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February Fixture Frenzy for Central Coast Mariners

Throughout the month of February, the Central Coast Mariners will play a total of six Isuzu UTE A-League matches as well as the final of the FFA Cup. It is sure to be a festival of football including two home matches against Macarthur FC and Perth Glory.

For Nick Montgomery’s Mariners, the fixtures are now coming thick and fast after experiencing multiple postponements in December and January, and they will play two home matches in this period in the space of four days.

Central Coast Mariners are pleased to announce that in partnership with A-Leagues, General Admission tickets for all matches in February will cost no more than $20. Plus, as an added bonus for the Central Coast, kids go free with every General Admission adult ticket purchase to all Mariners home games throughout the month.

The fixture update includes a match against Macarthur at home before welcoming Perth Glory to Central Coast Stadium. Following these matches, the club will go on a run of four away matches including three matches in the space of six days against Western Sydney Wanderers, Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City. The month is rounded out with a trip to Coopers Stadium to play Adelaide United.

February Fixtures:

Melbourne Victory v Central Coast Mariners
FFA Cup Final
Saturday 5th February 2022
8pm Kick Off AEDT
AAMI Park, Melbourne, VIC

Central Coast Mariners v Macarthur FC
Isuzu UTE A-League Men’s
Thursday 10th February 2022

7:45pm Kick Off AEDT

Central Coast Stadium, Central Coast, NSW

Central Coast Mariners v Perth Glory
Isuzu UTE A-League Men’s

Sunday 13th February 2022
5:45pm AEDT Kick Off AEDT

Central Coast Stadium, Central Coast, NSW

Western Sydney Wanderers v Central Coast Mariners
Isuzu UTE A-League Men’s
Wednesday 16th February 2022
7:55pm Kick Off AEDT
CommBank Stadium, Sydney, NSW

Melbourne Victory v Central Coast Mariners
Isuzu UTE A-League Men’s
Saturday 19th February 2022
7:45pm Kick Off AEDT

AAMI Park, Melbourne, VIC

Melbourne City v Central Coast Mariners
Isuzu UTE A-League Men’s
Tuesday 22nd Februray 2022
7:55pm Kick Off AEDT
AAMI Park, Melbourne, VIC

Adelaide United v Central Coast Mariners
Isuzu UTE A-League Men’s
Saturday 26th February 2022
7:45pm Kick Off
Coopers Stadium, Adelaide, SA

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VAR CONTROVERSY MARS SYDNEY AND MARINERS CONTEST

Sydney FC and the Central Coast Mariners on Sunday afternoon.

For the first time this season, Isuzu UTE A-League Men’s football found it’s way to Leichhardt Oval for the match between Sydney FC and the Central Coast Mariners on Sunday afternoon.

In what was a quiet opening 30 minutes, the contest exploded to life following with an end to end match. Sydney FC took the lead late in the first half before Mariners recovered early in the second to make it 2-1. After a controversial decision, Sydney FC drew level and then found a winner late on through Anthony Caceres with the bumper crowd at Leichhardt Oval enjoying one of the best games this season.

The match began in warm weather with eyes glued to Mariners new recruit Jason Cummings who was thrust into the starting eleven despite being in the country for less than a week. Dan Hall and Lewis Miller also were recalled after missing last week’s match due to illness, with Josh Nisbet and Nicolai Müller finding a spot on the bench.

The Mariners started well and looked to create chances on the counter with Jacob Farrell and Lewis Miller winning the ball deep and setting Marco Urena who had the first chance for the visitors in the half as he drove forward from halfway and struck a fierce strike that was palmed around the post by Tom Heward-Belle in the Sydney FC net.

The next chance of the afternoon would fall to captain Ollie Bozanic who lined up from outside the area and saw the ball take a crazy deflection that looped it high into the afternoon sun and forced Heward-Belle to tip over awkwardly underneath his crossbar.

With the Mariners building momentum, the best chance of the half would fall to Trent Buhagiar of Sydney FC who found himself in acres of space when the ball broke to him, however his shot somehow found the side netting when he only had Mark Birighitti to beat one-on-one.

