Fiery F3 derby ends in heartbreak for Mariners

It had three goals, a brawl and two bookings, and typified the passion derbies between the two fierce rivals are renowned for – and that was just the first 20 minutes.

It had three goals, a brawl and two bookings, and typified the passion derbies between the two fierce rivals are renowned for - and that was just the first 20 minutes.

Unfortunately for the Central Coast, they were unable to recover from the early 2-1 deficit at EnergyAustralia Stadium, meaning their rise up the Hyundai A-League ladder would be stalled once more.

"We knew it was going to be a hard game. We-ve said all week Newcastle is in a false position, but in the first 15 to 20 minutes they were on top of us, they were harassing us, but when we settled down and gained possession we were very comfortable, but early on we were rushing things. They closed us down well, and from our point of view it was two scrappy goals," said Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna.

"Very disappointing, coming here and winning tonight we-d be right back in the mix, now we-re back in the scrap with everybody else. We-ll be celebrating when we win two games, but credit to Newcastle, the first fifteen minutes got them the game.

"We played some nice football, we kept possession and when we did keep possession and move the ball about we caused them problems, but when we turned it over they were on to it.

"It-s very frustrating you can go out and play some good football, dominate the second half, and not get anything, but that-s the A-League.

"We-re just disappointed. You don-t want to get beaten by your local rivals. We-ve done well for 60 (minutes) but it-s not enough."

It took just eight minutes for the F3 derby to move out of first gear, Tarek Elrich-s ball in from the right flicked on brilliantly by Labinot Haliti, and falling for Michael Bridges, who stepped off his right foot to send a powerful left footed drive past Danny Vukovic.

Six minutes later and there was double trouble for the Central Coast, Fabio Vignaroli-s free kick was cleared by Matt Simon, it appeared into Nikolai Topor-Stanley-s arm, however referee Delovski waved play on, allowing Haliti to smash home the hosts second goal from close range.

In typical derby style, there was no shortage of animosity, a perfectly legal John Hutchinson tackle on Jin-Hyung song raised the ire of Vignaroli, the fiery Italian taking exception, and sparking a wild brawl involving all but a handful of players, and resulting in bookings to Dean Heffernan and Vignaroli for their respective roles.

Mariners skipper Alex Wilkinson believed the altercation sparked the side into action, albeit a little too late.

"They-re always pretty intense, this one didn-t take too long to boil over but it-s just the boys showing their passion.

"After that melee our boys started to fire up and started to play a bit better. It shouldn-t have to take something like that for us to get out of the blocks so well like we did last week.

"It-s just a shame we can-t back it up and get those two elusive wins in a row, it-s pretty frustrating," said Wilkinson.

Just as the dust settled, there was more goalmouth action, this time at the end Lawrie McKinna would have been hoping for.

A wicked cross whipped in by Matthew Crowell sat up for Adam Kwasnik, who did brilliantly to wrestle in front of Tarek Elrich and fire a side-footed volley past Ben Kennedy.

Nigel Boogaard sent a shot over the bar but the Central Coast was well and truly back in the contest, Heffernan was the next to test Kennedy, when a free kick from the left edge snuck past the near post.

Vignaroli went close at the other end as a curling effort was well tipped wide by Vukovic, while Kwasnik fired a fierce dipping volley just centimetres over the bar after a nod on by Matt Simon.

Michael McGlinchey saw it open up for him on 51 minutes and sent a powerful, low shot goalbound, but Kennedy did well to block after a tricky bounce.

The New Zealand international tried his luck from even further out soon after, launching a shot from 45 yards after seeing Kennedy off his line, forcing the Jets- custodian to backpedal hastily and tap the dipping effort over his bar.

The fierce derby emotion once again boiled over when Simon dispossessed Bridges, the big Englishman not happy with the former East Gosford striker-s challenge, despite replays suggesting he won the ball.

Kwasnik went agonizingly close to finding the equaliser on the hour, heading a McGlinchey cross millimetres wide of the far post, while at the other end, Danny Vukovic pulled off a fine one-on-one save at a tight angle as Jin-Hyung Song looked to kill off the contest.

Brad Porter launched a speculative effort into the area to force Kennedy into tipping the ball over the bar again late on, but the Central Coast couldn-t find a way back in, allowing Newcastle to snap a six game winless streak, and once again stall the Mariners- progress up the Hyundai A-League ladder.

McKinna was disappointed with the way the two goals were conceded.

"The first one started at a throw in we should have closed down, but we never, we thought the bounce of the ball might have hit Tarek (Elrich)-s hand, but the referee never saw it that way, and the second goal we thought hit Topor-Stanley-s arm, but we-re not saying that cost us the game because Newcastle deserved the lead early.

"We came into the game and had chances, we dominated the second half but it wasn-t enough. We had great opportunities for a great cross or a great cut back but we just weren-t composed enough in the last couple of minutes,” said McKinna.

Wilkinson too was left to rue the two early goals, which represented the first time this season the club had conceded more than once in a Hyundai A-League match.

"They came out and rattled us a bit, and two very soft goals on our part is disappointing on our part, seeing as we-ve been defending quite well. After that I thought we were the better team.

"In the second half we huffed and puffed and created a few half chances but nothing clear cut. We ran out of ideas a little bit, we had a lot of possession but couldn-t get the final ball through or the final touch on goal, so all in all, a pretty frustrating night," Wilkinson said.

The Mariners take on Adelaide United on Saturday, 31 October at Canberra Stadium. Kick-off is at 7:00pm. Tickets are available online here or by phoning 132 849.

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Match Details

Central Coast Mariners 20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 2. Matthew CROWELL (11. Dylan MACALLISTER 80-), 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Dean HEFFERNAN, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 17. Chris DOIG, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matthew SIMON (5. Brad PORTER 84-), 22. Nicky TRAVIS (4. Pedj BOJIC 74-), 23. Adam KWASNIK.

Unused Subs 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk).

Yellow Cards Heffernan 17- Red Cards None Goals Kwasnik 19-

Newcastle Jets 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2. Angelo COSTANZO, 3. Adam D-APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 6. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 7. Jin-Hyung SONG, 8. Matthew THOMPSON (c), 11. Tarek ELRICH, 14. Michael BRIDGES (22. Kaz PATAFTA 84-), 17. Fabio VIGNAROLI (12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE 74-), 25. Labinot HALITI (15. Sean ROONEY 67-)

Unused Subs 30. Dion SHAW (gk).

Yellow Cards Vignaroli 17, Kantarovski 38- Red Cards None Goals Bridges 8-, Haliti 14-

Referee Strebre DELOVSKI Crowd 6,188