Central Coast Mariners got themselves off the mark in the Isuzu UTE A-League with a huge 3-1 derby day victory against fierce rivals Newcastle Jets, at the Industree Group Stadium on Saturday evening.
Storm Roux’s last gasp first half strike gave the Mariners a deserved lead, before Will Wilson’s lethal finish doubled their advantage 12 minutes into the second period.
There would be a nervy period for the hosts after Archie Goodwin got one back for the Jets on 76 minutes but all nerves were put to bed in stoppage time when Jing Reec rifled home to seal a superb derby day victory.
The Mariners started the game on top and were almost ahead after just a minute, Angel Torres got in down the left and flashed a ball across goal which took a deflection off a Newcastle defender and hit the side netting.
Mark Jackson’s team continued to dominate, with Jets failing to register a single shot in the first half. On 41 minutes, Josh Nisbet saw his curling effort clipped the top of the crossbar.
The Mariners then had a glorious chance to open the scoring on 45 minutes after some more tidy play down the left between Jacob Farrell and Torres. This saw Marco Tulio given the chance to bare down on goal but his effort was straight at Ryan Scott.
The Mariners finally broke the deadlock with the last attack of the half and it was the two full-backs who combined. A delightful cross from Farrell was met on the volley at the back post by Roux to make it 1-0.
The home dominance continued in the early stages of the second half, Tulio showed some sensational skill in the box before lofting a cross into the six yards box but nobody in yellow was on hand to nod home.
Moments later, Farrell got in down the left and opted to square the ball instead of taking the selfish option, but a Jets defender threw himself in the way of the cross.
The pressure from the hosts continued, Alou Kuol fashioned a chance out of almost nothing with some strong forward play, before his shot from a tight angle was held by Scott.
At the other end, Jets’ first attack of note saw the ball drop to Lachlan Bayliss inside the box after a cross from the left, it looked like he would have a free shot on goal before Nisbet superbly threw himself in front of the shot.
Then on 57 minutes, the hosts made it two. Max Balard played his way out of pressure with a one-two with Nisbet before driving forward with the ball and perfectly timing his pass to Wilson. The youngster took one touch before smashing home his first Isuzu UTE A-League goal for the Mariners.
Newcastle substitute Archie Goodwin made things nervy for the hosts with a goal on 76 minutes, latching on to a ball over the top before rounding Danny Vukovic and slotting home to make it 2-1.
The Champions held firm in defence from then on and hit on the break to ease all nerves late on, Reec making himself the second Mariner on the night to open his Isuzu UTE A-League account with a fabulous finish after combining with Tulio.
The Mariners are back at the Industree Group Stadium on Wednesday evening as we take on Terranganu in the AFC Cup, where a win will secure our qualification to the next round with a game to spare.
You can get your tickets for that game HERE!