All square on the F3

Defender Nigel Boogaard scored his first Hyundai A-League goal as the Central Coast Mariners came from a goal down to force a 1-1 draw with arch-rivals Newcastle at Gosford on Friday night.

Defender Nigel Boogaard scored his first Hyundai A-League goal as the Central Coast Mariners came from a goal down to force a 1-1 draw with arch-rivals Newcastle at Gosford on Friday night.

Boogaard headed home from close range from a Michael McGlinchey freekick in the 50th minute at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford, earning the Mariners a point in front of 9573 home fans.

Boogaard's goal, on his 23rd birthday, came three minutes after the Jets hit the lead courtesy of a low strike from Jin-Hyung Song.

After a first half dominated by the Mariners, the Jets came out with more vigour in the second half.

But coach Branko Culina will be disappointed his team led for only three minutes as the Mariners showed typical fight to hit back immediately.

The standard for the rest of the second half was not great with both sides guilty of giving away possession and poor ball control.

Newcastle had only two chances in a first half completely dominated by the home side.

The Mariners controlled possession and field position but were frustrated by some poor finishing and bad luck before the break.

Possibly Central Coast's best chance to take the lead came after only 10 minutes when striker Matt Simon beat Jets goalkeeper Ben Kennedy with a header.

But Simon's celebrations were short lived with referee Ben Williams ruling off side.

The Jets had to wait 19 minutes for their first chance when Matt Thompson had a powerful shot blocked by Mariners goalkeeper Danny Vukovic.

Three minutes later, the action returned to the other end of the field when Mariners midfielder John Hutchinson struck the post with a long-range free kick.

Hutchinson was looking for a team-mate with the free kick, but he beat everyone and Kennedy was relieved when the ball bounced away after hitting the post.

The biggest play of the first half came in the 33rd minute when Kennedy brilliantly saved a close range header from Adam Kwasnik.

Kwasnik looked certain to open the scoring but a diving Kennedy was up to the challenge with what could be one of the saves of the season.

Newcastle 1 (Song 47) Central Coast 1 (Boogaard 50) Crowd 9573 at Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford