The Central Coast Mariners proudly shared the pitch with a valiant Central Coast Select in a seven-goal thriller, with a second-half appearance from Usain Bolt that made for one of the most exciting pre-season matches the Hyundai A-League has ever seen.
Central Coast Mariners 6 (Clisby 1’, McGlinchey 12’, Kekeris 14’, Shabow 29’, Clisby 41’, Macdonald 57’) Central Coast Select 1 (Knight 79’)
The run down
Central Coast Mariners 6-1 Central Coast Select
Central Coast Stadium was abuzz with Bolt-fever ahead of Friday night’s friendly between the Mariners and Central Coast Football’s finest. Whilst the man of the moment stayed on the sideline, the fans were treated to plenty of footballing action in the opening half. The Yellow and Navy fired home five before half time, Jack Clisby opening up the score in less than 30 seconds. Michael McGlinchey, Peter Kekeris, Mario Shabow and then Jack Clisby again all put away goals for the Mariners in the first 45.
Fireworks, a DJ, Lee Academy Dance troup and hundreds of kids on the pitch at half time built a party atmosphere like the Coast has never seen.
The Central Coast Select squad weren’t without their own chances, Keith Gumbs putting the Mariners defensive pace to the test, but it was nothing the Yellow and Navy backline couldn’t handle. At half time, the Mariners went into the sheds with a 5-0 lead.
Both teams made use of their unlimited substitutions, and the two squads returned to the pitch for the second half with plenty of fresh faces.
Josh Macdonald made it 6-0 for the Mariners in the 57th minute, before a superb free kick from Tim Knight put Central Coast Select on the scoreboard.
In the 71st minute, Central Coast Stadium and the footballing world witnessed a moment of sporting history: Usain Bolt took to the pitch for the Central Coast Mariners.
The ‘fastest man alive’ showed positive signs in his maiden hit-out, causing an uproar in the crowd as he took his first few touches in the Mariners’ attacking third. In his 19 minutes on the pitch, Bolt managed to notch a shot and a shot assist, and the fans were erupted every time he got involved.
There were plenty of chances but no more goals for the Yellow and Navy at the tail end of the second half, and the score remained 6-1 to the Mariners as the final whistle blew on an historic pre-season match for the Central Coast.
The Central Coast Mariners would like to thank the Central Coast Select team for a competitive match played in the best of spirits. The Club would also like to thank the biggest pre-season crowd in Mariners’ history for lighting up Gosford on Friday night.
1’ CLISBY GOAL (1-0): Not even 30 seconds into the first half and the Mariners made their mark on the scoresheet, Jack Clisby firing from a distance to find the back of the net.
12’ McGLINCHEY GOAL (2-0): Two Mariners veterans combine to create the Mariners second goal. A close-range strike from Matt Simon is blocked by Select keeper Aaron Zavolokin, but Michael McGlinchey is there to send the ball home.
14’ KEKERIS GOAL (3-0): Kekeris goes on a blazing run down the centre of the pitch, wins a one-on-one with the keeper and finishes with a tidy strike.
29’ SHABOW GOAL (4-0): A cross from Pain finds Mario Shabow right in front of goal, and he makes no mistake at close-range to put the Mariners ahead four goals to nil.
41’ CLISBY GOAL (5-0): A superb header from a corner kick makes it two goals for Jack Clisby and five for the Yellow and Navy.
57’ MACDONALD GOAL (6-0): Josh Macdonald fires into the back of the net to make it 6-0 for the Mariners.
79’ KNIGHT GOAL (6-1): Central Coast Select come onto the score sheet with an impressive free kick from Tim Knight that curls into the far post from outside the 18-yard box.
Mulvey in the Media (Click here to watch Mike Mulvey's press conference in full)
After a thrilling trial match with nearly 10,000 fans in the stadium, Head Coach Mike Mulvey gave his thoughts on his squad’s performance and the Bolt-buzz surrounding the pre-season match.
“I think tonight was win-win exercise.” Mulvey said. “It was a great exercise, and the club needs to be applauded for going out on a limb, and I think the big fella did ok.
Bolt took to the pitch in the 71st minute, which gave Mulvey an opportunity to gauge his progress since beginning training with the Mariners.
“[Bolt’s] a confident guy.” Mulvey said. “The game changed in the second half, because we scored quite a few goals in the first half and they dropped a lot deeper so there was no space in behind, so that’s very difficult for any player coming onto the field when that happens.” He said. “It was a good exercise. He was a little bit nervous, but I’m quite happy with him.
“I know a few people in sport, and one of my closest friends told me do not ever as anyone to do something technical and tactical unless you’ve got the physical capability to do it.” Mulvey said. “So, I’m not going to judge him on whether he can zip past somebody, or get past the end of a header: we’ve got to get him fit, so we’ve got to give him time. The comments I made on the very first press conference was that I’ll give 12 months if required; and I’ve heard that he’s said “give me four months to get fit.” He said.
Despite the media attention focused on Bolt, Mulvey is keeping his attention fixed on the squad as a whole, and the club’s upcoming Hyundai A-League season.
