Mariners edge tight F3 Derby to go second
Craig Deans’ Newcastle Jets came up against a strong force in the form of the high-flying Central Coast Mariners in Saturday night’s F3 Derby, going down 1-0 to their rivals.
The Jets had a golden opportunity to score early on when Jason Hoffman was played through in the first two minutes, forcing a “falcon” like save from Mark Birighitti.
The home side came close again from the resulting corner as a Nigel Boogaard header just blazed over the crossbar.
The following 20 minutes was a tussle for control, with both sides fighting to find the opener.
The Mariners were finding space through quick moves which pierced the Newcastle backline, but neither side was able to break the deadlock and entered the sheds at 0-0.
The second half started with high energy and pace, repeating the pattern of the first half.
In the 50th minute, another long VAR check for a highly controversial penalty saw Central Coast take the lead through their cult hero and leading F3 Derby goal-scorer Matt Simon.
Simon's second-half winner was his tenth of the season.
Angus Thurgate was judged to have brought down Daniel Bouman in the area, even though the replays suggested minimal contact. Simon finished the job by dispatching into the bottom left corner from twelve yards.
Roy O’Donovan, who struggled to get involved throughout, had a rare chance when he opened up his body to fire a shot and force a great save from Birighitti.
Newcastle pushed and made substitutes with returning Ramy Najjarine, Valentino Yuel and Liridon Krasniqi all coming on.
The home side was looking dangerous in the final 10 minutes when a delightful ball from Najjarine found the feet of the pacey Yuel. However, his poor touch left the home side looking for the goal to restore parity.
The final few minutes saw the Jets throw the kitchen sink at Central Coast but to no avail.
Simon lifted the away side to a massive three points, which puts them second on the ladder with only a few rounds to go.