Sydney FC have blown away Central Coast with a barnstorming opening propelled by midfielder Anthony Caceras on the way to a 3-1 triumph at Industree Group Stadium on Saturday night.
Caceras played a critical role in all three goals scored inside the first 20 minutes, as the Sky Blues snapped the hosts’ 12-match unbeaten run on Saturday night.
The former Mariners prodigy set up the opening goal with a header from outside the box, as Rhyan Grant was the first to respond and score with ease in the fourth minute.
Caceras was on the scoresheet just four minutes later after collecting the ball inside the box and finding a way through four Mariners and into enough space to blast home.
The Sky Blues stalwart had the reigning champions on the ropes again in the 20th minute.
Caceras burst down the left and fired a fierce cross towards the front of goal that Mariners defender Dan Hall could only shin into the back of the net.
The convincing victory lifts the Sky Blues into the top six, while the Mariners remain in second place but now trail Wellington Phoenix by five points.
The Sky Blues’ scintillating start helped spare the blushes of Pat Wood after the young forward fired wide with one of the more astonishing misses imaginable.
Mariners keeper Danny Vukovic slipped while trying to control a simple back pass, allowing Wood to pounce on the ball inside the six-yard box and make it harder to miss than score.
But as Wood faced an open goal from barely two metres out, he chose to turn his body and hit the ball with the inside of his right boot when his opposite foot was called for.
The commentator said: “You will never see that again”.
“That is the most astonishing miss. Poor old Pat Wood must be wishing the ground would just swallow him up.”
Wood has only scored once in the A-League this season and will need to make the most of similar opportunities to keep his name in the frame to start alongside, or instead of, Brazilian striker Fabio Gomes.
The Mariners had barely threatened in front of 11,379 fans until boom recruit Angel Torres gave them a lifeline in the 56th minute.
Torres lit up the Mariners with a surging run down the right as Storm Roux opened up the Sky Blues’ defence with a pinpoint pass to the in-form striker.
The Colombian took one touch with his right boot then used the outside of his left foot to chip the ball over keeper Andrew Redmayne for an 11th goal of the season.
Sydney FC have now scored at least three goals in seven of their 16 matches while becoming the third-most prolific team in the A-League.
But the problems persist at the other end for Ufuk Talay’s side, with only one clean sheet this season.
The Sky Blues were in command at 3-0 but almost let the Mariners back in the game after they pulled one back then had more chances across the final half-hour.
Originally published as A-League stunned by all-time ‘astonishing miss’ in Sydney FC win