Moss: "Challenge number one complete"

IT'S hard to believe I’m writing about another F3 Derby but such is the Hyundai A-League draw.

IT'S hard to believe I-m writing about another F3 Derby but such is the Hyundai A-League draw.

For the third time this season we meet our traditional foes in a game at Bluetongue - the second Mariners-Jets clash in Gosford this summer - that will rock the Central Coast.

It-s fair to say the holiday period has been a memorable one for us - we have enjoyed a club record-equalling 12 games unbeaten which includes 10 wins and two draws.

It sees us sitting clear top by eight points from both Brisbane and Melbourne Hear but there is no sign of taking the foot off the pedal.

We believe we have all but accomplished our first challenge of the season - to qualify for the top six. The next challenge is to secure a top two spot and qualify for back-to-back Asian Champions League campaigns. It-s still a long way off, of course, but as I-ve said many times before the players continue to put themselves in a commanding position with their performances and consistency.

The 1-0 victory of Sydney FC last weekend was no easy game. The first 35 minutes was as good as we-ve played in a season and a half but then we got a bit slippy and Sydney controlled possession. I-m sure the emotion and effort surrounding Matty Simon-s departure in the midweek win over Melbourne Victory played its part but it was never going to be an excuse for not winning. To be a successful team you have to be able to win by more ways than one - pretty and gritty.

It sets up a fascinating F3 Derby with Newcastle tomorrow night at Bluetongue Stadium (kick-off 5:30pm) and we are taking nothing for granted. Regardless of the Jets- woes, coach Gary van Egmond will have his charges fired up. It sits at one apiece this season with the Jets taking honours at their place in round three and us returning the favour at Bluetongue before Christmas.

Just as the players are achieving consistency on the field it would be fantastic to see the Central Coast community out in force again.

Central Coast Mariners Assistant Coach, Phil Moss, writes his column weekly for the Central Coast Express Advocate. CLICK HERE for all the latest football news from the Express Advocate's team of local journalists.