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A-League wrap: Mariners, Wanderers steer clear at top

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 23 Feb 2013

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Central Coast Mariners retained top place in the A-League standings after crushing Melbourne Victory 6-2 at home on Saturday.

Central Coast Mariners retained top place in the A-League standings after crushing Melbourne Victory 6-2 at home on Saturday.

Midfielder Michael McGlinchey scored a treble and striker Mitchell Duke a double as the Gosford side swept aside their title rivals on a rain-sodden night at Bluetongue Stadium.

McGlinchey’s hat-trick came in 34 second-half minutes but it was Duke, who was elevated to the starting line-up in place of veteran forward Mile Sterjovski, who repaid the faith shown in him by coach Graham Arnold, scoring a double and having a hand in another which set up the result.

For the Victory, who slumped to a third consecutive defeat, Mark Milligan had levelled proceedings at 1-1 in the first half while Mariners defender Trent Sainsbury scored an unfortunate own-goal midway through the second half.

But the Mariners were always in control in front of their home fans and head into their midweek Asian Champions League clash with Suwon Bluewings on a high.

Earlier, Western Sydney Wanderers were momentarily atop the league standings after edging out Perth 1-0 in front of their home fans.

Tony Popovic’s men dominated the opening stanza in wet and windy conditions but had to wait until the 58th minute for the match winner, with Aaron Mooy scoring off a deflection from Michael Thwaite.

Glory fought until the final whistle and came agonisingly close to equalising when Liam Miller’s strike deflected off team-mate Ryo Nagai in the 82nd minute.

But the ball sailed just over the cross bar as the Wanderers held on in a tense finish.

The win was the Wanderers seventh straight and keeps them in touch with the Mariners, who are just one point clear at the top of the standings.

Both sides are clear of third place, occupied by the Victory on 36 points.

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