1.

Wanderers are 16/1 to win 1-0.

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Kamsoba praised for Victory role

New signing Elvis Kamsoba left Central Coast "spooked" in Melbourne Victory's 3-2 win over the Mariners, according to head coach Mike Mulvey.

The Victory were able to come back from a two-goal deficit and beat Mulvey's side in part thanks to the impact of Kamsoba.

Victory coach Kevin Muscat sent on the Burundi-born winger at half-time for Josh Hope, with the visitors needing a spark having conceded twice from free-kicks by Andrew Hoole.

Kamsoba teed up their first goal for James Troisi just five minutes after coming on and he showed good composure to avoid keeper Ben Kennedy in the lead-up to their second goal.

Mariners coach Mulvey said: "We were spooked in the second half because they put the young lad wide left and he changed their shape. I wouldn't say we didn't cope with it, it's that we acted surprised by it and it brought a bit of uncertainty."

Muscat said of the former Avondale forward: "He's got to be complimented on his contribution; he was outstanding from the moment he stepped on, right to the death there.

"He seemed to lift the players around him. Kenny (Athiu) had a spark in his step and James Troisi was unplayable in the second half."

Kamsoba had come to attention last year when he put in some sparkling displays to help NPL side Avondale reach the FFA Cup quarter-finals. He was awarded the inaugural Mike Cockerill Medal, given to the best NPL player in the competition.

The 22-year-old signed for Victory early last month after a successful trial period.

Victory are 6/5 to win their next game against Perth Glory, who are 21/10, with the draw 5/2.

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Barbarouses completes Victory comeback

Bottom side Central Coast Mariners again saw the tables turned on them when they went down 3-2 at home to Melbourne Victory.

Mike Mulvey's side led 2-0 at the break at Central Coast Stadium, but came away empty-handed as Kosta Barbarouses netted an 88th-minute winner for the defending champions.

The Mariners closely followed the script from their previous game against Adelaide United, when they'd led through an Andrew Hoole strike but gone on to lose 2-1 to an injury-time goal.

This time, though, Hoole scored both for the Gosford club from free-kicks before the break.

Victory pulled a goal back five minutes into the second half from James Troisi, and that turned the tide.

An unfortunate own goal by Mariners keeper Ben Kennedy levelled the scores on 68 minutes.

Barbarouses beat Kennedy late on with an angled drive to give Kevin Muscat's team their fourth win in five games.

They will host leaders Perth Glory, who are four points clear of them, next weekend.

Victory threatened early on, Kenny Athiu, Troisi and Raul Baena all bringing saves out of Kennedy, with the Mariners then breaking the deadlock on 18 minutes with Hoole's superb curling free-kick.

The same player had a chance from a closer position in the final minute of first-half injury time and again produced an outstanding shot to beat keeper Lawrence Thomas.

In between, Matt Millar had hit the post with a cross for the Mariners, who had also seen Thomas tip over a Jacob Melling effort.

Troisi forced Kennedy into a save early in the second half before getting Victory back into the match when he notched his fifth goal of the season from substitute Elvis Kamsoba's cut-back.

Athiu almost levelled when his header hit the bar, and two minutes later his chipped effort did make it 2-2 though it went down as a Kennedy own goal.

Troisi combined with Barbarouses for Victory's winner as the visitors extended their unbeaten run against the Mariners to 17 games.

Melbourne Victory are 23/20 to win their next game against Perth, who are 23/10 with the draw 5/2.

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Mariners sign Blades duo on loan

Central Coast Mariners have used their Sheffield United connections to sign two teenagers from the English Championship club.

The A-League's bottom side have brought in defender Sam Graham and winger Stephen Mallon on loan for the rest of the season.

It was their assistant coach Nick Montgomery, who played more than 350 games for the Blades, who helped secure the deals.

Neither of the players have yet made a first-team appearance for United, but Graham had two loan spells last year, at FC Halifax Town and Oldham Athletic.

The 18-year-old central defender said it was a great opportunity to play in the A-League, adding: "I know that I need to train hard and work my way into the team and that's the plan. This is an important stepping stone early in my career – I want to play as many games as I can."

Mallon, 19, is a Republic of Ireland youth international who can play as a left-sided attacker, wingback or attacking midfielder.

He said of Montgomery's involvement in the move: "Nick is obviously an ex-Sheffield United player – he spoke to people at the club and showed interest in me.

"Monty said it's a great league, a great experience. He said nothing is guaranteed just because we have travelled from England but he knows we are good players and told us that we need to work hard to earn our chance."

The Mariners could leave full-back Matt Millar out of their squad for Saturday's clash with reigning champions Melbourne Victory.

Millar has signed a deal to join their F3 derby rivals Newcastle Jets from the start of next season.

The Mariners are 19/4 to win their next game against Melbourne Victory, who are 4/7, with the draw 16/5.

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Victory duo poised to return

Melbourne Victory are hopeful two key players will return for what could be the biggest game of their season next week.

Kevin Muscat's side are second in the A-League, four points behind Perth Glory, and will host the leaders on Sunday week.

They look likely to get both German central defender Georg Niedermeier and marquee Keisuke Honda back for that clash.

The pair aren't ready to step back in for Saturday's trip to bottom side Central Coast.

Japanese playmaker Honda, who has been out since injuring his hamstring ahead of last month's derby against Melbourne City, is expected to return to full training in the next few days.

Honda was able to take part in short sprints while at training this week.

