The Central Coast Mariners have fallen to a tough defeat against Perth Glory on Sunday afternoon, going down 2-1 at Central Coast Stadium.
Despite hitting the front early through the in-form Samuel Silvera, Perth goals either side of the half time break handed us our first defeat of the season.
While the result was disappointing, the match marked the official farewell of Mariners all-time leading goal scorer Matt Simon.
The club legend was able to spend time with fans and family throughout the fixture, as well as cheering the team on in bay 16.
After an even opening 20 minutes with both sides having half chances, it was the Mariners who got the scoring underway courtesy of Samuel Silvera.
Fresh off his stunning goal last weekend against Wellington, the winger was back to his goalscoring best, with the help of Jason Cummings and Paul Ayongo.
Desperate to make something of a difficult ball Cummings pushed through a set Perth defensive line, cutting the ball back perfectly to the penalty spot.
He found Ayongo, who quickly dropped the ball to Silvera running in from behind. The youngster hit it first time, drilling it into the bottom corner to give the Mariners an early lead in the 21st minute.
The Mariners continued to apply pressure following the first goal, going close to doubling their lead on multiple occasions.
Despite this Perth found an equaliser just minutes before the half time break, coming after a stunning save from Danny Vukovic.
Our captain stopped a Ben Azubel header from almost point-blank range, only for Giordano Colli to finish off the scraps from right in front in the 43rd minute to draw the score level.
With only one minute of added time, the two sides went into the sheds locked at 1-all, with the match firmly up for grabs.
The Mariners had the opening chance of the second half in the 51st minute, with a perfectly weighted Cummings pass across field finding Jacob Farrell in space on the left. The defender opted to hit it first time, with the ball skewing off to the left.
Three minutes later Perth scored the go-ahead goal after some confusion in the Mariners defensive line. Aaron McEneff was the man to find the ball directly in front of goal after it ricocheted into his path, the forward rounding Vukovic in the 56th minute to hand Perth the 2-1 lead.
Following the goal the Mariners made multiple substitutions, with Garang Kuol, Marco Tulio and Michael Ruhs all coming on to try and salvage a draw.
The trio all had an impact, looking dangerous as the game begun to open up.
The Mariners almost had the equaliser through the boot of Jason Cummings in the 70th minute, with the striker poking a shot goalward from close range. Perth’s defence did just enough, with the ball deflecting for a corner.
Garang Kuol nearly had his first of the season only 10 minutes later after a brilliant run down the right-hand sideline from substitute Thomas Aquilina. The right back cut the ball back to the six-yard line, with Kuol narrowly missing with his outstretched left foot.
Farrell was unable to get a shot off after the ball fell to his feet, with Perth’s defence flocking back to clean up.
With Perth players going down for cramp and other injuries regularly throughout the second half, it was surprising that only five minutes of injury time was to be added.
Despite this stoppage time all taking place in the Mariners offensive half, Perth’s defence held strong, seeing out the 2-1 victory on the road.
The Mariners eyes now turn to next weekend’s home game against Western United. While the match was meant to take place in Mudgee, it has been moved due to the torrential rain that the region has faced.
Instead, the match will be held at Central Coast Stadium next Saturday at 5pm, with tickets available HERE!