Mariners search for more Melbourne magic

Over three months ago, the Central Coast Mariners headed to Etihad Stadium to open the Hyundai A-League season against reigning double winner Melbourne Victory as massive underdogs, only to return to Gosford with all three points, after a stunning 2-nil win.

Over three months ago, the Central Coast Mariners headed to Etihad Stadium to open the Hyundai A-League season against reigning double winner Melbourne Victory as massive underdogs, only to return to Gosford with all three points, after a stunning 2-nil win.

Now, 14 rounds later, the Mariners sit in fourth spot, seven points behind the second placed Victory, and are desperate to return to the scene of their opening day triumph to inflict more misery on Ernie Merrick-s high flyers.

Matt Simon and Michael McGlinchey scored the yellow and navy-s goals in the opening 15 minutes, to shellshock the premiers that night, and Simon is hopeful history can repeat.

"Our first game down there this season was a great result for the team, and I got my first goal down there. Hopefully we can repeat that same result, and hopefully I can get on the scoresheet," said Simon.

But the East Gosford junior and Qantas Socceroo is only too aware there-s been a lot of water under the bridge since that Thursday night in August, and that the Victory are going to be an even more formidable opponent this time around.

"They-re on fire at the moment, they-ve won six out of their last seven so it-s going to be tough going down to Melbourne as it always is.

"We-re just going to have to train well this week and have a good game plan, as we did last time, stick that out, and hopefully we can get a good result," Simon said.

The Mariners may be in fourth spot but it-s anything but comfortable. They are three points off third placed side Gold Coast United but only four clear of the bottom of the Hyundai A-League ladder.

With Gold Coast clashing with top-of-the-table Sydney FC, Saturday represents a golden opportunity to move into third place, and close the gap on the top two, while distancing themselves from the danger zone.

"Especially in this stage where we have five games away from home, and while drawing on the weekend was disappointing, jumping a spot on goal difference makes it a little bit better.

"We have to keep in touch with those top two teams, and winning this Saturday night will go a long way to doing that," said Simon.

Already with five goals under his belt this campaign, Simon is hoping to hit the target on plenty more occasions over the next 14 weeks, to not only aid his club-s charge toward the title, but also to put his name in the frame for more Qantas Socceroo accolades, with Pim Verbeek likely to utilise locally based players for future AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.

"I want to try to hit the targets I hit last year. Hopefully I can get a bit more consistency going, and it starts this weekend," said Simon.

Simon, and the rest of his Central Coast teammates will be vying for the inaugural Epworth ABI Cup at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

In a joint venture between Melbourne Victory, TAC, Epworth HealthCare and Victoria Police, the Epworth ABI Cup will help raise awareness of Acquired Brain Injury and the community cost of road trauma.

The Mariners- next home match of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season will be against Perth Glory on Friday, 27 November. Kick-off is at 8:00pm. Tickets are available online here or by phoning 132 849.

Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season are now on sale by clicking here