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Mariners and Heart fight out scoreless draw

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It was going to be a tough match for the Central Coast Mariners, on Sunday missing several key players but they grimly held on for a scoreless draw with Melbourne Heart at Bluetongue Stadium.

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Melbourne Heart were probably a little unlucky not to get something more out of a match they really dominated, while the Mariners sneaking the point gives them outright third.

It was a tough week for the Mariners, losing playmaker Marcos Flores to a season ending injury before losing departing midfielder Michael McGlinchey on the eve of the match.

It was John van't Schip's first match back in charge of Melbourne Heart and it was Harry Kewell's first trip to Gosford and he was influential for Heart, drawing attention from Mariners defenders, creating space for his team mates.

In the 14th minute Kewell was vital in setting up a chance for Melbourne Heart as he slid the ball through the Mariners defense only for Michael Mifsud to somehow hit the post when it seemed easier to score, allowing Zac Anderson to clear.

Before the opening 20 minutes were up Heart had another chance as Mate Dugandzic found Iain Ramsay with a cross but the wind took his effort over the bar.

The best chance for the Central Coast was still only a half chance as Storm Roux was able to hit an effort from distance, but it was much too easy for Andrew Redmayne to save.

Kewell and Mifsud were able to link up well in the final quarter hour of the half to create chances with Kewell sending in a cross for Mifsud that Trent Sainsbury was able to clear before Kewell again left the Mariners defense scrambling, only for Mifsud to be out of position, ending the half scoreless.

Mitchell Duke was really the only attacking outlet the Mariners had through the match and he was left isolated by the shape with a team struggling for creative players.

In the 59th minute Heart could have hit the lead as a Mifsud shot took a deflection only for the deflection to fall towards Reddy who was able to save.

Just after the hour mark the Mariners went agonizingly close to finding a goal as Mile Sterjovski sent in a cross for Nick Montgomery who got a diving header away that went just wide of goal.

That seemed to encourage the Mariners to go for it and in the 68th minute went close as Matt Simon crossed in for Josh Rose who just hit his effort over the bar.

Eight minutes from time Kewell hit a volley from a corner but he couldn't keep it down as he sent it over the crossbar.

Very late on there was one last chance with Duke hitting a shot from distance that went across the face of goal, ending the match scoreless.

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