“I don’t have any pressures for him to play.” He said. “That’s the point, there’s nobody tapping on my shoulder saying “you’ve got to play him”. I was happy to put him on – we had two triallists on today.” Mulvey said.
“We had Andrija playing in the second half as well, a player from Serbia who just came off the plane the other day.” He said. “We had four guys from the NPL who either played in the first half or played in the second half. We’re still trying to get our mix right, and it’s going to be a long task, but we’ve got players who understand what that task is.
“Usain apart, we need to really focus on what it is that will be required to make us a more successful football club.” He said.
“When I spoke to Mike Charlesworth and Shaun Mielekamp early on, it was about potentially being creative and innovative. You can’t get any more creative and innovative than Usain Bolt, but at the same time, we’ve got to make sure we’ve got a competitive team on the field.” Mulvey said.
For Mulvey, tonight’s win is only one step toward a brighter future for the club, and he is hopeful that the Central Coast will get behind their team to help make it happen.
“The first thing we need to do is get the people of the Central Coast behind us.” He said. “We are the one team in the Central Coast area, we’re the only professional team, and we’re trying to build bridges that have been broken a little bit, we’re trying to bring a smile back to their faces, and the only way you can do that, in my experience, is to win games.
“I’m not saying that we’re going to build a team that’s going to win the league in the first year, we need to build a team that has great pride in the shirt, for the community. To actually go out there and never say die, never give in.” Mulvey said.
“Today was a game against a local select team, and you would expect that we should win this game.” He said. “We scored some good goals, but I’m telling the public that it’s not the finished article. What I’m asking the public to do is to stick by us. We’re going to rise from the ashes and we’re going to produce a good football team that people will be proud of.” Mulvey said.
After his very first appearance for the Mariners, Usain Bolt thanked everyone on the Central Coast for their support.
“I was happy to be out there, to get the experience.” Bolt said. “All the fans gave me their support and I really appreciate that.”
“The fans really helped me, I really enjoy the energy that they give. It was wonderful. I enjoyed every moment out on the field, and I look forward to my next round,” He said.
Bolt knows there is plenty of hard work ahead for him, and looks forward to improving with the help of Mike Mulvey.
“It’s not for me to assess my performance, that’s for the coach.” Bolt said. “I think I did ok, but the coach will see things that I can’t see, so I will wait until I see the coach and talk to him, and he will explain to me that I did this wrong, I could have done this better, so I look forward to that,”
“I knew that [my fitness] might be an issue, so that’s why we said only twenty minutes.” He said. The more I work, the more I’ll get playing time, so it’s just all about getting my fitness up. Like I said earlier in the week, now is all about putting in the work and getting ready for the season.”
“I think in four months, I’ll be fit, I’ll be getting a lot more time on the ball. I personally feel that I’ll get a contract by then, I’ll be playing much more. It’s just about working, and taking my time, but I think in four months, I’ll be one of the boys,” Bolt said.
With a celebrated career in athletics already under his belt, Bolt knows the value of confidence and dedication, and wants to put in the hard work to create his future in football.
“You’ve got to be confident.” Bolt said. “After I got my first touch, I felt ok. I thought, you know what, just get as many touches as possible, because the more touches you get, the more confident you are. For me, it’s all about getting touches, and I felt ok,” He said.
“It’s just like starting a new career. I look at it like when I just started running: I have to learn everything and figure out what I need to do to get better.” He said. “I’m taking it seriously, and I want to go as far as I possibly can. When I started track and field, I didn’t know how great I was going to be, and I’m looking at football just like that – I don’t know how great I’m going to be, but I’m going to enjoy the journey and I’m going to put my all into it,” Bolt said.
Central Coast Mariners: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk) (12. Adam PEARCE 46’), 3. Jack CLISBY 5. Antony GOLEC (26. Josh NISBETT 71’), 8. Michael McGLINCHEY (95. Usain BOLT (T) 71’), 11. Connor PAIN (16. Josh MACDONALD 46’), 17. Peter KEKERIS ( 27.Andrija MAJDEVAC (T) 46’), 18.Matthew MILLAR (25. Jordan MURRAY 46’) , 19. Matt SIMON (14. Adam BERRY 46’) ,20. Kalifa CISSE (15.Kye ROWLES 52’), 22. Jacob MELLING (4.Jake McGING 46’), 23. Mario SHABOW (35’ 6. Tom HIARIEJ)
Central Coast Select:, 8. Alex BURRELL(3. Daniel BIRD 46’), 2. Robbie WALTON (21. Michael TAWYER 46’), 16. Jared McNEE (5. Anthony PACE 46’)), 19. Matt PAGE (13. Reece CAIRA 46’), 15. Matthew KENNY(10. Stuart ADAMS 46’), 11. Keith GUMBS (4. Jai McNAMARA 46’), 22. Jacob CABAN (9. John WHELPDALE 46’), 1. Aaron ZAVOLOKIN (20. Declan DRAKE 46’), 12. Briyce FIELDER (14. Andrew KLIJN 46’), 6. Daniel MOFFETT (7. Tim KNIGHT 46’), 18. Matthew HALL (17. Cameron PRYSE-JONES 46’)
Sunday, 31 August 2018
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Central Coast Mariners vs. Central Coast Select