Sydney FC, Victory set up A-League blockbuster
Sydney FC produced arguably their best performance of the season to reclaim first spot on the A-League ladder with a 1-0 win over NSW rivals Central Coast on Monday.
The Sky Blues produced some of their best football under Czech coach Vitezslav Lavicka in front of 13,887 home fans to move a point clear of Melbourne atop the competition.
New dad Terry McFlynn completed a dream week by netting the winner in his first game back from a thigh injury, and just five days after the birth of his first child, Olivia.
The Northern Ireland midfielder scored with a pin-point header in the 21st minute after some patient, well-worked build up from Sydney and said he was always determined to play.
“I never stopped thinking about the game, football is very important to me, it’s my life, it’s my livelihood,” McFlynn said.
“My daughter was born at 5.30pm on Thursday afternoon, so I trained in the morning, trained Friday, Saturday and played today so it all fitted in really well.”
“Every goal is special, especially if it’s a goal that’s put us top of the league now, it was important for us that we come home today in front of our home fans and get a win to put as top of the league.”
Sydney’s passing game was its most polished of the season and their dominance in possession and chances was not reflected in the scoreline.
Winger Alex Brosque was again outstanding, despite being unable to break his goal drought, and caused plenty of headaches for the Mariners defence.
Central Coast’s best chance of the first half came in the 14th minute when Dylan Macallister’s headed attempt was denied only by a great diving save from Clint Bolton.
But Sydney broke the deadlock when McFlynn finished off a great move involving Stuart Musialik and Steve Corica.
The Mariners, who missed key frontman Matt Simon due to a hip flexor injury, fought on gallantly despite being outplayed in the first half and had several chances to snatch an equaliser late on.
Their best one came after a howler from Bolton left Nik Mrdja facing virtually an open goal but the striker had a shocker of his own in slipping over the ball.
Mariners midfielder Michael McGlinchey looked the most likely for the visitors and forced another fingertips save from Bolton with a stunning volley from 30 metres out in the 69th minute.
Mariners coach Lawrie McKinna paid tribute to the former Celtic midfielder, who was due to catch a flight on Monday night and join the New Zealand squad to face Bahrain this weekend.
“Michael’s shot would have just about been goal of the century but Bolton’s made a great save, then we probably missed a few chances,” McKinna said.
“I’ve said all along I think Michael is going to get better and I think he showed in that second half that he can be one of the most exciting midfielders in Australia.”
As the heavens opened up in the dying minutes, Sydney defender Stephan Keller was stretchered off after a nasty head clash but Lavicka was hopeful he would be fit for Friday night’s top-of-the-table clash with the Victory.© AAP 2013
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