Hands up if anyone saw Manchester United as a potential buyer for the Central Coast Mariners? No? Didn’t think so.
High-flying Central Coast Mariners have notched another impressive scalp with a come-from-behind 3-2 win over A-League big guns Melbourne City.
Wednesday night’s victory in Gosford enabled the hosts to retain their unlikely hold of top spot on the ladder.
It was a rare win over City for the Mariners but it was the nature of the victory as much as the quality of the opponent that impressed.
The Mariners rebounded from a 2-0 deficit on the half-hour mark to record a memorable win thanks to Danny De Silva’s spectacular winner ten minutes from fulltime.
It was the first time in 30 matches City had failed to win after holding a 2-0 lead.
The win for the A-League wooden-spooners over last season’s grand finalists follows a victory over A-League champions Sydney FC a fortnight ago.
The Mariners elected to rest influential captain Oliver Bozanic, allowing Gosford local and crowd favourite Matt Simon to don the armband. It was Simon’s 200th appearance for the club, just the second player to reach the mark after John Hutchison.
Experienced pair Scott Jamieson and Florin Berenguer returned to a City side seeking to bounce back from a 3-1 home defeat against Perth Glory on the weekend.
The Mariners started the contest in enterprising fashion, but it was City that opened the scoring on 23 minutes as Adrian Luna flicked home from close range after Craig Noone threaded a superb low ball into the penalty area.
The visitors made it a two-goal lead just after the half-hour mark when reigning A-League golden boot Jamie Maclaren lifted over advancing goalkeeper Mark Birighitti.
The Mariners new-found resolve was again on display with 20-year-old Jaden Casella nabbing an easy maiden goal thanks to a perfect lay-off from redoubtable veteran Simon.
Within 15 minutes of the restart, City self-destructed. Nathanial Atkinson carelessly bundled over Simon in the penalty area and the hometown hero comfortably fired home the resultant spot-kick on 57 minutes.
Within moments of the restart teenage defender Kerrin Stokes fell victim to the raw pace of Alou Kuol and pulled down the Mariners forward for his second caution of the match. It was the third time in five matches this season City has been reduced to ten players.
City were left to withstand significant pressure and were barely able to make a significant inroad at the other end of the pitch.
The Mariners continued to stretch the play with their new-found confidence and duly got their reward when De Silva won possession before confidently firing home a worthy winner from outside the penalty area.