Birighitti praises Jets' character

Mark Birighitti has praised the character of his teammates to hold on for a 2-1 win over the Mariners in Saturday’s F3 Derby.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti has praised the character of his teammates to hold on for a 2-1 win over the Central Coast Mariners in Saturday-s F3 Derby.

The Jets looked to be in a comfortable position with a two-goal advantage after Ryan Griffiths and Emile Heskey found the back of the net either side of half-time.

However, they had to withstand a late Mariners fight-back after Bernie Ibini got a goal back for the visitors in the 71st minute of the match.

Birighitti said he was proud of the way he and his teammates stood up under pressure from the Central Coast.

“It was a fantastic result. The mood in the change rooms afterwards was unbelievable. I think we fully deserved that win,” Birighitti said.

“In the second half we were under the pump a bit and Central Coast were playing some good football, but full credit to the boys who were able to hang on for a great win.

“Ever since I came to the Club, the morale between all the boys has been unbelievable.

“To get a result like this is a big boost for the boys and hopefully we can take it forward this week against Melbourne Victory.”

Birighitti-s Jets career got off to a less than ideal start after he was controversially sent off in the opening round loss to Adelaide United.

However, the 21-year-old shot-stopper bounced back in impressive fashion against the Mariners, making a number of important saves that earned him the Reading Cinemas Man of the Match award.

“I got called into action a few times and lucky enough I pulled those saves off and kept us in the game,” Birighitti said.

“It was good to go out there and put in a good performance because it was a disappointing start to the season for me.

“I was happy to redeem myself and it was a great performance by all of the boys.”

Newcastle head coach Gary van Egmond said he was pleased with the way Birighitti recovered from the early setback to his Jets career and the way he applied to himself in the lead-up to the F3 Derby.

“I think he was more focused tonight,” van Egmond said.

“He-s a young keeper and he-ll keep getting better because he works very hard at his game and he has the ability.”

Birighitti said it was great to see 15,289 Jets Members and supporters at Saturday-s match and he was hoping for a similar turnout for Friday night-s game against the Melbourne Victory

“We played some good football, we-ve still got some improvement to do but that will come with the more games we play,” he said.

“The crowd was fantastic and hopefully they can come out in numbers and we can do the same again next game.”

Match details: Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Victory Hunter Stadium Friday, October 26 Kick-off 7.30pm (Gates open 6.30pm) Tickets available from PROticket.