Central Coast Mariners 2 (Ferreira 51’ & O’Donovan76’) Newcastle Jets 4 (Nordstrand 1’ & 55’, Alivodic 18’ & Poljak 81’)
The Run Down
A six-goal thriller at Central Coast Stadium brings the Hyundai A-League 2015/16 season to an end for the Yellow & Navy. Fabio Ferreira buried a spot kick and Luis Garcia whipped in a pinpoint cross that Roy O’Donovan emphatically headed home.
A brace to Morten Nordstrand plus goals to Mateo Poljak and Enver Alivodic were enough to overcome the Mariners in Gosford on the last match of the season.
Special mention to Adam Pearce who put in a confident display in between the sticks after being called into action when Paul Izzo left the field with a concussion in the first minute of play.
1’ NORDSTRAND GOAL: In one of the most dramatic first minutes of play in Hyundai A-League history, Izzo stormed out to defend Ryan Kitto. Izzo clashed with the elbow of the Jets’ attacker, which had the shot stopper unconscious on the ground, allowing Morten Nordstrand to finish into an open net.
18’ ALIVODIC GOAL: Again it was Kitto who played provider. He broke down the left flank and delivered a precision ball to Enver Alivodic who finished from inside the six-yard-box
51’ FERREIRA GOAL: The Central Coast Mariners had one back just six minutes into the second half when Ben Kantarovski was ruled to handball in the box. Ferreira smashed his penalty into the roof of the net.
55’ NORDSTRAND GOAL (2): Kitto had his third assist of the evening and Nordstrand finished it off to double his tally for the night.
76’ O’DONOVAN GOAL: The man of the night, Luis Garcia delivered for the Irishman. It was a superb cross from Garcia that landed on the head of O’Donovan that he headed home like a pro.
81’ POLJAK GOAL: Mateo Poljak took it upon himself to seal all three points for the Newcastle Jets with a strike from distance at Central Coast Stadium
“We took a calculated risk with nothing to lose and it was a little bit too easy for Newcastle to create chances, had we knicked another one when we had momentum who knows but it wasn’t a good enough defensive display to warrant the result we were after,” Walmsley said.
“We thought we had pegged one back just before half time which was a bit harsh not to be allowed.
“We got the pen, we had momentum, conceded then we scored a great goal off a fantastic assist from Garcia and great header from Roy. We were still in it then but again we didn’t defend well enough.
“Fabio was fantastic, Luis in the pockets was causing havoc and Roy O’Donovan was making great forward runs so we always felt like we had goals in us.
“Luis came close with one of his shots but what a legend he is. He’s an incredible footballer, an incredible man and an inspiration to a lot of people.
“When Luis arrived here we were looking for that inspiration because we were going through a tough season and he’s certainly delivered that, it’s just a pity we couldn’t get a few more points and results.
“I understand the angst of the supporters. We’ve made changes and exposed a number of players to too much too soon.
“The future is very bright, we are very active in recruiting seniority, good leaders and experienced footballers who will make an immediate difference on the pitch next season.
“A sense of optimism will start to flow through when the first signing is made, then the next signing is made and suddenly pre-season is upon us,” Walmsley said.
Central Coast Mariners: Izzo (g/k) (Pearce 4’), Ascroft, Poscoliero, J. Rose, Neill, Montgomery (c), L. Rose, Garcia (McDonald 86'), Ferreira, Austin (Fletcher 67'), O’Donovan
Newcastle Jets: Birighitti (g/k), Mullen, Hoffman, Kantarovski, Cowburn, Poljak (c), Ugarkovic, Alivodic (Pavicevic 89'), Leonardo, Nordstrand, Kitto (Brennan 66’)
Scorers: Nordstrand (1’), Alivodic (18’), Ferreira (51’), Nordstrand (54’), Roy O’Donovan (76’), Poljak (79’)
Red cards: nil
Yellow cards: Hoffman (33’)
Conditions: 19°C, fine
Attendance: 7355 at Central Coast Stadium