F3 Derby: Mariners edge tight clash with Jets to go second on A-League table
Central Coast Mariners notched their first win in seven games by sneaking past a hard-working Newcastle Jets outfit in a 1-0 F3 Derby win at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday night.
A goalless first half set up an intriguing second 45 in which the Mariners showed improvement after the Jets enjoyed the ascendancy early doors. But it took a spot kick to hand Alen Stajcic's side all three points on the night, after referee Jonathan Barreiro awarded the visitors a disputable penalty for a challenge put in by Angus Thurgate on Daniel Bouman inside his defensive penalty box.
A lengthy VAR check upheld Barreiro's decision on the field - the Jets players vented their frustrations as Matt Simon stepped forward to convert from the spot and hand the visitors a one-goal lead.
Jets substitute Valentino Yuel went one-on-one with Mark Birighitti late in the show but the Mariners 'keeper won out, as the ball escaped Yuel's control and faded out for a goal kick.
The Mariners held on to the final whistle to clinch a 1-0 victory, becoming the third team to occupy second spot on the A-League table in the last 24 hours after both Macarthur FC and Sydney FC took their turns as the closest team to league-leaders Melbourne City with wins notched earlier in Matchweek 21.
The Jets put on a strong performance throughout the opening half-hour of play, putting the Mariners under pressure showing intensity and hunger to get on top early doors.
Jason Hoffman sparked the home side into life with a chance inside three minutes, benefiting off Kye Rowles' misread to get in behind the Mariners defender and charge toward goal.
Birighitti got off his line to block the space, and Hoffman sent his shot on target - only to hit the face of the Central Coast 'keeper who bravely kept the scores at 0-0.
An opportunity presented to Nigel Boogaard in the aftermath of Hoffman's early strike when Ruon Tongyik challenged Thurgate to send the ball out for a corner.
Boogaard ventured forward to get a strong header on the delivery, hitting the roof of the net instead of angling his attempt on target.
Mariners forward Simon hit the side-netting on a run forward, before being flagged offside for venturing past Newcastle's defensive line in the build-up. The front-man proceeded to link up with Marco Ureña on 29 minutes to get in on goal once again, only for Jets gloveman Lewis Italiano to block the space and provide the visitors with a corner.
Down the other end a trio of Jets forwards created an opening through a series of headers, with Roy O'Donovan finding Hoffman, who in turn found Luka Prso before O'Donovan got into the box to regain possession once more. O'Donovan attacked space near the Mariners' goal on a tight angle and elected to volley on goal instead of place the ball across the face, burning his attacking teammates to find the side-netting.
The Mariners were lacking a spark in the first half but Josh Nisbet ensured the visiting side sprung into life immediately after the break, dispatching a shot on goal after a neat pass from Jack Clisby off the left flank to test Italiano within the opening minute of the second half.
In the 51st minute of play the Mariners were gifted an opportunity to take the lead when Thurgate and Bouman collided in Newcastle's defensive penalty area. Referee Barreiro pointed to the spot, interpreting the collision as a foul by Thurgate jumping across the path of the Mariners forward and sending Bouman to the deck under contact.
After a lengthy VAR check the decision was upheld, leaving Simon to place the ball on the spot and bury it into the bottom-left corner, running off to celebrate ahead of a lively bay of away supporters.
Craig Deans brought Valentino Yuel off the bench in the aftermath of the opening goal of the game and the Jets substitute almost set up the equaliser, gathering the ball in the box and laying it to O'Donovan who trapped the ball on the turn before sending a first-time shot off his left boot on target - which Birighitti tipped over the crossbar.
As the clock ticked toward added time Yuel combined with fellow Jets substitute Ramy Najjarine to craft one last chance to find an equaliser.
Najjarine and Yuel connected with a one-two down the left flank, with the Najjarine playing Yuel in on goal to face up with Birighitti. Yuel attempted to dribble around the Mariners stopper, but lost his footing as his touch sent the ball dribbling out for a Mariners goal kick.
Newcastle Jets v Brisbane Roar
Friday, May 21 2021
McDonald Jones Stadium
Kick-off: 7.05pm AEST
Melbourne City v Central Coast Mariners
Saturday, May 22 2021
Kick-off: 7.10pm AEST
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