The Newcastle Jets were defeated 3-0 by the Central Coast Mariners in Saturday night's F3 Derby at Bluetongue Stadium.
An improved second half performance was not enough for the Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets to overturn a three-goal deficit at half-time as they were defeated 3-0 by the Central Coast Mariners in Saturday night's F3 Derby at Bluetongue Stadium.
The fixture started in a cagey fashion, with neither side able to fashion any clear-cut chances inside the opening 10 minutes of the contest.
The stalemate was broken by the home side in the 13th minute of the contest when the Jets- defence backed off Anthony Caceres, allowing the Mariners midfielder to unleash a vicious strike from 25 metres out into the top corner of the goal.
Outside of Daniel McBreen forcing a low save from Mark Birighitti in the 18th minute of the contest, the Jets responded well to the early setback.
Newcastle enjoyed a good period of possession and looked to threaten the Mariners- backline, but were unable to apply the finishing touches to some positive forays forward.
The Jets were made to pay for their lack of end product in the 32nd minute of the contest with McBreen doubling the home side-s advantage with another spectacular strike.
McBreen linked up with Nick Fitzgerald on the edge of the penalty area, before curling a left-footed shot with his instep past Birighitti and into the top corner of the goal.
The Jets had a fantastic opportunity to get a goal back just before half-time when Adam Taggart pounced on an error from the Mariners- defence.
The Olyroo squared the ball to Emile Heskey who was waiting inside the six-yard box, but the former England international skied his side-footed effort from close range high over the cross bar.
The Jets were punished for the missed opportunity in the cruellest possible fashion less than a minute later, with Central Coast striker Matt Simon burying a powerful header from a Mariners corner to give the home side a 3-0 lead at the break.
In an effort to spark the Jets into life in his first match as head coach, Clayton Zane introduced Andrew Hoole to the fray at the beginning of the second half.
The Australian youth international wasted no time injecting himself into the contest, going on a positive run forward and firing a shot from the edge of the area that was deflected for a corner.
A short time later, Hoole played a neat through ball that put Taggart in behind the Mariners defence, only to see his first time shot saved by the face of Liam Reddy, who did not know much about it.
The Jets should have perhaps had an opportunity to get a goal back from the penalty spot in the 58th minute, when Heskey nodded down Craig Goodwin-s free-kick back across the face of goal and the ball appeared to strike the hand of Mariners defender Zac Anderson.
However, the Jets- appeals for a penalty were denied by referee Jarred Gillett , much to the chagrin of the large contingent of travelling Novocastrians who had made the trip to Gosford.
Hoole looked like the Jets- most likely source of creating a goal and the right-winger nearly supplied one in the 63rd minute of the contest, when he beat his man before delivering a pin-point cross towards Taggart.
Taggart did well to bring the ball under control, before trying an audacious backheel that did not have enough power behind it to get past Reddy.
A short time later Hoole cut inside from the right flank, before playing in his opposite winger in Goodwin.
The former Melbourne Heart man cut back onto his right foot and hit a low shot that forced a sharp reflex save from Reddy.
The ball rebounded to the feet of Goodwin, but his follow-up effort deflected off the outside of the post for a goal-kick, summing up the Jets- fortunes.
The Jets continued to go in search of way back into the contest, with Nick Ward rising well to meet Goodwin-s cross, only to see his header drift just wide of the target.
Despite a much improved second-half performance, the deficit proved too big a mountain to climb for the Jets and the Mariners secured a 3-0 victory.
Central Coast Mariners 3 (Caceres 13-, McBreen 32-, Simon 45-) Newcastle Jets 0