While alienated for much of the half, Jason Cummings sprung to life in the box when the ball fell his way after industrious work from Lewis Miller, and after beating two Sydney defenders with some tidy footwork, saw his shot palmed away by Heward-Belle, much to the angst of the travelling support.

Béni Nkololo was next to test the Sydney shot stopper after he cut inside from the left and struck a shot from a tight angle that would’ve rippled the roof of the net, but again Heward-Belle threw up a hand to keep the match goal-less.

The first talking point of the match would come late in the half as the board went up to indicate two minutes added, no sooner would referee Kurt Ams point to the spot for a questionable hand-ball on Jacob Farrell who upon reflection appeared to be pulling his hand away from danger, despite being only yards away.

There would be no overturning of the decision and Anthony Caceres stepped up to fire the ball home and ensure Sydney went into the sheds 1-0 up.

After a tactical switch at half time that saw Josh Nisbet replace Moresche, the Mariners looked hungry and ready to get back into the game.

They didn’t have to wait long for their equaliser, and it came in the most spectacular of fashions.

A short corner was worked to an un-marked Ollie Bozanic on the edge of the box who curled a sweet strike off the underside of the cross-bar which was no more than the visitors deserved.

With Mark Birighitti making a save at one end, Jason Cummings at the other proved just as decisive as he put the Mariners ahead. He made space for himself on the edge of the box and with his back to goal, turned and fired a shot off one post, saw it roll along the line into the other, and then trickle over the line. A debut performance that was capped with a brilliant goal with more to surely come from the Scottish import

It was from this point onwards that the quality game of football that was on show from both sides was given a nasty twist with VAR controversy.

With the Mariners controlling the game and looking likely for a third, Sydney FC swung a ball into the box and after a Sydney player looked to have gotten a touch on the ball, Bobo latched onto it and smashed it home. The assistant’s flag went up for offside however upon consultation with referee Kurt Ams, a goal was given claiming that no touch was made on the way through to Bobo and that the original decision of goal should stand. There was a lengthy VAR check on the incident and with inconclusive pictures, the decision was upheld, much to the frustration of the Yellow and Navy.

With Mariners bodies still recovering from COVID-19 exposure only a week ago, the legs began to tire in the midfield and Sydney found a third goal through Anthony Caceres with five minutes left on the clock.

A valiant effort from all in Yellow and Navy however, it was not meant to be with the controversial decisions either side of the half leaving the Mariners reeling and wondering what could have been.

Ahead of the Mariners lies a big week with a trip to Melbourne next Saturday to face Melbourne Victory in their first ever FFA Cup final before the Isuzu UTE A-League action intensifies throughout February.

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Scottish international and Australian passport holder Jason Cummings has signed an 18 month deal that brings him to the Central Coast Mariners in the Isuzu UTE A-League.

The striker joins the club from Dundee in the Scottish Premiership where he was a key part of the squad that earnt promotion back to the topflight and was the joint-top scorer in his side.

The Scottish born goal scorer has picked up international caps for Scotland U21s and made two appearances in friendlies for Scotland, however he remains eligible to play for the Socceroos.

Jason began his career at Hibernian where he made over 100 appearances and scored 55 goals and put himself into the history books when he was in the side that beat Rangers to Hibs’ first Scottish Cup in 114 years, and in 2017 became the first player since 1961 to score more than twenty goals in a season for Hibernian.

After moving around the United Kingdom for clubs including Nottingham Forest, Luton Town, Peterborough and Rangers, where he netted a hat-trick in the Scottish Cup quarter final, Cummings found his way to Shrewsbury Town which led him onto a move back to Scotland at Dundee.

Dens Park was a happy return for Cummings where he finished his inaugural six months with the club on eight goals despite only playing 15 matches after joining in the January transfer market.

Cummings has always believed that he has the ability to play for the Socceroos and is relishing the opportunity to come to Australia to change his image and create a fresh start as a footballer.

“I am really excited to further develop my football here in Australia. I have only been here a couple of hours and really looking forward to getting straight into training with my new team mates.

“I am not taking this opportunity lightly and want to reward the Central Coast Mariners. Being an Australian citizen, I knew it was only a matter of time until I came out here and I am ready to make an instant impact and show people what I can do,” Cummings said.

