Jets claim derby draw in enemy territory

The Newcastle Jets have earned a point in the first F3 derby of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season, playing out a 1-all draw in this evening’s clash at Bluetongue Stadium.

The Newcastle Jets have earned a point in the first F3 derby of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season, playing out a 1-all draw in this evening-s clash at Bluetongue Stadium.

A goal soon after the halftime break by Jin-Hyung Song was cancelled out moments later by a header from Mariners- defender Nigel Boogaard.

Indeed, it was the home side that would start the brighter, with Matt Simon having a header of his own ruled out after just 11 minutes for offside. Replays showed that it was an extremely tight decision and one the Jets would later make the most of.

The Jets- first shot in anger was taken by Matt Thompson in the 19th minute when the skipper cut inside from the left touchline and hit a stinging drive at Danny Vukovic. The Mariners- custodian did well to parry the powerful strike to safety.

Both sides sought out the opening goal of the encounter, with the Mariners looking likely after 33 minutes through Adam Kwasnik, who saw his header from point-blank range brilliantly saved by the fingertips of Jets ‘keeper Ben Kennedy.

The sides would then go into the main break locked at 0-0, but Jets- Head Coach Branko Culina looked to shift things around by bringing on Nikolai Topor-Stanley for youngster Chris Triantis. With Qantas Socceroo Topor-Stanley moving into defence, Ljubo Milicevic was pushed into a midfield role, and it was a move that was to alter the course of the game.

In the 47th minute the Jets struck through their Korean import when the home side failed to deal with a Tarek Elrich cross. Jets- marquee player Fabio Vignaroli stole in to get a touch on to Song, who duly slotted home his first goal of the new season.

However, the lead was to last only 3 minutes, with the Mariners striking back when a Michael McGlinchey free-kick from a wide area was met with venom by the head of Boogaard. The scoreline was to remain 1-1 for the remainder of the match, but both sides had their chances to claim the winner.

Mariners- skipper Alex Wilkinson and Jets- starlet Sean Rooney both saw their efforts in the dying moments of the game sail over the bar, and thus both sides were forced to settle for a solitary point.

Culina explained in the post-match press conference that, given the personnel currently on the Jets- injured list, a draw was a reasonable result away from home in round 2.

“Not only have we got a number of players who are not at their peak fitness, you have got to understand that Newcastle was in the ACL until the 24th of June. We gave the players a 10 day break, we didn-t start our pre-season until the 6th of July when everyone else had been training for 4 months.”

The Jets- boss also paid tribute to this evening-s opponent, explaining that the Mariners were cruising throughout much of the opening stanza.

“Central Coast were by far the better team in the first half, they outplayed us, they had control of the game and they caused us a lot of problems. We had a few chances in the first half but they dominated and we had to address it.”

“Not only did we make the change with Ljubo (into midfield) but we changed from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 as well, which meant we had more options further up the field. The key was to control the middle of the park, and I thought the second half was a far better performance from our team,” Culina explained.

Match Details:

Central Coast Mariners squad: 20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Brad PORTER, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Dean HEFFERNAN, 11. Dylan MACALLISTER (9. Nik MRDJA 71-), 14. Michael MCGLINCHEY, 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON, 23. Adam KWASNIK (21. Ahmad ELRICH 83-) Unused substitutes: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 22. Nicky TRAVIS Yellow cards: Adam Kwasnik 41-, John Hutchinson 45-, Nigel Boogaard 72- Red cards: Nil

Newcastle Jets: 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2. Angelo COSTANZO, 3. Adam D-APUZZO, 5. Ljubo MILICEVIC, 7. Jin-Hyung SONG, 8. Matt THOMPSON (c), 9. Sasho PETROVSKI (15. Sean ROONEY 74-), 11. Tarek ELRICH, 16. Jason HOFFMAN, 17. Fabio VIGNAROLI, 24. Chris TRIANTIS (4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY 45-) Unused substitutes: 20. Neil YOUNG (gk), 19. Jason NAIDOVSKI Yellow cards: Fabio Vignaroli 21-, Nikolai Topor-Stanley 56-, Jin-Hyung Song 85- Red cards: Nil

Central Coast Mariners: 1 (Boogaard 50-) Newcastle Jets: 1 (Song 47-) Referee: Ben WILLIAMS Crowd: 9,573