Jets win F3 Derby

The Newcastle Jets defeated the Central Coast Mariners 2-1 in a thrilling F3 Derby contest at Hunter Stadium on Saturday night.

The Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets defeated the Central Coast Mariners 2-1 in a thrilling F3 Derby contest at Hunter Stadium on Saturday night.

Goals to Ryan Griffiths and Emile Heskey on either side of half-time was enough to secure the three points for the Jets in front of 15,289 Members and supporters.

The Jets went ahead in the fifth minute courtesy of a Ryan Griffiths penalty-kick after Emile Heskey was fouled in the box.

James Virgili cut in from the right and looked to play a square ball to the top of the box that ricocheted off a Mariners player back into the path of Heskey inside the 18-yard box.

As the former England international tried to bring the ball under control, he was brought to ground by Michael McGlinchy and referee Ben Williams awarded a penalty.

Griffiths stepped up to take the spot-kick and sent Mariners- goalkeeper Matt Ryan the wrong way to put the Jets ahead 1-0.

The Jets had an opportunity to make it 2-nil when Craig Goodwin expertly controlled a long ball with his chest before attempting to take an early shot with his right foot that he hooked wide.

After getting over the early shock of conceding a goal in the opening five minutes, the Mariners soon found their feet and were almost on level terms from a corner in the 18th minute.

Trent Sainsbury leapt high to direct a powerful header towards the goal, only for Jets shot-stopper Mark Birighitti to pull off a superb one-handed save and tip the ball over the bar.

Birighitti was in the action again just four minutes later when he was forced to come off his line and smother a Tom Rogic shot after the attacking midfielder had gone on a snaking run into the penalty box.

The Mariners continued to pepper the Jets- defence and earned a number of corners, but Newcastle were up to the task on each occasion.

After weathering the storm the Jets went on the attack through Goodwin in the 37th minute. The former Melbourne Heart player hit a superb cross from the left that Heskey was inches away from connecting with his outstretched right boot.

The near miss meant the score remained 1-0 at the half-time interval.

The second half started in an even fashion with both sides having their share of half-chances, but neither side being able to convert.

That was until the 61st minute when some sublime pace and skill from James Virgili enabled the Jets to double their lead.

Virgili skipped past Josh Rose on the right wing, before waltzing by Patrick Zwaanswijk in the penalty box.

The 20-year-old then played a neat little cut-back to Heskey who has the easiest of tap-ins from inside the six-yard box to make it 2-0.

The Mariners-s response was swift however with Bernie Ibini getting a goal back in the 71st minute after the Jets failed to clear a long throw from the Mariners.

Goodwin almost restored the Jets- two-goal lead when he surprised everyone by going direct for goal with free-kick from the right wing. With Ryan caught off his line, the ball skimmed off the top of the crossbar and the Mariners were lucky to escape.

As the Mariners pushed forward in search of an equaliser, the Jets had a couple of half chances on the counter attack, which they were unable to convert.

They almost paid the ultimate price when Zwaanswijk found the back of the net with a header in stoppage time. Thankfully for the large crowd of Jets Members and supporters in attendance, the goal was ruled to be offside and the three points were secure.

Newcastle Jets 2 (Griffiths 5-, Heskey 61-) Central Coast Mariners 1 (Ibini 71-)

Newcastle Jets: 3. Tiago Calvano, 4. Josh Mitchell, 5. Dominik Ritter, 8. Ruben Zadkovich, 9. Emile Heskey (6. Ben Kantarovski 80-)14. Taylor Regan (12. Josh Brillante 69-), 15. Craig Goodwin, 16. Jobe Wheelhouse (c), 17. James Virgili (22. Adam Taggart 84-), 20. Mark Birighitti (gk), 23. Ryan Griffiths. Yellow cards: Zadkovich (1-) Virgili (62-), Heskey (62-) Mitchell (67-) Goodwin (90-) Subs not used: 1. Ben Kennedy (gk)

Central Coast Mariners: 1. Mathew Ryan (gk), 2. Daniel McBreen, 3. Joshua Rose, 4. Pedj Bojic, 6. Patrick Zwaanswijk, 7. John Hutchinson (c), 10. Tomas Rogic (5. Zac Anderson 88-), 14. Michael McGlinchey, 16. Trent Sainsbury, 18. Nick Montgomery (12. Troy Hearfield 83-), 21. Mile Sterjovski (9. Bernie Ibini 58-) Yellow cards: McGlinchy (3-), Bojic (54-), McBreen (79-) Subs not used: 20. Justin Pasfield (gk).