Derby heartbreak for Mariners as last ditch Jets steal point

The Central Coast Mariners have agonisingly watched two points slip away as former Mariner Sasho Petrovski came back to haunt his old club, with an opportunistic 92nd minute goal stealing a 1-all draw in the first F3 derby of the season.

The Central Coast Mariners have agonisingly watched two points slip away as former Mariner Sasho Petrovski came back to haunt his old club, with an opportunistic 92nd minute goal stealing a 1-all draw in the first F3 derby of the season.

Matt Simon put the Mariners ahead four minutes into the second half and it appeared the Yellow and Navy were on track for a deserved three points, until Petrovski lashed at a loose ball in the box to secure an unlikely draw.

An intense derby left Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold struggling to find his voice after the match, but managed plenty of praise for his charges, albeit in husky tones.

“I thought the boys were outstanding,” said Arnold.

“Musti (Amini), Mat Ryan and (Trent) Sainsbury on debut were outstanding, and the senior boys around them, there was only one team on the field that should have won, but that-s the way it is.

“26 points in the first 15 rounds, and I expect us to be better in the next 15 rounds, so I-m very happy.”

Itching to bounce back from last week-s loss to Gold Coast, the Mariners were looking to take it to the hosts, Matt Simon released down the left after Oliver Bozanic found himself in space through the middle just five minutes in, only for the Assistant Referee to adjudge Simon had strayed offside.

Francis Jeffers had a golden opportunity to open his Jets account nine minutes in after being released by Marko Jesic, but scuffed his weak shot across the face of Mat Ryan-s goal.

The former Everton and Arsenal man looked more dangerous from outside the area, as he turned and sent a left-footed volley just over Ryan-s crossbar soon after.

Daniel McBreen forced Ben Kennedy into his first save of the match 13 minutes in as he latched on to a Bozanic ball in from the left, only for Matthew Breeze to blow his whistle for an off the ball foul on Matt Simon.

Michael McGlinchey was looking dangerous down the right and did brilliantly to beat Adam D-Apuzzo and deliver a good ball into the mix, but McBreen couldn-t quite latch on.

Mustafa Amini, very nearly provided the opener, as he put a delightful ball through for Josh Rose, who forced a fine save from Kennedy low at the near post.

The Mariners could smell blood and Bozanic was able to shimmy into the box uncontested just after the half hour, but once again Kennedy stood tall, the Newcastle custodian denying the Avoca junior from point blank range.

The Jets chances were dealt a massive blow when Jeffers hobbled from the field with what looked to be a groin injury, but the hosts still had two good chances to go into the sheds with the advantage.

Josh Rose cleared a goal bound Ljubo Milicevic header off the line, before, Ryan continued to prove just how far he has progressed since being given his debut in week four, pulling a save straight out of the top drawer to stop a stinging 25-yard Labinot Haliti volley from ripping the back of the net.

The Jets injury woes were compounded at the break as they were forced into their second change, Milicevic-s night ending early after picking up an ankle injury late in the half.

Their woes would be compounded just four minutes in to the second period, when Bozanic squared a ball for Amini on the edge of the area, and after a couple of deflections off Jets defenders it fell to Simon, who fired home past Kennedy to send the strong travelling support into raptures.

Tarek Elrich saw a shot from distance sail over the bar while Amini struck a low drive at Kennedy soon after, before Josh Rose showed explosive speed down the left flank, to test Kennedy at the near post from a tight angle.

Ryan showed why he is one of the most exciting young ‘keepers in the game today with a superb double save off Jobe Wheelhouse, and the Mariners very nearly capitalised almost immediately at the other end.

Sainsbury, who was impressive at right-back on debut put a ball across the face, but neither Bozanic nor Kwasnik could quite stretch far enough to poke home the teasing delivery.

Just as it appeared the Mariners would claim bragging rights from the first derby of the season, former Mariner Petrovski managed to get a toe on a loose ball in the area to scrap home the equaliser.

Even still, the Yellow and Navy could still have snatched a winner, as Matthew Lewis honed in on goal, and while Kennedy failed to deal with it, Newcastle were able to clear the danger, to leave honours even.

“We-re obviously shattered,” said Mariners captain Alex Wilkinson.

“Not just because it was against the Jets but because of the way it was scored and the timing of the goal. It was like pinball in the box and somehow Sasho has scooped it over Matty Ryan, I still don-t know how he did it.

“We-re bitterly disappointed we didn-t come away with a win but we look forward to playing Brisbane now. It-s going to be a good test for us, they are top of the table and we look forward to taking them down on Sunday.

“We-ll keep all the boys spirits high, it-s a draw not a loss, so we will take a point, go home and hopefully beat Brisbane.”

The Central Coast Mariners next match of the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season will be against Brisbane Roar at Bluetongue Stadium this Sunday, 28 November. Kick-off is at 4:00pm ADST and tickets are available by CLICKING HERE or by phoning 132 849.

Match Details

Newcastle Jets 1 (Petrovski 90+2-) Central Coast Mariners 1 (Simon 49-)

Newcastle Jets: 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 3. Adam D-APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 5. Ljubo MILICEVIC (12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE 46-), 6. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 7. Kasey WEHRMAN, 10. Ruben ZADKOVICH, 11. Tarek ELRICH, 18. Marko JESIC, 19. Ali ABBAS (13. Sasho PETROVSKI 70-), 24. Francis JEFFERS (14. Labinot HALITI 30-).

Subs not Used: 40. Matthew NASH (gk).

Yellow Cards: Wheelhouse 53-, Petrovski 74- Red Cards: Nil

Central Coast Mariners: 20. Mathew RYAN (gk), 2. Daniel McBREEN (23. Adam KWASNIK 62-), 3. Joshua ROSE, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 11. Oliver BOZANIC (17. Chris DOIG 90+1-), 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 16. Trent SAINSBURY, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON, 22. Mustafa AMINI (12. Matthew LEWIS 87-).

Subs not Used: 30. Paul HENDERSON (gk).

Yellow Cards: Nil Red Cards: Nil

Referee: Matthew BREEZE Crowd: 7,731 @ EnergyAustralia Stadium, Newcastle