Central Coast fans are in for a treat on New Year’s Eve as Cahill, Fornaroli and Melbourne City come to town for the Mariners’ traditional December 31 clash to see out 2016. And for Central Coast, there's been plenty to celebrate on and off the pitch.
Celebrating New Year's Eve on picturesque Brisbane Waters after watching the Mariners play has become a fixture for the locals since the start of the Hyundai A-League, with this year’s the 11 th edition of a game that attracts fantastic crowds in Gosford.
It all started in the inaugural season of the competition as a big win over F3 Derby rivals Newcastle Jets on the last day of the year cemented what has become a must-see event in Gosford.
It’s a fixture that has attracted big crowds (averaging 13,721) before revellers flock to the waterfront across from the stadium to watch the fireworks and see in the New Year.
But football is about results and we have a look at how the Mariners have fared on NYE.
Mariners’ record on NYE
Played: 10, Won: 5, Drawn 1, Lost 4
So, let's take a look back on those games...
2005 – Mariners 4-1 Newcastle Jets: A brace to John Hutchinson and further goals from Andre Gumprecht and Damien Brown capped a memorable night in front of 11,612 fans
2006 – Mariners 1-2 Melbourne Victory: In front of a crowd of more than 15,000, the Mariners were beaten narrowly, with Adam Kwasnik scoring their only goal.
2007 – Mariners 2-5 Melbourne Victory: Goals from Mile Jedinak and John Aloisi weren’t enough for the high-flying Mariners as Victory ran riot in front of a record NYE crowd of 18,686.
2008 – Mariners 1-0 Perth Glory: John Hutchinson scored the only goal of the match to ensure the majority of the 15,546 fans had a memorable end to the year.
2009 – Mariners 0-2 Wellington Phoenix: Paul Ifill’s double handed the ‘Nix all three points in front of 11,137 fans.
2010 – Mariners 1-2 Melbourne Victory: A late Grant Brebner goal won it for the visitors after Adrian Leijer’s own goal looked like it would get the Mariners a point, with 12,409 in attendance.
2011 – Mariners 0-0 Gold Coast United: Almost 15,000 crammed in at Gosford but neither side was able to find a breakthrough
2012 – Mariners 1-0 Perth Glory: Bernie Ibini’s second-half strike won it for the Mariners in front of 14,591.
2013 - Mariners 2-1 Perth Glory: Defender Trent Sainsbury and playmaker Michael McGlinchey scored the goals in a hard-fought win for the hosts in front of 12,919 fans.
2015 – Mariners 3-1 Wellington Phoenix : Despite their struggles in the league, more than 10,000 fans were on hand as Fabio Ferreira, Mitch Austin and Michael Neill scored the goals in a big win for the hosts.
So is the NYE clash a celebration for the Mariners?
Despite their big win in the inaugural season, the early years of the fixture weren’t positive for the club, losing four of the next five from 2006 to 2010.
But recent history suggests Mariners players love the occasion, unbeaten in the last four, including wins for the last three years.
And it’s obviously a hit with the fans with numbers always over the 10,000 mark and an average of almost 14,000 per match.That trend should continue with Cahill and co. in Gosford this year. Will the Mariners continue their good recent NYE record and give their fans the perfect end to 2016?