A night of football back under the palm trees at Central Coast Stadium played out under the floodlights, as Nick Montgomery’s men found themselves back at home taking on Carl Veart’s Adelaide United.
The inclement weather wasn’t enough to dampen the occasion, a game that near-well had it all. Three goals, two send-offs, and three points to send the coast faithful home on a high.
The first half saw a frenetic forty-five minutes – a back and forth start to the fixture which saw a majority of the chances fall the way of the Yellow and Navy. Adelaide’s first choice shot stopper Joe Gauci, seeing red just halfway through the first stanza.
Adelaide’s ten men sat back and absorbed large amounts of pressure with their resistance to be broken with Marco Ureña’s volley, followed by Jason Cummings sealer, and Matt Hatch’s icing on the cake.
Back on the Coast after the Mudgee trip, it was a similar starting eleven that took all three points from Macarthur out in the wine-region – a starting debut for academy product Cameron Windust, replacing the isolating Kye Rowles with Moresche returning to the bench after overcoming his groin injury that has kept him sidelined for the past few weeks. It was a squad of 18 which contained no less than TEN Academy Graduates from the Mariners.
The first chance of the match fell the way of Jason Cummings, after a delightful, lofted through ball from Marco Ureña but the Scot skewed his shot narrowly wide.
Just a couple minutes later, Mariners fans found their voice once again – this time for a potential penalty shout after a marauding Storm Roux entered the box and tangled with the Adelaide defender, but the claims were waved away from referee Alireza Faghani.
A back-and-forth affair was flipped on its head in the 26th minute as Adelaide goalkeeper Joe Gauci and Mariners front man, Marco Ureña found themselves at the center of VAR controversy.
In what was originally adjudged a yellow card for the Red’s gloveman, after an off the ball collision with the Costa Rican on the edge of the Adelaide box. Referee, Alireza Faghani was instructed to take a second look, and in doing so, overturned his original decision, giving Gauci his marching orders.
The Mariners looked to make the man advantage count, but just couldn’t apply the telling finish to a plethora of chances that the boys in Yellow were able to create.
As the half neared its completion, the Mariners piled on the pressure and first Ureña’s chance was cleared off the line, and Cummings fierce drive was blocked by young Stephen Hall as the Mariners went into the sheds level.
Montgomery’s words still running in their ears, the Mariners almost made an instant impact in the second half – Cummings with a deft chest-flick into the path of an onrushing Noah Smith, who then found Béni Nkololo in the box, but the Frenchman was unable to dig the ball out from beneath him and the chance was squandered.
Changes were made in the 60th minute with Storm Roux leaving the field after an impressive hourlong cameo, replaced by the returning Lewis Miller – as Nkololo was substituted for speedster Matt Hatch.
Just two minutes after entering the fray, Hatch had his first involvement – getting down the left flank that seems all so familiar to him – cutting the ball back for Ureña, but unfortunately unable to find the right finish.
Adelaide’s Stephen Hall was called into action once again, the young keeper flying to his left to deny a bullet header from Marco Urena at close-range – scores still locked at 0-0, with the Mariners starting to think it wasn’t going to be their night.
It took until the 77th minute for the Adelaide rear-guard to finally be breached – substitute Lewis Miller, continued his positive influence on the game since coming on with a powerful cross into the busy Marco Urena, who rifled his volley into the side-netting past Hall.
It was a collective celebration of joy and relief from those around Central Coast Stadium who finally breached the Adelaide defensive effort.
It was a case that once one goal went in, more would follow and as the clock ticked into stoppage time, Jason Cummings was set in behind by Marco Ureña and bearing down on goal, slotted the ball into the bottom corner for his second goal at home since his arrival from Dundee.
The icing was put on the cake when Ureña set the lightning fast Matt Hatch down the left wing and after he left the tiring United players for dead, entered the box and slot home his second goal in as many games.
It was a massive result for the Mariners which keeps them in check with the rest of the teams fighting for finals positions and will travel to face Western United for the first time this season, in Ballarat.