Daniel McBreen has sent the Central Coast Mariners into a fourth grand final after his first-half goal lifted the Mariners to 1-0 win over the Melbourne Victory.
Daniel McBreen has sent the Central Coast Mariners into a fourth A-League grand final after his first-half goal lifted the Mariners to 1-0 win over the Melbourne Victory at Bluetongue Stadium on Sunday night.
The semi-final win means the Mariners will now face rookie side Western Sydney Wanderers in next Sunday's decider at Allianz Stadium.
However the Mariners will need to do it without combative midfielder Nick Montgomery who was sent off in second half time added on for a second bookable offence.
After Bernie Ibini beat two defenders he laid a ball on for 35-year-old Daniel McBreen to give the home side the lead three minutes before the interval.
The Mariner's returned eight players to their starting side after a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Guizhou Renhe in the Asian Champions League Tuesday.
Whilst Argentinean playmaker Marcos Flores swapped places with Connor Pain for the Victorian side, with Pain relegated to the bench.
Mariners forwards Mile Sterjovski and Bernie Ibini had early attempts on goal for the home side as the Central Coast attacked the Victory's right-hand side defence primarily targeting 19-year-old defender Jason Geria
Mariners defenders Pedj Bojic, Joshua Rose, and Trent Sainsbury were also getting involved in attack all having strikes on goal.
Melbourne were more positive as the half wore on with New Zealand international Marco Rojas forcing Matt Ryan to intercept a cross in the 28th minute as he sent a ball towards teammate Archie Thompson.
Flores was also lively but the Mariners were often able to respond quickly in transition.
McBreen's goal in the shadows of half-time was a reward for effort after some proactive attack which kept Victory goal-keeper Nathan Coe busy and ten attempts on goal.
It took until an hour into the game as Thompson had the Victory's first meaningful shot on target after a smart run.
Both sides made attacking substitution with youngsters Mitchell Duke,22, and 19-year-old Pain coming on for the Mariners and Victory respectively.
Graham Arnold's call to bring on Duke nearly had the desired impact in the 70th minute when he rifled a shot just wide of the right-hand post.
The Mariners continued to be better in attack with a slight off-side costing them a second goal in the final ten minutes before Nick Montgomery's dismissal.
Montgomery was shown a second yellow then a red after a late foul on Mark Milligan which will cost him a grand final appearance.
A late foul on substitute Andrew Nabbout gave the Victory a chance to send the game into extra time but the free kick was sent into the Mariners defensive wall for the home side to hang on.
The Mariners will now get the chance to exorcise their grand final demons after prior losses to Sydney FC, Newcastle Jets and the Brisbane Roar.
Bet365.com Man of the Match: Michael McGlinchey The Mariners' own "Kiwi Messi" was a constant terror for Victory and gave Jason Geria a night he won't forget.
Central Coast Mariners 1 (McBreen 42) Melbourne Victory 0
Crowd: 10,651 @ Bluetongue Stadium