Friday, 27 June 2008

ACT Rockets/ACTAS Match reports/Quotes etc

Russ Gibbs reports on ACT Rockets v Mariners and ACTAS v Youth Rockets. (See below)

ACT Rockets v Central Coast Mariners
(Deakin Football Stadium, Deakin)
Friday 27th June 2008, Kick off: 7.00pm


Match Report
ACT Rockets 0 Central Coast Mariners 4

By Russ Gibbs

A ruthless Central Coast Mariners racked up a convincing four-nil victory over the ACT State Representative team, the Rockets, on a chilly Friday evening at Deakin Oval in Canberra. First half goals from Predrag Bojic, Frank Lagana and Sasho Petrovski were added to by a late strike from substitute Matthew Osman as the Mariners rounded out their pre-season trip to the nation’s Capital in some style.

After a disappointing performance against local ACT Premier League outfit Belconnen United two days previously, a match in which they were rescued from a draw by a ninetieth minute winner from Belconnen’s own Taylor Beaton, the A-League side were given a royal dressing down by coach Lawrie McKinna and it showed in their opening half performance as they relentlessly took advantage of any mistakes made by the home team to roar into an unassailable three goal lead.

Striker Frank Lagana almost gave the Mariners a dream start inside the first minute, pouncing onto a through ball to fire a low drive that Nathan Denham did well to block to his right.

It wasn’t long before the professionals took the lead though as a near-post flick from a corner found Predrag Bogic unmarked on the far post and the triallist was left with the simplest of tasks to poke the ball into the unguarded net.

Whatever McKinna had said to his charges at the Thursday morning training session appeared to be having the desired effective as the visitors doubled their lead seven minutes from the interval.

Frank Lagana collected a superb ball over the top before unleashing a sublime chip over the advancing Denham and into the far corner of the net. By this stage the Rockets, who appeared a little overwhelmed in the opening half an hour, had begun to find their feet a little.

However, the much vaunted strike duo of Goran Veljanovski and Paul Ivanic were left with only scraps to feed off and largely untroubled Andrew Redmayne in the Mariners goal.

The pace of the match was a telling tale for the Rockets who, at times, struggled to come to grips with the slick passing moves and instant control of the Mariners side.

Full-back Justin Selkirk, of the O’Connor Knights, was one who shone for the home team negating the attacking forays of Dean Heffernan and Ahmad Elrich to some effect.

Canberra FC central defender Jon Ison was also in good form but both were powerless to prevent Sasho Petrovski taking the score to 3-0 before half-time. The striker had only been on the pitch for three minutes when he forced a shot through Denham on the near-post to start what was a lively night for the under-pressure forward.

After the interval Dean Ugrinic and Scott Conlon changed tactics slightly and the pace of Oliver Wiederkehr and David Kemp began to cause some headaches for McKinna.

Rockets skipper Paul Ivanic nearly brought the home crowd to its feet with a curling right foot shot from the edge of the penalty area that seemed destined for the net until Redmayne produced a stunning save diving full length to his left to palm the ball away for a corner. A quite exquisite save from a shot that seemed destined for the goal.

Mariners substitute Matthew Osman supplied a well-taken fourth goal of the evening, capping a lively twenty-two minute cameo on his return from injury, which would have pleased the Central Coast coaching staff. Osman slipped his marker and advanced on Rockets substitute ‘keeper Brett Dickens, before slipping a neat shot past the Tuggeranong United stopper’s attempted block to complete the scoring.

In the end the professionals simply had too much in the locker for their amateur counterparts, but it was a good night’s entertainment watched by an appreciative crowd and will prove a valuable learning experience to all the ACT player’s involved.

Match Reaction

Lawrie McKinna (Head Coach, Central Coast Mariners): “This was a good performance compared to Wednesday; we were a totally different side. We played some great football in the first half and their ‘keeper had to make two or three good saves.

I was happy with our movement and the support play was excellent. Full credit to the ACT team they put us under pressure in the second half when they out the fliers on, there is a fair bit of pace in that team and they pinned us back for a while. I wasn’t impressed by the performance on Wednesday. We were not switched on and Belconnen made it very hard for us.

