Jets compound Mariners misery in F3 Derby fightback
Newcastle Jets came from behind to record fourth successive F3 Derby victory as Central Coast Mariners slumped to a demoralising 2-1 home defeat on Sunday.
Jason Hoffman and Ronny Vargas both struck in the space of 16 minutes to overturn a half-time deficit and extend their rivals' winless run in the Hyundai A-League to 15 matches.
The Mariners had appeared on course to snap that streak when Matt Simon overshadowed Roy O'Donovan's return by nodding in the opener, but it proved a false dawn for the bottom-placed hosts as Ernie Merrick's men moved level on points with sixth-placed Adelaide United.
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Newcastle settled the quicker of the two sides and would have been ahead had Dimitri Petratos not blazed wide following Jair's knock-down in the box.
The Jets playmaker then forced Adam Pearce into a sharp stop from a free-kick before Jair wastefully volleyed over the crossbar from the resultant corner.
Central Coast needed some inspiration and Simon provided it in concert with Matt Millar in the 36th minute.
The right-back initiated a one-two, charged to the byline and perfectly picked out Simon's run to the back post, where the striker showed trademark determination to head home.
Newcastle amped up the pressure in search of an equaliser after the interval, although they were fortunate not to fall further behind when Connor Pain guided a gilt-edged one-on-one chance straight at Glen Moss.
The miss quickly proved costly. Hoffman rose well to nod in Jair's corner in the 66th minute and it was one-way traffic from there.
An offside flag denied Kaine Sheppard from a set-piece as the closing stages approached, but the substitute was content to provide the pass from which Venezuelan star Vargas coolly decided the contest eight minutes from the end.
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