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Mariners trounce Jets with first-half blitz

CCMvNEWCentral Coast moved to second place in the A-League thanks to a 3-0 victory over struggling Newcastle. The Jets were never given a chance as first-half efforts from Anthony Caceres, Daniel McBreen, and Matthew Simon put the Mariners in control of the tie.

Phil Moss retained the same first XI that defeated Sydney last week, with Montgomery wearing the captain’s armband while Hutchinson found a spot on the bench. Clayton Zane welcomed back three of Newcastle’s key youngsters from the AFC Under 22 Championships for his first game in charge, with Adam Taggart and Josh Brillante selected in the starting lineup, and Andrew Hoole named among the substitutes.

Neither side were able to create sustained possession in the early moments of the match, but the Mariners soon turned up the pressure and were in front on the 13th minute thanks to a Caceres bullet. The 21-year-old galloped forward from the halfway line, skipping past two Newcastle players before powering a shot from outside the box into the top-left corner of the net.

The Jets responded positively, with both Taggart and Heskey coming agonisingly close to latching onto lobbed balls, while the former’s chipped effort went wide of the post.

But the Central Coast players were building momentum, with a low drive from McBreen in the 17th minute testing Birighitti.

The confidence was growing and the second goal arrived 15 minutes later when McBreen played a one-two with Fitzgerald before the striker curled a shot through bodies to hit the back of the net.

However, rather than just concede defeat, the Jets went forward and a Zadkovich cross looked to have found Taggart free in the box, yet the youngster air-swinged his attempted volley.

Newcastle should have scored on the edge of half time when Taggart dispossessed Anderson and shifted the ball square for Heskey to slot in, but the former England international skied his effort over the crossbar.

The Jets were made to rue the miss sixty seconds later as Sterjovski whipped in a pinpoint corner kick for an unopposed Simon who headed home to make it 3-0.

Newcastle looked a team re-energised after the break as half time substitute Hoole began influencing the match. Indeed, it was the visitors who threatened first as Hoole teed up Taggart to shoot from 10 yards out, only for Reddy to block bravely.

The Jets had clear claims for a penalty in the 58th minute when the ball struck Anderson’s arm but the appeals were waved away by Jarred Gillett.

It almost had immediate consequences at the other end when Sterjovski cushioned a header back to Rose yet the effort on his weaker foot sliced just wide.

Still, it was Newcastle who were creating the better opportunities, mainly through Hoole’s play and vision. The youngster whipped a cross to Taggart in a dangerous position before later putting Goodwin through on goal, but the left winger’s shot was saved by Reddy before his follow-up strike cannoned off the post and out of play.

Both sides continued to pepper balls into the box, with substitute Ward heading wide from a Goodwin free-kick before Fitzgerald directed a ball straight at Birighitti.

Newcastle had one final chance to score in the 90th minute, with the Mariners a man down after Anderson was forced off with cramp. Goodwin guided a perfect cross to an unmarked Bridges in the box but the English striker failed to connect, and the Jets were left to ponder their missed opportunities as the rain began to fall at Bluetongue Stadium.

About the author

avatarJulian is a freelance writer and editor, film festival programmer, and serial podcaster.

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