Mariners’ hopes slip-sliding away

The Mariners are keen to kick off again.

It was a seven goal extravaganza between the Mariners and the Newcastle Jets at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle on Sunday, February 9.

Unfortunately for the Mariners, it was Newcastle that finished ahead on the ledger 4-3 at the final whistle.
Torrential rain had threatened to postpone the match, and Mariners Coach, Alen Stajcic, made a number of changes to the side that lost to the Wanderers the previous weekend, with Matt Simon, Sam Silvera and Jair all in the starting lineup.
But it was the Jets who adapted best to the slippery conditions.
They started fast and scored the opening goal in the 15th minute, when Petratos found a loose ball in space in the box and blasted into the back of the net.
Ten minutes later, Nikolai Topor-Stanley was left unattended at the back post and pushed the ball in to take the Jets out to a 2-0 lead.
Stajcic was forced into a first half change when Kye Rowles left the pitch after a heavy tackle and was replaced by Ruon Tongyik.
Tongyik made the most of his opportunity almost instantly, heading in from a corner to cut the deficit in half just before the break.
It took just four second half minutes for the Mariners to be level, with Jack Clisby stooping low to head in a cross from Milan Ðurić.
But it wasn’t long before the Jets reasserted themselves.
After a scramble in front of the Mariners’ goal, Petratos again found time to volley home a loose ball to put Newcastle back in front.
A short while later, a Jets corner glanced off Eun-Sun Kim into his own net, adding to the Mariners’ long list of unfortunate own goals this season.
Alen Stajcic made a double substitution as the game entered the final 20 minutes, with new recruit, Chris Harold, and Abraham Majok replacing Jair and Simon.
With time winding down, the former Perth Glory striker Harold, provided the only bright spot for the Mariners and, perhaps even a brief glimpse of hope for Mariners’ fans, when he produced one of the goals of the season.
From well outside the square, Harold produced a late dipping curve ball that dropped in under the crossbar, netting his first goal for the club.
But it was not enough for the hapless Mariners to resurrect a faltering season.
In truth, they never really looked likely with the Jets dominating from the opening whistle, and two near misses from returning favourite Roy O’Donovan, and another two from Steven Ugarkovic, one hitting the woodwork and another palmed away at the last moment by keeper, Mark Birighitti.
The loss against Newcastle is now the sixth loss in seven games for the Mariners and pressure is now building on Coach, Alen Stajcic, and club owners, as they stare down the barrel of a second consecutive wooden spoon.
Only goal differences separate the Central Coast and Newcastle in last place with just ten games remaining.
Defence remains a black hole for the Mariners.
This is the first time this season that they have conceded four goals in a match and the Mariners’ defence has now conceded 32 goals in 16 matches – a neat average of two per game.
The team face another tough game on Friday (February 14) when they take on Adelaide away.

Reporter: Ross Barry