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Drama-packed night in the A-League

By Chris Pike
13 January 2013 12:44AM EST

LAUNCESTON hosted an A-League clash that featured it all including a coach send-off as Central Coast and Melbourne Victory drew while Newcastle also beat Brisbane 1-0 on Saturday night.

It was an incredible contest between the top-placed Mariners and third-placed Victory at Aurora Stadium with the match featuring Central Coast coach Graham Arnold being sent off, a penalty made and a penalty saved, and a goal to either side amongst a bevy of chances each.

The Victory dominated the first half and scored in the 42nd minute thanks to Marcos Flores but the Melbourne side should have been up 2-0 had it not been for a poor penalty attempt from Marco Rojas that shaved the post.

Arnold was livid with the Mariners' performance in the first half and of some calls made by referee Jarred Gillett and his linesmen. He vented his anger just before half-time and Gillett was quick to jump on him to banish him to the stands for the rest of the game.

Arnold certainly let his players know what he thought of their efforts in the first half and he got the desired lift from them after the break. Daniel McBreen levelled scores when he took a penalty in the 77th minute and converted to give him 13 goals for the season to date.

The scores remained 1-1 at full-time and after the match, Arnold apologised for his outburst that led to his send off.

"I apologise. It was mainly down to frustration at our poor performance in the first half," Arnold said.

"It was the first time in two and-a-half years I've had to go off my head at half-time and I said something to the officials I shouldn’t have said, and I'll cop whatever."

Victory coach Ange Postecoglou was pleased with his side's first half performance, but would like to see them have more belief in what they can achieve.

"We were outstanding in the first half and probably didn’t finish it off as we should have," Postecoglou said.

"But this team's still evolving and maybe we're lacking a bit of self-belief as a group as to how good we could be."

Then at Hunter Stadium, the Newcastle Jets controlled the majority of its home contest against the two-time defending champion Brisbane Roar to record a crucial 1-0 victory.

The win was sealed in the 48th minute when Ryan Griffiths scored his sixth goal of the season and the Jets would have been especially delighted to record the win without Emile Heskey.

The Roar did continue to threaten to create an equaliser, but could not finish at all well in front of goal highlighting their continued problems and why coach Mike Mulvey has signalled a need for Brisbane to sign a striker to help, or replace, Besart Berisha.

Jets coach Gary van Egmond was happy to come away with the win and with the adjustments his side made to return to fifth position on the ladder with the three points.

"I thought that from a performance factor it was very good and also from the effort and resilience that the boys displayed as well. It was a good performance all round," van Egmond said.

"In the first half there was a couple of times when we were in two different minds from the defence to the forward-line, but in the second half they definitely made sure they were compact and did a good job."

The Roar remains in eighth position and could be ninth at the end of the round if Wellington beats Western Sydney at home on Sunday. Mulvey couldn’t help but be disappointed with the result and the performance.

"As far as the result is concerned, it's very disappointing. It was a tight game and we just can't keep going topsy-turvy with a couple of losses and couple of wins. We improved on last week, particularly without the ball, but the passing wasn’t as slick as it needed to be," Mulvey said.

"We coughed up the ball too easily in the first half where it was in uncontested situations, but it shows there is a lack of confidence with some players when they have the ball and their decision-making is affected by that."

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