FRESH from a commanding 2-0 victory over Newcastle in last weekend’s F3 Derby – a victory that well and truly handed our supporters bragging rights for now – we head into a tricky Bluetongue Stadium battle with Melbourne Heart tonight.
FRESH from a commanding 2-0 victory over Newcastle in last weekend-s F3 Derby - a victory that well and truly handed our supporters bragging rights for now - we head into a tricky Bluetongue Stadium battle with Melbourne Heart tonight.
Last Saturday night-s win tipped the statistical scales between the Mariners and the Jets in our direction with 10 wins and nine draws in 28 meetings between the two clubs.
A highlight of the night - along with, of course, another brace of goals from in-form striker Daniel McBreen - was hearing the Yellow and Navy singing victory songs long after the final whistle at Hunter Stadium.
That the win took us to 23 points from 10 games is a fantastic return for the hard work the players have put in so far.
The dressing room afterwards was a calm place - not least because midfielder Ollie Bozanic had a king-sized headache after a head clash with Jets defender Connor Chapman left him with a bout of concussion that has him in doubt for tonight-s match - with everyone knowing full well we had a short week to prepare for a tough assignment against a Heart side that will be boosted by the return of Socceroo trio Aziz Behich, Richard Garcia and Michael Marrone.
We too have Maty Ryan and Tommy Rogic returning from national team duty and their return to the training pitch this week has certainly lifted the tempo a notch or two.
Both did themselves and the club proud as they played key roles in the Socceroos- nail biting qualification (on goal difference) for next year-s East Asian Cup.
Their return and that of Adam Kwasnik and Mile Sterjovski to full fitness has certainly given coach Graham Arnold some sleepless nights this week trying to come up with the best squad to get the points over the Heart.
Former Mariner John Aloisi, now in charge of the Heart, will have his players fired up having collected four points from their last six with a draw away to Sydney FC followed by last weekend-s last-minute 1-0 win over Perth Glory at home.
For our part, we head into the game hell bent on protecting our fortress and ensuring our perfect record at home so far this season stays intact.
The side is brimming with confidence and has a swagger and a focus about it that every coach loves to see. Most importantly, there is no sign of complacency!
It-s a rare opportunity for us to play a home game on a Friday night and as always it will be crucial to have our “12th man” right beside us with a big Bluetongue Stadium crowd expected to roll through the gates.
Kick-off is 7.30pm.
Central Coast Mariners vs. Melbourne Heart - 2012/13 Hyundai A-League Round 11 Friday 14 December, 2012 Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford Kick-off: 7:30pm (local) Tickets: Please CLICK HERE to purchase tickets to the match! Twitter: Join the match conversation on Twitter! The official match hash-tag for Sunday-s game is #CCMvMH