The Central Coast Mariners have continued their promising pre-season, defeating a strong Melbourne Victory side 3-2 in Melbourne on Wednesday afternoon.
Sam Silvera scored the first goal of the match for the Mariners, with a Paul Ayongo double sealing the pleasing result on the road.
The game came after a long day of travel for the side, with the team leaving the Mariners Centre of Excellence for Melbourne at 7:45am this morning. They are heading home tonight, completing the full journey in one gruelling yet successful day.
The fixture also marked the club debut of new Brazilian recruit Marco Tulio, who received 15 minutes of game time as he settles into the squad with the season approaching.
Silvera got the Mariners off to the best possible start, scoring early to give the side a 1-0 lead. The winger received a perfect ball from a corner, with his effort on goal taking a slight deflection before beating Victory keeper Paul Izzo.
A D’Agostino double before the break left the Mariners with work to do, trailing 2-1 at the half time.
With the second period underway Melbourne brought on reigning Johnny Warren medallist Jake Brimmer and former Mariner Noah Smith, as they continued to play many of their regular starting side.
Despite this it would be Ayongo and Nisbet who stole the show shortly after, with the pair connecting for two Mariners goals in quick succession.
The new recruit made a beautiful run into the box, with Nisbet slipping him a perfect ball in behind. His left footed finish found the back of the net, with the forward hitting it hard and low across Izzo into the right-hand corner.
A second Ayongo goal gave the Mariners the lead after the pair linked up yet again, with Nisbet finding space inside Melbourne’s box. The midfielder cut the ball back to Ayongo, with the striker using his right foot to nestle it into the goal.
The Mariners defended resolutely in the final 10 minutes to close out the game, with Cresnar, Jok and Kuzevski getting game time in the final stages of the 3-2 victory.
The result continues our promising pre-season, off the back of our 4-2 victory against a strong Melbourne City outfit last weekend.
The Mariners now play Western United on Sunday in Melbourne, with just over two weeks until our opening A-League Men’s fixture against the Newcastle Jets on October 8th at Central Coast Stadium.
Mariners starting XI: Vukovic (GK), Aquilina, Kaltak, Nisbet, Balard, Silvera, Nkololo, Farrell, Ruhs, Hall, Ayongo
Victory starting XI: Izzo, Lopez Fernandez, Marchan Vidal, Broxham, Ikonomidis, Brillante, Folami, Timotheou, D’Agostino, Miranda, Wilson