The Central Coast Mariners have moved into second place on the Hyundai A-League ladder following an emphatic 3-0 win over the Newcastle Jets in Gosford.
The Central Coast Mariners have moved into second place on the A-League ladder following an emphatic 3-0 win over a listless Newcastle Jets outfit on Saturday evening in Gosford.
Three first half goals coming to Daniel McBreen, Matt Simon and a sublime strike to Anthony Caceres set-up the victory for last season’s title-winners.
The results means Newcastle haven’t won in a league fixture in Gosford since 12 January, 2008 losing six matches and drawing three in that period.
Despite skipper John Hutchinson been available again after serving a suspension the 34-year-old was only made a substitute as the Jets returned a trio of their Australian under 22 players in the round 16 match.
Adam Taggart and Josh Brillante started with James Virgili and Ben Kantarovski making way, whilst Andrew Hoole took his place on the bench.
To open proceedings Caceres, who had been elevated to the starting side following Hutchinson’s suspension, picked the ball up near halfway and the 21-year-old beat two Jets defenders before unleashing a 25-yard right-foot strike out of the top shelf to give the home side the lead.
The Mariners doubled their lead on 32 minutes when McBreen grabbed the ball near the top of the box, held off the attention of the Newcastle defence before curling a left foot shot well past Mark Birighitti in the Jets’ goal.
Clayton Zane’s men primarily resorted to the long ball in an endeavour to unlock the defence of Phil Moss’ side but the strategy resulted in few meaningful attacking raids.
Taggart, the Jets best all night, slide a ball to Emile Heskey after he grabbed a lost ball from the Mariners Zac Anderson.
However the former Liverpool forward butchered his attempt from five metres out to send it over the crossbar in the Jets best chance all night.
The Novocastrians were made to pay as Matt Simon headed home Mile Sterjovski’s corner kick in the moments later in time added on.
Ruben Zadkovich moved into the centre of midfield and Hoole came on at the commencement of the second half as Zane attempted to turn the tide in the Jets favour.
Taggart and substitute Hoole called Mariners goalkeeper Liam Reddy into action twice in the 55th minute as they threaded through the Mariners rearguard.
Three minutes later the Jets appealed for handball whilst on attack only to have the protestations waved away by referee Jarred Gillett.
This appeared to frustrate the men in green as Hoole then Heskey were booked in quick succession, Heskey for dissent.
As the Jets improved in the second stanza, 20 year-old Taggart shot wide after 65 minutes but was then replaced by Nick Ward two minutes later before Hoole struck the left hand upright eight minutes later.
Nick Ftizgerald, Josh Rose and replacement Bernie Ibini could have done better for the home side late in the match as they missed chances but the home side safely completed the win despite not scoring in the second period.
Central Coast Mariners 3 (Caceres 13, McBreen 32, Simon 45+2)
Newcastle Jets 0
Crowd: 10,920 @ Bluetongue Stadium