Mariners win 4-2 in New Caledonia

CENTRAL Coast Mariners concluded their two-match tour of New Caledonia with a 4-2 win over their hosts at the Stade Numa Daly in Noumea tonight.

Mitchell Duke

CENTRAL Coast Mariners concluded their two-match tour of New Caledonia with a 4-2 win over their hosts at the Stade Numa Daly in Noumea tonight.

Youngster Mitchell Duke netted a brace for the Mariners with Troy Hearfield and Bernie Ibini also etching their names on the scoresheet in the pacific.

The impressive Miguel Kayara - who on Thursday netted a stunning free kick for Les Cagous - enhanced his reputation with a fine solo effort for Alain Moizan-s men in the second stanza. New Caledonia scored another direct from a corner with nine minutes to play.

Indeed, it took Duke just three minutes to find the opening goal of the game. Hearfield found the Mariners marksman following a swift counter attack, with the 21-year-old Duke making no error in guiding the ball into the back of the net at the first time of asking.

After falling behind New Caledonia pressured the Central Coast defence with some attacking raids of their own. Goalkeeper Justin Pasfield produced two sharp saves to keep the yellow and navy ahead.

Just three minutes before the interval Hearfield scored his first goal of the pre-season. This time it was Duke playing provider, with Hearfield sliding the ball home to send the Mariners into the sheds with a two-goal cushion.

After the break Kayara reduced the deficit. Weaving his way past two would-be defenders, the New Caledonian midfielder produced a sharp shot to make the score 2-1.

Duke proved a handful for the New Caledonian backline throughout the game and in the 74th minute he scored his second of the night. After beating two players, Duke unleashed an unstoppable drive to restore Central Coast-s two-goal lead.

It would take only a minute for the Mariners to make the score 4-1. Bernie Ibini - who netted the Mariners- goal in the 1-1 draw between the two sides on Thursday - nicked the ball into the back of the net.

New Caledonia sustained pressure on the Mariners thereafter and were rewarded for their efforts when they scored direct from a corner in the 81st minute.

But Central Coast held on to secure their first win of the pre-season.

After the match, Mariners tactician Graham Arnold said his team had benefited from the five-day tour to the pacific.

“We got exactly what we wanted out of the trip,” Arnold said. “We got two good games against a strong opposition in New Caledonia.”

“I believe the Oceania nations have improved enormously and we can-t thank New Caledonia enough for showing us such great hospitality throughout our stay.”

“Tonight we performed very well. We scored some good goals and in all honesty we could have scored more.”

“I am very happy with the performance and the trip.”

The Mariners return to the Central Coast tomorrow.

Central Coast Mariners 4 (Duke 3', 74', Hearfield 42', Ibini 75') New Caledonia 2 (Kayara 61', Scorer TBC 81')

Stade Numa Daly

Central Coast Mariners 20. Justin Pasfield, 3. Josh Rose (22. James Oates 78-), 4. Pedj Bojic, 6. Patrick Zwaanswijk (13. Brent Griffiths 78-), 8. Adriano Pellegrino, 12. Troy Hearfield (9. Bernie Ibini 45-), 14. Michael McGlinchey (7. John Hutchinson 70-), 15. Brad McDonald, 16. Trent Sainsbury, 17. Anthony Caceres, 19. Mitchell Duke

Subs not used: 21. Mile Sterjovski