Hat-trick hero Edmondson helps Mariners into AFC Cup Zonal Final

Central Coast Mariners cruised into the ASEAN Zonal Final of the AFC Cup with a 4-0 win over Cambodian Champions Phnom Pehn Crown, setting up a historic Zonal Final with A-League rivals Macarthur.

Ryan Edmondson netted a hat-trick in less than half an hour, after coming off the bench in the second half, after Jing Reec had given the Mariners a first half lead.

Mark Jackson, seeking a positive response from defeat on Saturday, made three changes to his starting eleven. Storm Roux and Reec came in, as did Ronald Barcellos who made his first start for the club since arriving from partner club Portimonense SAD.

The hosts asserted their dominance from the start and it was Barcellos who had the first sight of goal, timing his arrival in the box just a second too early from Jacob Farrell’s cross and couldn’t guide his stooping header on target.

The deadlock was broken on 37 minutes by Reec, who swivelled in the box before finding the bottom corner with his left foot to give the Mariners the lead.

The second half started with more Mariners pressure as they looked to kill the game, Miguel Di Pizio was so close with a lob that nestled on the roof of the Phnom Penh goal.

Edmondson was introduced on the hour mark and it took him just over ten minutes to make his mark. He was involved in the build-up as a sweeping move created space for Roux down the right.

The full back cut the ball back to Edmondson who arrived at the edge of the box to sweep the ball across goal into the bottom corner, his first goal for the club.

The first was provided by the team, the second was made all by his own tireless running, one of the traits that made Jacko bring him to the club.

After chasing down what seemed a lost cause in the left channel, Edmondson bullied the Phnom Penh defender off the ball, before coolly rounding the keeper and slotting home his second.

Edmondson wasn’t keen on settling for a brace, as he chased another long ball in added time and Phnom Penh keeper Soe Moe Kyaw was caught out by the bounce, Edmondson kept his cool to slot into the empty net to claim his first career hat-trick and secure the win for the Mariners.

The win sets up an exciting ASEAN Zonal Final clash with Macarthur, after they also ran out convincing winners in their semi-final on Tuesday evening.

The clash in Campbelltown next Thursday (February 22nd) will be the first time two A-League sides have faced each other in Asia. Keep an eye out on Official Central Coast Mariners channels as details on that fixture will be announced in due course.

The Mariners are back at home for the third time in eight days this Sunday, as Western Sydney Wanderers arrive on the Coast for a huge Isuzu UTE A-League clash. Get your tickets for that game now!