Victory have only lost one of their eight games without the 32-year-old, who had started the season on fire with five goals and three assists.

Niedermeier is almost over an ankle problem, while Jai Ingham has been able to return to full training and is available for selection again.

Veteran Leigh Broxham said of the German and Honda: "They're going OK; they're just being mindful of coming back a few times and having to start their recovery again.

"They'll take their time a little bit this time … they'll be close for next week."

James Donachie is on the point of completing a deal to return to the club after a six-month stint in Korea with Jeonnam Dragons.

And with Donachie and Niedermeier coming into contention it could mean the end of Broxham's stint alongside Thomas Deng in the heart of the defence.

"People don't view it as my spot; I'm holding the fort temporarily aren't I?" said Broxham. "It doesn't mean I'm going to give up the position for someone else, I want to play and earn a living."

Melbourne Victory are 9/4 to win the Grand Final.

Victory are 4/7 to win their first game of the season against Central Coast, who are 9/2 with the draw 3/1.

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Mulvey accepts Mariners woes

Central Coast coach Mike Mulvey admits his struggling side are a level below the top teams in the A-League this season.

The Mariners have just one win from 16 games so far and sit three points adrift at the bottom of the table.

They picked up the wooden spoon last season and look to be on course for a repeat unless they can turn around their fortunes over the second half of the campaign.

Mulvey's side have lost 12 matches, their latest reverse coming against Adelaide United at the weekend when they went down 2-1 despite scoring first through Andrew Hoole.

Central Coast sit three points below his former side Brisbane Roar at the foot of the table.

It took a 92nd-minute header from substitute George Blackwood to beat them at Coopers Stadium, but Mulvey says while things are improving for them they are still lacking factors which the top sides have.

"We're playing a top-four team, should be in the top two," the coach said of Adelaide. "They're a good side, they have got some very good players, and we took them all the way.

"So that gives us an indication of how far we are coming. But we're not ready for that next level right now, we haven't got that mental toughness to see out a game."

The Mariners aren't giving up on the season and have signed former Premier League midfielder Jem Karacan, as well as looking to add further recruits before the transfer window closes.

"We are going to have a couple of added players to the squad which will increase the depth and intensity at training and competition for places," said Mulvey. "It's very, very frustrating and we should have come away with something, but we can't feel sorry for ourselves."

The Mariners are 9/2 to win their next game against Melbourne Victory, who are 4/7, with the draw 3/1.

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Kurz proud of Adelaide attitude

A fourth win in seven games left Adelaide United coach Marco Kurz well satisfied with his players' attitude.

The Reds needed an injury-time winner from substitute George Blackwood to secure the three points against the A-League's bottom side, Central Coast Mariners, but Kurz felt they deserved the Coopers Stadium victory after they'd shown plenty of character in the second half.

Adelaide trailed at the break, with Andrew Hoole having fired a curling shot past keeper Paul Izzo.

Kurz felt concerned that, having played six games in 22 days, the players might be starting to wilt under the pressure.

But Isaias got them back on terms with a close-range shot and Blackwood headed home Ben Galloway's cross in the second minute of added time to secure the victory.

It lifted them above sixth-placed Wellington on goal difference and gives them an 11-point cushion inside the Finals Series places.

For the third time in their last four home games United were able to avoid defeat having trailed at half-time.

Kurz said after the game: "It was the first time I think the team felt a little bit of pressure – you saw it at the beginning, plus they looked tired. We did a couple of easy mistakes, but we had three big chances at the end of the first half and they shot one time on our goal and scored.

"But at the end it was very important and I'm very proud of the boys about their attitude. At the end it was very important to jump over the hurdle. It was very important."

Kurz, whose team have a run of three straight home games against the bottom three teams, added: "I think the second half with a lot of pressure and a lot of belief, not every situation we played perfect but we created chances and we saw it [through] until the end."

United are 8/15 to win their next game against Brisbane Roar, who are 5/1, with the draw 3/1.

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Blackwood heads injury-time winner

Adelaide United are within a point of the A-League's top four after George Blackwood's injury-time winner secured a 2-1 victory over Central Coast.

Substitute Blackwood headed home two minutes into added time at Coopers Stadium, for his first goal of the season.

It gave the Reds a come-from-behind victory as they look to take advantage of a favourable run of fixtures. Marco Kurz's side were beginning a four-game spell that will include three home matches against the bottom three teams in the standings.

They were given a scare in the first half, though, when Andrew Hoole put the Mariners in front.

Hoole produced a curling shot past keeper Paul Izzo eight minutes before the break to give the visitors hopes of collecting their first away win in 18 attempts.

United had been the better side in the first half but were denied by keeper Ben Kennedy, who was playing his 150th A-League game.

When they did manage to get the ball past him, Kye Rowles was able to produce a spectacular clearance off the goal line to deny Craig Goodwin.

Moments after that, Hoole scored at the other end – it was just the Mariners' 16th goal in 16 games this season but at least means they're not the lowest scorers in the competition as Newcastle Jets have 15.

Adelaide started the second half brightly, with Kennedy needing to make a block from Goodwin and then Nikola Mileusnic firing off target at the end of a strong run.

United equalised when Isaias was able to seize on a loose ball in the penalty area and stab his low shot home.

It looked like they would have to settle for a share of the spoils, though, until Ben Galloway cut through the defence on the left to cross for Blackwood to head home at the near post.

Meanwhile, the Mariners are 9/2 to win their next game against Melbourne Victory, who are 4/7, with the draw 3/1.

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