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The Central Coast Mariners have emerged 3-2 victors in an historic #F3Derby with goals from Jordan Murray, Connor Pain and Jem Karacan, and two incredible penalty saves from Ben Kennedy.

Newcastle Jets 2 (O’Donovan 74’, Vargas 81’) Central Coast Mariners 3 (Murray 51’, Karacan 64’, Pain 67’)

The run down

It was the start of a new era for the Mariners with Alen Stajcic at the helm for an F3 Derby like no other.

It was a tough start for both sides as wet conditions forced the teams into a battle of attrition.

The Jets were on the front foot and kept the Mariners deep, but the Central Coast defence held firm.

Half an hour in, Ben Kennedy was forced into a terrific save from a Steven Ugarkovic volley which looked destined for the top corner.

The Jets continued with the momentum and could have had the lead if not for a terrific block from Jem Karacan. A Dimi Petratos shot thundered off the post and into the path of Jair, but Karacan was equal to it, sending the game to the half scoreless.

Newcastle came out on the front foot in the second half, but the Mariners’ first chance changed the game. A brilliant ball from Matthew Millar sent Jordan Murray behind the defence, and he made no mistake with the finish, squeezing it under Glen Moss.

Some sloppy play in Newcastle’s defensive third allowed Central Coast to strike again. Millar picked up the ball, dribbled past several Jets defenders and put a cross in which was deflected into the path of Karacan who thundered it home.

The second goal changed the tide of the game and another counter by the Mariners saw Jack Clisby make a run down the left, play Murray in the middle who touched it on to Connor Pain, squeezing his shot past a helpless Moss.

The Jets were eager to try and find their way back into the game and were given a lifeline when former Mariner Roy O’Donovan got on the end of a teasing cross and poked it home.

The momentum was all with Newcastle and were pushing the Mariners’ defence to their limits.

A long ball by Daniel Georgievski was well controlled by Nigel Boogaard, and his shot was parried by Kennedy into path of Ronald Vargas who made it a nail-biting finish to the game.

The last few minutes of the game were action packed as the Jets gave everything they had.

Jem Karacan was able to break up large amounts of Newcastle’s build up play and frustrated the home side. Newcastle thought they had equalised at the death as a Kaine Sheppherd shot was blocked on the line by Sam Graham.

The drama continued well into injury time, with the Jets awarded a penalty for a foul by Aspro on Roy O’Donovan.

His first attempt was saved by Ben Kennedy, before the rebound was poked home by Georgievski, only to have been found to be encroaching.

The Irishman was ordered to re-take, and aimed it bottom left again, only to be saved yet again by Ben Kennedy to earn the Mariners a famous #F3Derby win in Newcastle.

GOALS:

51’ MURRAY GOAL (0-1): A wonderful through ball by Matt Millar put in Jordan Murray who calmly slotted the ball past Moss.
64’ KARACAN GOAL (0-2): An amazing run by Matt Millar followed by a cross which was deflected into the path of Karacan who smashed in in the back of the net.
67’ PAIN GOAL (0-3): A cross by Clisby was laid off by Murray to Connor Pain who’s shot found the back of the net.
74’ O’DONOVAN GOAL (1-3): A low driven cross by Jackson was tapped in by Roy O’Donovan.
81’ VARGAS GOAL (2-3): A long ball by Georgievski was well controlled by Boogaard who’s low, driven shot was parried into the path of Ronald Vargas.

Stajcic in the media

You couldn’t pack in any more drama into ten minutes, could you?

To see the spirit and the effort and the way the lads went about their work, you could see they were fighting and scrapping for every moment; trying to win every ball, every challenge. Trying to pick themselves and the club up and everyone could see that.

I don’t think anyone could argue they didn’t give every bit of energy and effort and fortitude they had.

When you come off conceding 13 goals in the last couple of weeks, it makes sense that [defending] is a part of the game that needs to be addressed.

I’ve watched so many Mariners games this season where they’ve been the better team with the ball and dominated the game, and then moments they lose and they lose one or two or three goals in a hurry.

It’s something the team needs to address in terms of tactical shape and mentality as well. I think they did that tonight. I think it was fatigue more than mentality.

I’m really pleased with them and I know it’ll be a big relief for them to overcome the dark places they felt they were in during the week.

Central Coast Mariners: 1. Ben KENNEDY (GK), 2. Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 3. Jack CLISBY, 6. Tom HIARIEJ (26. Joshua NISBET 68’), 11. Connor PAIN, 18. Matthew MILLAR, 22. Jacob MELLING (23. Mario SHABOW 77’), 25. Jordan MURRAY, 28. Sam GRAHAM, 29. Stephen MALLON (17. Peter KEKERIS 90’), 68. Jem KARACAN (c)

Substitutes not used: 24. Joe GAUCI (GK), 33. Lewis MILLER

Yellow cards: KENNEDY 83’

Newcastle Jets: 1. Glen MOSS (GK), 4. Nigel BOOGAARD (c), 6. Steven UGARKOVIC (14. Kaine SHEPPARD 72’), 7. Dimi PETRATOS, 8. JAIR (11. Kwabena APPIAH 66’), 9. Roy O’DONOVAN, 16. Nick COWBURN, 17. Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 22. Lachlan JACKSON, 23. Matt RIDENTON (10. Ronald VARGAS 58’), 44. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY

Substitutes not used: 20. Lewis ITALIANO (GK), 32. Angus THURGATE

Yellow cards: O’DONOVAN 35’, COWBURN 43’, BOOGAARD 90+7’

Saturday, 16 March 2019
McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Newcastle Jets vs. Central Coast Mariners