Preview: Newcastle Jets v Central Coast Mariners

It’s a battle of New South Wales! The F3 derby is back at EnergyAustralia Stadium

Newcastle Jets v Central Coast Mariners Sunday 16th January 5:00pm

It-s a battle of New South Wales! The F3 derby is back at EnergyAustralia Stadium as these two local rivals go head-to-head.

Games between local rivals always offer plenty of drama, but when they occur at the business end of a season, the excitement levels go through the roof! To add fuel to the fire of this derby, this is the first of two meetings between these two sides in the next month, as they are scheduled to go at it again on an explosive last weekend of the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season.

What a boost three points here would be as both teams hunt for glory. Make your Sunday afternoon rock with rivalry!

The only other time the sides have taken each other on this season ended all-square, but to Jets the point felt more like a win. Trailing 1-0 and staring defeat in the face, they grabbed a dramatic 92nd minute goal to send The Squadron wild.

Former Mariner Sasho Petrovski was the hero on that day, lashing home a loose ball at the death after Matt Simon had put the Mariners ahead four minutes into the second half.

This derby represents the second home game in a week for Jets following the Tuesday night tussle with North Queensland Fury. They certainly went into this week with the top six in their sights after last weekend-s comfortable away win.

In the first of two successive games against the Townsville side, Jets cruised into a two-goal lead in the first 15 minutes through Ruben Zadkovich and Labinot Haliti before Ryan Griffiths wrapped up the win with 20 minutes remaining and made sure that Mark Hughes- late penalty was barely even a consolation.

While this is also Mariners- second game in a few days, the trip to EnergyAustralia Stadium represents their first away outing in over a month and ends a run of five home fixtures in a row. They certainly won-t be daunted by getting back on the road again though. They-re a tough nut to crack away from home, and have lost fewer times away than at the Bluetongue in the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season. Their last away loss was way back in October and that was in Brisbane, hardly the easiest place to go.

The match in Newcastle will mark the away debut of Mariners- Michael Baird, who signed last week from Perth Glory and made an appearance from the bench in the hard-fought win against Wellington. Baird's Glory contract was due to expire at the end of this season, but Perth agreed to release the 27-year-old early so he could join the Mariners on a 15-month deal. Meanwhile, Jets will be without Ljubo Milicevic, who damaged his ankle against Sydney and might be out for a few weeks. Indeed, he may not be back this season.

With both sides keen to get one over their local rivals and, more importantly, get crucial points on the board as the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season draws towards a close, this match up at EnergyAustralia Stadium is simply not to be missed.

The Squadron can expect quite the vocal battle with the large contingent of the Yellow Army that are sure to be in attendance, meaning there is certain to be a pressure cooker atmosphere from the very first whistle. Why would you be anywhere else on Sunday afternoon? Score a ticket today and get ready for derby drama!

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