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Mariners end Sydney's winning run

By AAP .
7 December 2013 10:04PM EST

CENTRAL Coast ended Sydney FC's A-League winning run with a 1-0 victory on Saturday night while the Melbourne Heart held the Western Sydney Wanderers to a 1-1 draw.

Veteran striker Daniel McBreen rediscovered his goalscoring touch as the Mariners snapped Sydney FC's club record winning streak with a 1-0 win at Bluetongue Stadium.

McBreen's clever close-range backheel from a Josh Rose cross in the 26th minute settled the issue.

It was the first goal of the season for the 36-year-old forward, who won the Golden Boot last season for being the A-League's leading goal-scorer.

The victory moved the Mariners at least temporarily to fourth, one spot and two points behind Sydney, who had their four-match winning streak ended.

It was McBreen's fourth appearance of the season and just his second start in Mariners colours since finishing a stint with Chinese club Shanghai SIPG.

Sydney looked sharp early, but the Mariners midfield took control as the first half progressed, with John Hutchinson, Michael McGlinchey and Marcos Flores becoming more prominent.

The visitors had much more of the play in the second half, pushing the Mariners back deep into their own half.

Despite dominating possession against a Mariners side that seemed happy to drop deep, the Sky Blues created few chances after the break and it was Central Coast who missed at least three good opportunities in the final stages.

Former Mariner Pedj Bojic gave Sydney some thrust down the right-hand side, with the visitors creating a couple of decent early chances.

Sydney's Ali Abbas hit the post from close range in the third minute and midfielder Nick Carle had a high shot tipped over the bar by ex-Sydney goalkeeper Liam Reddy.

McBreen had a fourth-minute header saved comfortably by Vedran Janjetovic and Mitchell Duke had a goal rubbed out for offside.

After the goal, Bojic had a shot saved by Reddy, but the Mariners finished the half stronger, with Flores curling a shot wide and an unmarked McBreen missing the target with a close-range header which bounced over the bar.

In the second half, Abbas headed straight at Reddy following a good cross by Joel Chianese and Nick Carle shot wide, but Sydney lacked a cutting edge without injured superstar Alessandro Del Piero.

Matt Simon missed a glorious chance to give the Mariners a two-goal buffer when he was put right through in the 79th minute, but had his attempt foiled by the legs of Janjetovic.

Fellow substitute Mile Sterjovski hit the post with a curling shot and McGlinchey had a strong shot tipped away by Janjetovic.

Earlier, Melbourne Heart and their embattled coach John Aloisi defied the form book to earn a 1-1 draw against second-placed Western Sydney at Parramatta Stadium.

Without a win outside Melbourne since October last year, the bottom-placed Heart went ahead through David Williams, with the Wanderers' Aaron Mooy equalising just before halftime to ensure the spoils were shared.

Although the Wanderers finished strongly, they created only a handful of clear-cut chances, slipping five points behind leaders Brisbane Roar.

"The chances were there and we controlled the game," said Wanderers coach Tony Popovic.

"They had a game plan to slow the game down from the outset and it just wasn't to be.

"We have only lost one of nine games this season and playing some good football so we are pleased with the first third of the season."

The draw was a major positive for Aloisi with the Heart also buoyed by the long-awaited return of Harry Kewell who made a 20-minute second-half appearance following an eight-week absence.

Aloisi says Kewell's entrance in the second half boosted the spirits of his struggling side.

"We knew we were up for a major fight today but we showed good spirit," he said.

"Harry lifts everyone around him, just by him walking onto the pitch lifts everyone. All the other players around him grew with confidence on the ball and we started to play some good combination football and Harry brings that to a team."

There was controversy in the first half with a shot cleared off the line by Wanderers fullback Aziz Behich with the ball at least partly over the chalk.

But it was the Heart who took a shock lead as Williams' cross from the right flank eluded defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley and goalkeeper Ante Covic to nestle inside the far post.

The Wanderers drew level a minute before halftime when Mooy was, not for the first time, allowed too much latitude on the edge of the penalty area and the midfielder duly rifled home a low shot.

Shinji Ono enjoyed a raucous welcome from the 14,549 fans when he entered after the interval but the Japanese forward was unable to inspire the home side despite dominating lengthy periods of the second half.

A sweet injury-time shot by Mooy was tipped centimetres wide of the post, while Spiranovic hit the post from the ensuing corner but there was to be no winner for the fast-finishing Wanderers.

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