Mariners move to second after F3 Derby delight

After weeks of threatening, the Central Coast Mariners have finally moved into second spot on the Hyundai A-League ladder, as a goal in each half propelled them to a famous F3 derby win over arch rivals Newcastle Jets at EnergyAustralia Stadium tonight.

After weeks of threatening, the Central Coast Mariners have finally moved into second spot on the Hyundai A-League ladder, as a goal in each half propelled them to a famous F3 derby win over arch rivals Newcastle Jets at EnergyAustralia Stadium tonight.

Matt Simon opened the Mariners account 14 minutes in before John Hutchinson wrapped things up with three minutes remaining, much to the delight of Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold.

“I didn-t think at the start of the year we-d be in second place because our goals were to make the top six, and still our goal is to make the top four but we-re going to give the top two a real shake,” said Arnold.

“Overall I think for the third game in a week, we-ve had Wellington, Brisbane and now Newcastle here, I-m very proud of the boys- performance. It was a bit sloppy at times but overall you-ve got to be happy with a 2-nil win over Newcastle.

Coming into the match with plenty of confidence on the back of Wednesday-s impressive 3-all draw with runaway competition leader Brisbane, the Mariners showed their hunger early, as first Patricio Perez fired over before Matt Simon tested Ben Kennedy, both within the opening three minutes.

Perez won a free kick seven minutes in which ultimately spelled the end of the night for Newcastle skipper Kasey Wehrman – who came out of the collision second best – and Josh Rose floated the set piece in to Alex Wilkinson at the back post who headed just wide.

Less than a quarter of an hour in, the Mariners would deservedly hit the lead, Oliver Bozanic playing a lovely ball over the top for Matt Simon, who made the most of a defensive lapse from Nikolai Topor Stanley to turn and finish with aplomb.

The Jets had the chance to square things up just three minutes later after a wayward ball from Pedj Bojic found Labinot Haliti, but Patrick Zwaanswijk did well to block his shot for a corner.

Ryan Griffiths provided a good ball from the left for Haliti in the six-yard box, but December nominee for the NAB Young Footballer of the Year Mathew Ryan did brilliantly to deny him from point blank range.

Marko Jesic shot wide from 25 yards while Michael McGlinchey tested Kennedy from a similar distance at the other end, but to no avail, as the Mariners held their one-goal advantage at the break.

Topor Stanley again made a defensive lapse early in the second half allowing Simon a sniff, and the big striker could have had claims for a penalty after a fairly clumsy tangle.

Ruben Zadkovich-s involvement was minimal until the 53rd minute, when a good run and fierce shot forced another fine save from Ryan, and two minutes later Kwasnik flashed wide after being put through by Perez, although he was moving away from goal.

Simon delivered a cross down the left with 20 minutes remaining but it was marginally out of reach of the diminutive Perez lurking on the edge of the six yard bo.

The Jets desperately sought an equaliser as the clock wound down, Sasho Petrovski – the man who broke Mariner hearts with an injury time equaliser the last time the two sides met – flashed a header over the bar after a good delivery from impressive youngster James Virgili.

The Mariners too had chances to put the game beyond doubt, as first, substitute Michael Baird fired wide after latching on to a McGlinchey through ball, while Simon shot at Kennedy soon after.

McGlinchey forced a fingertip save from Kennedy after a free-kick on the edge of the area as the Mariners continued to press, and got their reward with just three minutes of regular time remaining.

Simon whipped in a cross from the left and Baird showed plenty of strength to lay off for John Hutchinson despite falling, and the foundation Mariner with a penchant for F3 derbies fired home past Kennedy to seal the deal.

There is no rest for the Yellow and Navy, their Western odyssey for Wednesday-s clash with Perth beginning less than 24 hours after tonight-s famous F3 derby triumph.

“We-ve got as tough trip to Perth tomorrow and we have to play in Perth on Wednesday. Looking at the boys today and what I was thinking beforehand, I don-t think we can take some of the players that played today because of fatigue, we can-t afford to risk an injury because of all the travel. If a player gets a soft tissue injury now they-ll probably miss the rest of the season.

Mariners vice-captain and goalscorer John Hutchinson summed up the mood in the camp.

“It-s a massive game for the club and the whole region but (as players) we need to realise it-s just another game of football, but as a foundation player it-s always a big occasion and that rubbed off on the rest of the team that it was a derby game. It-s three points today and another clean sheet.

“We knew what was at stake, if we won the game we-d go to second on goal difference, and I was proud of what the boys achieved out there today,” Hutchinson said.

The Central Coast Mariners next match of the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season will be against Perth Glory this Wednesday, 19 January at nib Stadium, Perth. Kick-off is at 8:00pm WST (10:00pm AEDT).

Match Details

Newcastle Jets 0
Central Coast Mariners 2 (Simon 14-, Hutchinson 87-)

Newcastle Jets: 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2. Taylor REGAN, 4. Nikolai TOPOR STANLEY, 7. Kasey WEHRMAN (26. James VIRGILI 12-), 10, Ruben ZADKOVICH, 11. Tarek ELRICH, 12, Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 14. Labinot HALITI (13. Sasho PETROVSKI 65-), 17. Marcello FIORENTINI, 18. Marko JESIC (16. Jeremy BROCKIE 77-), 23. Ryan GRIFFITHS.

Subs Not Used: 40. Matthew NASH (gk).

Yellow Cards: Fiorentini 62-, Jesic 70-, Petrovski 90+2-
Red Cards: Nil

Central Coast Mariners: 20. Mathew RYAN (gk), 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC (16. Trent SAINSBURY 90-), 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 8. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 10. Patricio PEREZ (7. John HUTCHINSON 76-), 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 18. Alex WILKINSON, 19. Matt SIMON, 23. Adam KWASNIK (13. Michael BAIRD 65-).

Subs not Used: 30. Paul HENDERSON (gk).

Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil

Referee: Chris BEATH

Crowd: 13,463 @ EnergyAustralia Stadium, Newcastle.