Head Coach Nick Montgomery is looking forward to having the striker in the squad with injuries and COVID-19 illnesses impacting selection choices already this season.

“As always, we did our due diligence and spoke to numerous people who know Jason personally and the feedback was that he is a very talented player who has not reached his undoubted potential, but a fresh start here in the right environment can be the making of him.

“We fought off interest from numerous clubs vying for his services and after speaking with Jason many times via zoom and on the phone, I am in no doubt he will be a massive asset to the club. At 26 he is a great age coming into his prime and his goal scoring record speaks for itself.

“With the absence of Matt Simon and having one of the smallest squads in the competition, Jason is coming in at the perfect time as there will be plenty of games to play and we will need as many fit players as possible with the ongoing covid situation. We can’t wait for Jason to join the club this week and integrate with his new teammates who are looking forward to his arrival,” Montgomery concluded.

Mariners Head of Football Ken Schembri is excited to see Jason show his talent around the country and demonstrate to others what he possesses in his locker.

“Jason provides our club with more power and experience in our attacking zone. He joins the Mariners at the perfect time with plenty games coming thick and fast.

“Clearly the ongoing covid situation with have a huge impact on this season and depth in squads will be vital to our success.”

Jason landed in the country Sunday night and will join up with the team this week.

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Kye Rowles form rewarded with Socceroos call up

After recently enjoying time in the Australian U23 set-up, Kye Rowles has now been called up to the Australian National Team for the next round of Asian Qualifiers.

Kye joined the Mariners in 2017 after having a brief stint at Brisbane Roar and since then has racked up over 80 appearances for the Yellow and Navy and played every minute of every Mariners match this season, including an appearance in the FFA Cup Quarter Final as the captain.

At the back end of last season, Rowles picked up the prestigious Mariners Medal which is an award that recognises the player who in the eyes of their team-mates, coaches and fans, had the best season.

A quiet achiever who doesn’t like being in the limelight off the field, leads by example on the field and lately has been very deserving of his call up to Graham Arnold’s national team.

Having experienced the Australian set-up as recently as June for the Summer Olympics with the U23 side, the 23-year-old is relishing the chance to do it once more.

“I am super happy to be given the opportunity, and I am really looking forward to the experience. It is a massive honour to represent your country and I am humbled to be involved in the Australian set up once again.

“I would also like to say a special thank you to everyone that has helped me along my footballing path, as without their dedication and time, I would not be in the position that I am today.”

Mariners Head Coach Nick Montgomery was delighted that Kye received the recognition for being one of the best and most consistent centre backs in the league.

“I am super proud of him, but not just myself, the whole staff and playing group can recognise his consistent performances over the last few months.

“It’s great that Graham Arnold has been watching the A-League and giving talents like Kye an opportunity on the biggest stage because he deserves it on current form with the hard work he has put in and I can’t wait to see him take his game to another level.

“We hope that this is the start of more players for the Mariners being recognised for national team selection not just at senior level, but also youth level” Montgomery said.

Rowles will play this weekend against Melbourne City before joining the camp for the next two qualifiers against Vietnam and Oman. Kye will return in time for the FFA Cup final which is scheduled for early to mid-February and will be confirmed in due course.

 

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Roar v Mariners postponed amid COVID-19 issues

Over the festive period, a number of Mariners players and staff tested positive for COVID-19. As a result of this, they have been following appropriate protocols and isolating at home, unable to train.

The club prioritises the health of all affected persons effected by COVID-19.

In consultation with the Australian Professional Leagues (APL), Mariners management and Brisbane Roar, a decision has been made to postpone the Brisbane Roar v Central Coast Mariners Isuzu UTE A-League match on the 9th of January.

This decision has not been taken lightly and was done after reviewing all the information we have at hand. To those supporters who have purchased tickets for the interstate journey we ask you to understand our situation.

The first priority has to be the welfare of all players and staff. With players who have returned a positive test due to return to full health shortly, we look forward to returning to the field of play very soon.

The Central Coast Mariners would like to thank you for your understanding and patience with the club through this challenging period and hope you stay safe and they look forward to welcoming you back to Central Coast Stadium as soon as possible..

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