Central Coast Mariners kicked off their Hyundai A-League 2014/15 campaign with a win after Mitchell Duke’s late goal earned the yellow and navy a 1-0 F3 Derby triumph over archrivals Newcastle Jets in Gosford on Saturday, October 11.
In the second minute of added time at the end of the match, Duke finally broke the deadlock at Central Coast Stadium in front of a healthy crowd of over 10,000 fans. The youngster, who had been industrious throughout the encounter, snuck in following a well-weighted free kick into the box, and edged the ball beyond Jets’ custodian Mark Birighitti to ensure the Mariners started the 10th season of the Hyundai A-League by securing maximum points at their fortress. Both Central Coast and Newcastle enjoyed periods of dominance throughout the encounter, with Malick Mané and Kim Seungyong threatening Birighitti’s goal in the first 45 for the Mariners, while Jets’ Johnny Steele went particularly close to opening the scoring for the Novocastrians 12 minutes after half-time. Matt Sim was a consistent threat for Central Coast in attack throughout the game, and he may feel that he could have been the first Mariner to etch his name on the scoresheet in 2014/15 when he combined with Mané in the 66th minute. Alas, Sim’s strike from Mané’s precise cross lacked the power necessary to pass Birighitti. Urged on by their home faithful, the Mariners showed plenty of desperation to thwart Newcastle’s best advances, and made the most of their opportunity to claim all three points in added time just as the game seemed destined to end in a stalemate. Having scored in the first round of the season last year against Western Sydney Wanderers, Duke got his personal campaign off to a flyer by poking the ball into the back of the net at the Yellow Army end. Central Coast Mariners head coach Phil Moss said he was satisfied with his side’s first outing of the season, and said that he always expected Saturday’s game against the Club’s local foes to be a tough and tight affair. “It’s a derby and you don’t expect it to be an open affair,” Moss said. “It was a tight game, it was physical, particularly in the middle of the park, and I thought both teams had their chances to win the game today. “But I am just so proud of my boys to keep the belief until the 94th minute to grab a goal. “I always thought in the last five minutes there would be one big chance, maybe at either end, but luckily for us it was at our end and I thought ‘Dukey’ (Mitchell Duke) showed a lot of composure to finish the way he did from that free kick – it was a great finish,” said Moss. Moss added that he was proud of his side’s ability to remain resolute against a Jets outfit who arrived at Central Coast Stadium up for the fight. “You’re never going to play 94 minutes of perfect football,” he said. “There’s going to be times when you’re going to have to knuckle down, roll up your sleeves and stick to your structures, and that’s why I am such a process driven coach because when things aren’t going your way you can fall back on a process. “There were some good glimpses, some promising glimpses of what we’ve been trying to do with the ball and I thought for the most part our defending was very good and resolute.” Central Coast Mariners held a recovery session the following day before venturing to Queensland on the Monday to take on the Palm Beach Sharks in the quarterfinal of the Westfield FFA Cup 2014 on Tuesday at Cbus Super Stadium, Robina as Coast Community News went to press.
11 Oct 2014
Central Coast Mariners