Honours even in F3 Derby 29

CENTRAL Coast Mariners and Newcastle Jets played out a 0-0 draw at a rain-soaked Bluetongue Stadium in the 29th F3 Derby on Saturday night.

CENTRAL Coast Mariners and Newcastle Jets played out a 0-0 draw at a rain-soaked Bluetongue Stadium in the 29th F3 Derby on Saturday night.

The draw consolidates the Mariners position as Hyundai A-League leaders over second-placed Adelaide United who are three points adrift of top spot.

The stalemate also ensures Graham Arnold-s team remain unbeaten at Gosford-s idyllic bayside arena in season eight of Australia-s top flight.

The gloomy conditions made it tough for both sides but it was debutant Anthony Caceres who had the first chance of the match, glancing his header at goal from a Pedj Bojic cross. Unfortunately for the yellow and navy, Caceres couldn-t find enough power to trouble Jets gloveman Mark Birighitti nine minutes in.

Both teams found chances hard to come by in the first 45 however Craig Goodwin did manage a shot on target for Newcastle, while Oliver Bozanic struck a powerful shot a metre over the woodwork from long range.

Jets striker Emile Heskey proved a handful in the box as he leapt above the pack on two occasions. Nevertheless, the former England international couldn-t direct either opportunity at goal.

In the 36th minute, Jets skipper Ruben Zadkovich brought Daniel McBreen. Zadkovich was already sitting on a yellow card after a tackle in the 27th minute, and was lucky to escape with a lenient talking to from referee Alan Milliner.

McGlinchey showcased some individual talent just five minutes later to craft himself the chance of the half and possibly the match as he broke down the right side, dancing past three defenders. McGlinchey shot from well inside the area but was denied by a leaping Birighitti who pulled off a stunning one-handed save to keep the score level.

On 44 minutes Joshua Brillante made Ryan work as he cannoned a powerful shot from distance at goal. The Mariners custodian reacted sharply, as he so often does, to palm the ball over the crossbar.

Much like the first stanza, both sides struggled to create many clear-cut opportunities to open the scoring after the break. A scuffle broke out after Joshua Mitchell received a yellow card in the 65th minute for bad tackle on Mariners substitute Nick Montgomery.

Tempers started to flare and determined tackles from Trent Sainsbury, Mile Sterjovski and Scott Neville exposed the true derby spirit with just 20 minutes to play.

Sainsbury produced a well-timed sliding challenge on Ryan Griffiths who would otherwise have found himself one-on-one with the Mariners custodian with 10 minutes left.

As the game wound down both sides had set piece opportunities in their attacking third of the field. However, execution let both teams down as the sides were forced the leave the pitch at full-time goalless.

Central Coast Mariners Assistant Coach, Phil Moss, who stood in for the suspended Arnold for the clash, said his side could be satisfied with their efforts in the 29th edition of the F3 Derby.

“Arnie-s philosophy since day one has been to keep clean sheets and to be hard to beat and be hard to break down, and I think we did well on that front tonight,” Moss said.

“It was a scrap, it wasn-t the prettiest game of football.”

“I thought it could have gone either way, but our players- determination to keep a clean sheet was fantastic tonight and the senior boys led by example.”

Moss said his preparation for his first Hyundai A-League game at the helm of the Mariners was relatively routine thanks to how closely he, goalkeeping mentor John Crawley, and strength and conditioning coach Andrew Clark, work with the astute Arnold.

“The defensive discipline and structures were in place. The fight and determination not to give the game away had Graham Arnold written all over it,” he said.

“I had great support from Arnie during the week and today during the day leading up to the game, and also from John Crawley and Andrew Clark. As a staff we do a lot of things together, we think very similar, and we shared the load tonight so it was no problem.”

Central Coast Mariners: 1. Mathew Ryan (Gk), 2. Daniel McBreen, 3. Joshua Rose, 4. Pedj Bojic, 6. Patrick Zwaanswijk, 7. John Hutchinson (c), 11. Oliver Bozanic, 14. Michael McGlinchey, 16. Trent Sainsbury, 17. Anthony Caceres (17- Montgomery 55-), 21. Mile Sterjovski (23. Adam Kwasnik 75-) Subs not used: 5. Zachary Anderson, 20. Justin Pasfield (Gk) Yellow cards: Sterjovski Red cards: Nil

Newcastle Jets: 2. Scott Neville, 4. Josh Mitchell, 7. James Brown, 8. Ruben Zadkovich (c), 9. Emile Heskey (17. James Virgili 61-), 11. Connor Chapman, 12. Joshua Brillante (16. Jobe Wheelhouse 89-), 13. Samuel Gallaway, 15. Craig Goodwin (26. Andrew Hoole 84-), 20. Mark Birighitti (Gk), 23. Ryan Griffiths Subs not used: 1. Ben Kennedy (Gk) Yellow cards: Zadkovich, Brown, Mitchell Red cards: Nil

Attendance: 11,249 Referee: Alan Milliner