The Central Coast Mariners secured their first point of the Hyundai A-League season after a 1-all draw with the Newcastle Jets in their Round 2 clash of the F3 Derby at Central Coast Stadium on October 19.
Mariners’ Head Coach, Alen Stajcic’s team took an early lead through a familiar face when a link up play between Jordan Murray and Milan Djuric saw the latter become just the second Mariner to score in his first two games.
Murray latched onto a perfectly weighted Djuric through ball on the left before cutting inside onto his favoured right foot and repayed the favour with a floated cross that Duric volleyed first time past a hapless Jets’ goalkeeper and into the corner.
Shouts for a penalty 17 minutes in were denied by the Video Assistant Referee for the Mariners, and the Jets began to push their claim as the half wore on, but excellent defence from the Mariners’ backline held them out until the break.
The second half began at a frantic pace with the hosts coming close twice in two minutes, first through a Djuric free kick from the left that forced a big stop from the Jets’ goalkeeper in the visitors’ net, and then a stunning run from Daniel DeSilva that ended with an effort cleared off the line by Matt Millar.
Shortly after though, the Jets were awarded a penalty for handball, but Mark Birighitti made an excellent diving save to deny Dimi Petratos and keep the hosts ahead.
The save was reviewed though and Birighitti adjudged to have moved off his line, and Petratos put his retake safely into the corner to pull his side level.
A wonder save by Birighitti denied Millar a goal on his return with twenty minutes to go when he stretched across the goal to stop Millar’s volleyed effort, and Djuric almost won the game for the Mariners in the dying seconds as a fizzing drive struck the base of the Jets’ goal and cannoned back out away from goal.
The Mariners now turn their attentions to Perth in a fortnight but can rest up with the bye ahead in Round 3.
Media release, Oct 19
David Jordan, Central Coast Mariners