I love myself a bit of Sunday afternoon/early evening football, and Round 9 saw the Central Coast Mariners host the Newcastle Jets in another instalment of the F3 Derby.
The Mariners were looking to get a win under their belt and avoid yet another defeat (303 days since their last win to be precise), while the Jets were bolstered with the return of Roy O’Donovan following the lengthy ban for that martial arts kick on Melbourne Victory’s Lawrence Thomas in last season’s grand final.
The first few minutes saw the Mariners enjoying possession earning two back to back free-kick in the 3rd and 4th minutes for their troubles but the Jets cleared both out of the danger zone. O’Donovan was ready to pounce in the 12th minute for the visitors but was an easy save for Pearce. A few minutes later and the Mariners were awarded another free-kick with McGlinchey sending the ball over the wall but straight to Moss. A minute later the ball was on the other end of the pitch with Dimi Petratos sending his shot waayyyy off target.
The Jets started to gain momentum and possession with Petratos sending a beautiful cross O’Donovan’s way but it was read and collected by Pearce in the 24rd minute. The next five minutes saw a couple more shots on goal by Petratos, O’Donovan and Jair but the Jets failed to find the back of the net.
Matt Simon made the Jets pay for failing to seize their opportunities when he knocked in a Millar cross into the back of the net!
1-0 for the Mariners!
Following the goal, the intensity seemed to rise a little with the Jets clearly a little frustrated and Hoffman conceding a foul on Connor Pain in the 41st, earning a yellow card for his troubles. Hoole sent the free-kick on target over the wall but Moss came to the rescue with a parry. But clearly being a goal ahead wasn’t enough for Pain who startef a bit of argy bargy, in the 44th seeing both Shabow and Pain earn a yellow.
Not to be left out, the Jets goal keeper Moss came over for a jog to get his two cents in and also earned a yellow.
The fourth official signals an extra three minutes of stoppage time and a challenge on Ugarkovic saw Vargas come across to have a word, but in typical Matt Simon fashion decides to let him know what’s what but in the end walked away.
Shout out to the personal favourite Daniel Georgievski for going in to diffuse the situation when we all know at the best of times he can be a bit of a hot head. Maybe wanting to behave just before Christmas so he doesn’t end up with coal under the tree.
The second half saw the Mariners with an early chance in the 46th minute but Moss managed to smother the ball and a minute later Jair couldn’t send his header on target, sending it over the cross bar. Following an unsuccessful free-kick in the 51st minute, the Jets were increasing the pressure on the Mariners in search of their equaliser.
The 63rd saw Moss make a crucial save to deny Pain from a one-on-one opportunity and you couldn’t help but think there is no way this game will finish with only one goal. Sure enough, it was Jason Hoffman who sent in a beautifully timed header from Jair’s corner to level the scores in the 66th.
It was just what the Jets needed to boost their confidence but I also wonder if the Mariners couldn’t help but panic a little considering their poor form so far this season.
The Jets earned another corner in the 72nd but the Mariners managed to clear the area with little trouble. However, it wasn’t over just yet with Petratos again sending a wonderful free-kick to the near post but Hoffman headed this one over the cross-bar.
The Jets were looking more and more dangerous with each passing minute and they could’ve had the lead in the 80th following a Sheppard strike but it was ruled offside. That didn’t deter the Jets when Vargas produced some beautiful sexy football taking a ridiculously light touch to control the ball and then hitting it beautifully, in the 82nd minute.
2-1 for Newcastle!
A little more salt in the wounds for the Mariners when O’Neill had to come off with what looked like a shoulder or collarbone injury, leaving his side to see the final five minutes (plus stoppage) with ten men as all of the substitutes had been used.
Not content to keep the score at 2-1 both sides tried to push for another goal, with the Mariners failing to find a solid chance.
The fourth official signalled an extra four minutes of stoppage time but it seemed to be case of a little too late for the Mariners, trying their hardest to find an equaliser.
The Jets earn bragging rights just in time for the festive season, and the Mariners (again) finish another week on the bottom of the ladder with only 2 points this season and 4 behind second-last Brisbane Roar and 18 behind league leaders Perth Glory.