I made it clear to the players that they need to prepare correctly for matches like these and, yes, we had a few words about it. I’ve got six or seven players unavailable through injury or international duty so the pressure is on the guys in this squad, but overall I’m happy.

As for the Youth players we watched (in the Youth Rockets v ACTAS match that preceded the main game) young Luke Pilkington looked promising and caught the eye. We are looking to organise a get together for the young players when we come down again in a few weeks for the Newcastle Jets match so we will take another look at some of them then.”

Dean Ugrinic (Head Coach, ACT Rockets): “I thought we were a little bit panicky in the first half, but in fairness I don’t think the score reflected the performance. We defended well and they scored their goals off our mistakes.

"When we managed to get the ball down we played some good football and we had much better possession in the second half and were able to execute some of the stuff we have been working on in training.

"After the break we started tracking their runners more effectively and for a first run out for this squad it was really, really good. This match just goes to show that Canberra needs a top-level outfit so that we do not fall behind the other regions too far in terms of our development. As for our players, Justin Selkirk was outstanding and both Jon Ison and Adam Spaleta were fantastic.”

Scott Conlon (Assistant Coach, ACT Rockets): “In a short time that we had our squad together we did our best to formulate a game plan and take it out there and to some extents we did that.

"A lot of their training ground set pieces and drills caught us out, but we tightened up in the second half. It was plain the Mariners didn’t want to lose this evening and they needed the result after Wednesday’s performance. They were clinical and when we did make mistakes in the wrong areas of the field they punished us.”

Paul Ivanic (Captain, ACT Rockets): “We played really well in the second half when we pressed on them and it was a great learning experience. Maybe we were a bit overwhelmed in the first half but it was obvious that they could think quicker and were more physically stronger than us. It was definitely a step up in class. I thought I had scored at one stage but the ‘keeper made a good stop.”

Justin Selkirk (Defender, ACT Rockets): “I had an absolute ball and enjoyed every minute of it even though it finished 4-0! I am from the Central Coast and you don’t get the chance to play against teams like this every day of the week. We made some errors, but we played much smarter in the second half on what was a fast and very slippery ground.

"I have loved playing with all these guys for the past month and I believe we have learned a lot from each other, especially our attitude and enthusiasm which was awesome again. Even when we were down everything was so positive.”


Minute Scorer Team Score


Predrag BOGIC
Central Coast Mariners


Central Coast Mariners


Central Coast Mariners


Matthew OSMAN
Central Coast Mariners

• Earlier in the evening in a special trial match organised to showcase the talent in the ACT, the ACT Youth Rockets defeated the ACTAS side 2-1 in a keenly fought encounter.

A fine headed goal from Tim Cole after thirty-four minutes gave the Youth Rockets the lead in the first half before Dean Tomeski side-footed home a neat equaliser for ACTAS with eighteen minutes remaining.

The Youth Rockets grabbed the spoils when substitute Yianni Karabalis netted the match-winning goal in the 82nd minute from close range. It was a useful work out for both sets of boys many of whom impressed the watching Alex Tobin and Lawrie McKinna from the Central Coast Mariners with Woden Valley midfielder Luke Pilkington warranting attention.

ACT Youth Rockets: Codey Larkin, Zak Maybury, Jonathan Reis, Benard Rene (Aaron Cashman), Ryan Jones (Cameron Gordon), Tim Cole (Tal Evans), Josip Jadric (Phillipe Bernarbo), Luke Pilkington, Zak Knight, Kole Aitken, Matt Atkins (Yianni Karabalis)
Goals: Tim Cole (34), Yianni Karabalis (82)

ACTAS: Jack Pettit, Dylan De Montis, Chris Bush, Ben Mitchell, Steven Lustica, Dean Tomeski, Tom Rogic, Alex Meibush, Edgar Daly, Rocco Strika, Tom Davies
ACTAS Substitutes (all used): James Bradbury, Ben Harrington, Andrew Gibson, Declan Poon, Zvonimir Rogic, Stephen Domenici, Danai Gapare, Izach Clemens, Joe Chapman
Goals: Dean Tomeski (72)

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