Newcastle Jets have rained on Luis Garcia’s farewell to the Hyundai A-League with a dominant 4-2 win in Saturday’s F3 Derby at Central Coast Stadium.
The Mariners got off to the worst possible start in Gosford, conceding a goal and losing goalkeeper Paul Izzo to injury inside the opening minute.
It didn’t get much better from there with Enver Alivodic scoring his first Jets goal and Morten Nordstrand finishing with a delightful backheel.
Central Coast twice got themselves within a goal but stand-in Newcastle skipper Mateo Poljak had the final say on proceedings.
0-1 Morten Nordstrand (1’) – Ryan Kitto went for a gallop down the left flank and was picked out with a long ball. Paul Izzo inexplicably tried to intercept the pass but only managed to injure himself as he collided with Kitto. The Jets forward proceeded to pick out Nordstrand with a perfectly weighted cross, allowing his Danish teammate to head into an empty net.
0-2 Enver Alivodic (18’) – Leonardo picked out an unmarked Kitto wide on the left, who threaded the ball across the face of goal. Alivodic was able to get goal side of his defender and turn home from inside the six yard box.
1-2 Fabio Ferreira (51’ – pen.) – The Mariners found a way back into the contest from the penalty spot after Ben Kantarovski was judged to have handled in the box. Ferreira stepped up to take the spot kick, beating Birighitti with a cheeky panenka.
1-3 Morten Nordstrand (54’) – The Danish striker notched his brace with a beautiful piece of skill, turning in Kitto’s cross with a sublime backheel. Leonardo was again involved in the build-up, while it was Kitto’s third assist of the afternoon.
2-3 Roy O’Donovan (76’) – Making his final appearance for the Mariners Luis Garcia signed off from Gosford with an assist, laying on the cross for O’Donovan to head home.
2-4 Mateo Poljak (79’ ) The Jets skipper was afforded too much space on the edge of the box, mesmerising the Mariners defence with some fancy footwork before pulling the trigger and finding the back of the net.
The Mariners went close to pulling a goal back in the shadows of half-time but it was controversially struck off. Mark Birighitti came rushing off his line to make a clearance but had an air-swing allowing Luis Garcia to stroke the ball into an empty net from 30-yards. Unfortunately for the home side the referee ruled that Roy O’Donovan had fouled Daniel Mullen in the buildup and the goal was disallowed.
OPTA DATA KEY STATS
- Morten Nordstrand’s finish on 38 seconds was the fastest goal of the season.
- The Mariners became the first ever A-League club to fail to keep a cleansheet all season.
- Central Coast became the first team in A-League history to concede four goals in three consecutive matches.
Mariners striker Roy O’Donovan came centimeters away from restoring parity for the home side early in the second-half with a blistering long range strike that rattled the crossbar.
Paul Izzo had to be replaced following his calamitous collision with Kitto in the opening minute. The Mariners goalkeeper was on the receiving end of an accidental elbow to the head which floored the 21-year-old and he subsequently failed a concussion test. Adam Pearce was thrust into the action.
THE FINAL WORD
The scoreline could’ve been anything in this clash as both sides finished season 11 with underwhelming defensive efforts.
The Jets created more chances and were deserving winners, finishing the campaign unbeaten against their arch-rivals.
Another heavy loss consigned the Mariners to just three wins this season with the club in desperate needs of new recruits during the off-season.