Matt Simon says he’s happy to keep playing the ‘super-sub’ role for Sydney FC after his match-winning performance to sink former club Central Coast Mariners on Saturday.
Simon, a once adored hero of the Mariners faithful, came back to haunt his old club as he came off the bench to score two late goals as the Sky Blues prevailed 3-1 in Gosford.
The 29-year-old has impressed in four substitute appearances so far this season and now has goals to go with his eye-catching cameo performances.
It’s sure to give coach Graham Arnold some pleasant selection headaches, especially with fellow striker Shane Smeltz also opening his account for the season against the Mariners.
“At the moment I’m doing my part off the bench and I’m quite happy to do that,” Simon told ABC Radio afterwards.
“This team is unbelievable. Every week I have to concentrate and train well to just get on the bench.
“We’ve got 25, 26 players who can be in the starting XI. That’s the main goal each week, to stay fit and available for selection.
“It’s great for Smeltzy to get off the mark tonight too, he’s going to be unstoppable now,” Simon added.
In an entertaining and controversial clash at Central Coast Stadium, Smeltz gave Sydney FC a first half lead only for the Mariners to equalise a minute later through Roy O’Donovan.
The match then swung the Sky Blues favour three minutes before the break as the home side had Nick Fitzgerald sent off for a second bookable offence.
Scores remained level until the last eight minutes as Simon made the Mariners pay for cutting him at the end of last season, scoring twice to keep Sydney at the top of the Hyundai A-League ladder.
“I’ve played a lot of games here and scored a lot of goals. It was a bit of a different feeling scoring for another team but I enjoyed it and I’m glad we could get the three points tonight,” Simon said.
“It’s well-documented I never wanted to leave this place but it was taken out of my hands. Lucky enough Sydney gave me the chance to go down there.
“Arnie knows how I work and I think it’s probably showing. I’m happy on and off the field. I’m really enjoying my football and my part I’m playing in the team.
“Football is an up-an-down sport. I know as good as anyone it can turn around in the blink of an eye. You’ve got to ride the highs while they are high and work harder when there’s lows.
“I’m ecstatic to come back and just get the three points for the team.”