2018/19 Australian A League, Regular Season
  • Adam Le Fondre (76' PEN)
  • Aiden O'Neill (36')

Le Fondre rescues point for faltering Sydney against Central Coast Mariners

Sydney FC are fading away in the title race after being held to a 1-1 draw by last-placed Central Coast Mariners on Sunday.

A second-half Adam Le Fondre penalty saved the Sky Blues after Aiden O'Neill's composed first-half strike looked to have made the difference.

The result leaves stuttering Sydney FC in third spot, 10 points behind leaders Perth with just eight games remaining.

A crowd of 12,188 filled Leichhardt Oval for the first A-League fixture at the venue, but were left wanting plenty from their temporary tenants.

The numbers revealed that it was a one-way show. The Sky Blues enjoyed 62 percent possession, 63 percent territory, quadrupled the Mariners' five shots on goal and played 51 balls into the box compared to 14.

But in the end they were forced to settle for a share of the points a week after collapsing against lowly Brisbane.

Mariners coach Mike Mulvey made four changes in an attempt to salvage some pride from their season, but the early signs were not positive, with Brandon O'Neill and Milos Ninkovic chances including one that clattered the woodwork.

However, the visitors were rewarded for their resolve when O'Neill struck from outside the box just before half-time.

Sydney FC would have felt confident of getting back into the game, having twice fought back from behind already against the Mariners this season.

All indications pointed to a comeback in the second half, when they continued to dominate only to let themselves down with poor crossing.

Le Fondre was given a gift in the centre of the only to shoot wide, but made amends when he struck from the spot after Alex Brosque was brought down by Jem Karacan.

However, the Mariners held on to claim only their seventh point of the season, keeping alive their hopes of avoiding a last-place finish.

"When you look at the history of the season so far, I think that's a pretty significant result against significant odds," Mulvey said.

"Sydney threw everything at us, basically, and of the three games we've played against them this season this one was the least effective we've been going forward."

Sydney FC coach Steve Corica said he had been disappointed by his team's finishing but was otherwise satisfied with their display.

"I was happy with the performance. It was very good. We dominated from the start and we had chances," he said.

"The only thing I'm disappointed in was we didn't score more goals because, first half, they had one chance and they scored against the run of play."

Australian A-League Standings