An extra-time goal from Mitchell Duke helped the Central Coast Mariners snatch a 1-0 victory over the Newcastle Jets in an entertaining F3 Derby at Central Coast Stadium.
The Jets dominated the opening 25 minutes and were highly competitive throughout but Duke's opportunistic score in two minutes from full-time denied the visitors what would have been a well-deserved point.
WHAT THEY SAID
Mitchell Duke: "I think the boys fought it out quite well for the first round and we're happy to get the three points. To be fair I was just lucky, I just made the run and it was a cheeky little tap in and I'll take it.
Duke 92': Glen Trifiro floated a ball into the box and Duke flicked the ball into the back of the net from close range after a deflection from a Jets defender.
James Virgili produced a beautiful ball to put Jonathan Steele into space in the 57th minute. Steele cleverly tried to chip Liam Reddy who was stranded but sent his shot just over the crossbar.
It was opportunistic but Duke took his chance when it presented after several misses from both sides throughout the contest.
The Mariners gave the ball away far too easily in the midfield and had to rely solely on counter-attacking opportunities to trouble the Jets.
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD
Possession, possession, possession. That'll be the message from Mariners mentor Phil Moss at training this week.
THE FINAL WORD
It took the Mariners 25 minutes to get going and when they did their chances all came on the counter-attack. Import Malick Mane showed some promising glimpses for the hosts but he'll need better supply from his midfield in the coming weeks. It wasn't pretty but Moss' men were good enough to take the three points in front of a vocal home crowd.
The Jets were the better side for long periods of the contest and created ample chances to score the match winner. There lack of finishing power, along with some desperate Mariners defence, but it was a promising start for the men from Newcastle despite Duke's late match-winner.
Central Coast: Roux (Cernak-Okanya 80'), Rose, Anderson, Hutchinson, Montgomery, Duke, Reddy, Mane, Sim (Fitzgerald 68'), Bosnar, Kim (Trifiro 63').
Newcastle: Birighitti, Neville, Regan, Jaliens, Griffiths (Hoole 68'), Gallagher, Montano (Jeronimo 77'), Pepper, Virgili (Flores 62'), Steele, Carney.
Scorers: Duke (92'),
Red cards: N/A
Yellow cards: Regan (8'), Jeronimo (82'), Flores (84'), Jaliens (87'),
Conditions: 23°C, dry.