F3 derby win claimed by the Jets in Gosford

By Corinthian (Paul Green):

Hyundai A-League – Season 11 – 2015/2016 – Round 21

5:05pm, Sunday 28th February 2016 – Central Coast Football Stadium, Gosford
Central Coast Mariners FC 0
lost to
Newcastle United Jets FC  1 (Steven Ugarkovic 57′)

So much effort and so little reward. That’s how Central Coast Mariners’ fans must have been thinking after their young, reshuffled team went down 1-0 to F3 freeway rivals, Newcastle Jets, on Sunday evening.

There was no lack of enterprise and no real naivety, despite the inclusion of so many developing players and others playing well out of position.

Frustrating for the fans, for the players and for the coach, Tony Walmsley.

What must have been even more galling was that the only goal came as a result of a mistake by one of the team’s most senior and experienced players, albeit in a less than customary role at the heart of defence, while the winning strike came from a player hardly unknown to Central Coast football followers.

Steven Ugarkovic needed no second invitation to put one past an exposed Paul Izzo in the 57rd minute after a swift counter-attack had caught the unfamiliar backline off-guard.

With Josh Rose the most experienced of the players along the back, as he took up a central position rather than taking up his customary spot on the left, where he can contribute so valuably to attacks out wide.

No such luxury this time, however, with Michael Neill in that spot and required to adapt to new surroundings.

It wasn’t just the defence that had needed reshaping as the attack was missing the suspended Fabio Ferreira, as well as Matthew Fletcher, Francesco Stella and the still-suspended Roy O’Donovan, who’ll be back for the next game, which can’t come too soon, many will be saying.

Luis Garcia suffered a suspected thigh injury early on and had limited movement thereafter, while teenager Trent Buhagiar put in a good shift out wide, before making way for Jake McGing, who also had to play well out of position.

Garcia made way for Dan Heffernan with an hour gone, but the star man had contributed mightily, under difficult circumstances,  before being forced off to treat his injury, caused by stretching hard for a ball, something that doesn’t come as easily to a 37 year old.

Given all that a Newcastle victory should not have come as a surprise, but their goal apart and some good lead up play they were well taken care of by the makeshift Mariners for the most part.

Izzo had a fine game between the posts, while Harry Ascroft at right back was exceptional and Neill did all that was asked of him across on the other flank.

Liam Rose was probably the pick of the home team’s players and at 18 years of age is blossoming rapidly and looks to have the maturity to excel at a higher level.

Mitch Austin made his characteristic surging runs at and sometimes through the heart of the opposition defence, but couldn’t get the better of the Jets defenders well marshalled as always by Nigel Boogaard and with the Newcastle keeper, Mark Birighitti not putting a foot wrong.

Frenzied Mariners attacking over the final fifteen minutes had Newcastle well under the pump, but that man Boogaard was awake to everything and he had good support from Nick Cowburn and Daniel Mullen in particular.

Also shining for the Jets was their play-maker, Leonardo  Santiago, along with Danish import Morten Nordstrand and Enver Alilovic out wide on the right.

It was a good derby contest, little animosity was displayed and there was a split match between the two teams at the finish.

They’ll meet again at the same venue right at the end of the season and it should be just as tight then, perhaps with a happier outcome for the long suffering fans at Central Coast Stadium.

Match details

Attendance: 7,528

Central Coast Mariners FC: 1 Paul IZZO (gk);   5 Harry ASCROFT, 3 Josh ROSE, 23 Tomislav USKOK (15 Brad McDONALD 82), 21 Michael NEILL; 16 Liam ROSE,  8 Nick MONTGOMERY (c); 10 Luis GARCIA (14 Daniel HEFFERNAN 61);  12 Trent BUHAGIAR (22 Jake McGING 75),  6 Mitchell AUSTIN;  19 Josh BINGHAM
Subs Not Used: 13 Alistair BRAY (rgk),  25 Adam BERRY

Yellow Cards: Tomislav Uskok 77, Nick Montgomery 79, Jake McGing 90; Red Card: Nil
Coach: Tony Walmsley

Newcastle United Jets FC: 1. Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk); 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 2 Daniel MULLEN,  4 Nigel BOOGAARD (c),  24 Nick COWBURN;  8.Mateo POLJAK (c);  10 Leonardo SANTIAGO (5.Ben KANTAROVSKI 90+2), 16 Steven UGARKOVIC; 7.Enver ALIVODIC, 19 Morten NORDSTRAND (14.Mitch COOPER 82); 9.Milos TRIFUNOVIC
Subs not used: 20.Ben KENNEDY (rgk), 22 Lachlan JACKSON, 6.Cameron WATSON

Yellow Cards: Daniel Mullen 45, Mateo Poljak 51; Red Cards: Nil
Coach: Scott Miller

Referee: Ben Williams
Assistants: Allyson Flynn and Owen Goldrick; Fourth Official: Matthew Cropper

Points and ratings

Player points:

3. Nigel Boogaard (NJ)
2. Liam Rose  (CCM)
1. Mitch Austin (CCM)

Match 7/10
Pitch 8/10
Referee:  7/10