The Central Coast Mariners took the A-League out to the beautiful Mid-Western region of Mudgee and faced Macarthur on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon at Glen Willow Stadium.
The locals decked out in yellow, kissed from the rays of the setting sun put on a spectacle at the picturesque stadium and were treated to another goal fest between Mariners and Macarthur.
The hosts dominated early and found the net through Costa Rican Marco Ureña before Macarthur pegged one back before the half. In the second half, Mariners turned on the style, finding the net three more times through Matt Hatch, Noah Smith and Ureña again. Macarthur would find a late consolation, but the afternoon belonged to the Central Coast and their new supporters in Mudgee.
Coming off the back of a mid-week trip to Perth, many of the team were suffering from fatigue and Mariners Head Coach, Nick Montgomery, was forced into making a number of changes, naming a starting eleven with an average age of 23, giving a debut to the always reliable Harry McCarthy.
Sadly for the 20 year old, his impressive debut was cut short after he was brought down while driving forward into the Macarthur half and was unable to continue with his ankle shortly swelling to the size of a tennis ball, and McCarthy being forced into a boot.
With McCarthy’s departure, Marco Ureña set Glen Willow alight off the bench and after Jason Cummings was denied with a 1-on-1 from a tight angle earlier, it would be the substitute Ureña who got the opener, set up by his strike partner once again.
Cummings received the ball wide from Jacob Farrell and travelled into the box, squaring the ball to the nippy Ureña who poked the ball home to the delight of Glen Willow.
As the Mariners continued to dominate the half, they felt the sting of a Macarthur goal from Adrian Mariappa which deflated the atmosphere as the Jamaican scored against the Mariners once more, this time from a scramble that wouldn’t go amiss in a kitchen.
Nick Montgomery already had one impactful sub, and after Cy Goddard experienced a hamstring issue, he was replaced by Matt Hatch at half time, who followed in Ureña’s footsteps.
On the field mere minutes, Hatch found himself unmarked at the back post from a Noah Smith corner and he volleyed with aplomb into the bottom corner, netting his second ever A-League goal.
Two quickly became three as the Mariners looked to turn the screw at the toiling Macarthur side and soon after the ball was zipped around the perfect Glen Willow surface it was in the net. From Nisbet, to Cummings, to Ureña, back to Cummings and then into the path of Noah Smith, the left winger dinked the ball over the on-rushing Filip Kurto and a combination of Ureña, Mariappa and the upright resulted in the ball dropping into the net. Smith wheeled away in celebration and the Mariners were up and running in the west.
Jason Cummings came to the Coast as a proven goal-scorer in Scotland but he has shown that he has more to his game, dropping deep to pick up the ball and starting to build the start of a partnership with Marco Ureña that is setting the A-League alight. Cummings alone has been involved in seven of the 17 goals that have been scored since his arrival. An impressive impact to his life in Australia.
He almost added another assist to his name with Matt Hatch combining with the Scotsman on the edge of the box and sending his shot over the bar into the kids on the hill unfortunately for the pacey winger.
Montgomery’s impressive side would complete the afternoon with a perfect fourth goal. Marco Ureña found himself once again on the scoresheet after Cummings’ third assist of the day, but the linesman’s flag was raised for offside. After a VAR check, the offside was withdrawn and the celebrations continued for the large majority around Glen Willow. A collective celebration by the fence ensued as the youthful Mariners team bossed the Bulls all over the park and the fans adored this unique team from Gosford.
Macarthur would find a 2nd goal from Lachlan Rose late on which didn’t dampen the mood, and Mark Birighitti would pull off a save of the season contender, tipping a goal-bound header onto the crossbar and pushing it to safety. Simply stunning from the shot-stopper once more.
A perfect afternoon for all at Glen Willow Stadium, as the A-League went west, and the Mariners went north up the table into 8th.
The Yellow and Navy will be back in action at Central Coast Stadium against Adelaide United on Saturday at 7:45pm.