Central Coast will enter the ALM finals on a high after ending their regular season with a 2-0 victory over Newcastle, their fifth straight win.
A momentous day in the club’s history after Anytime Fitness co-founder Richard Peil announced on Saturday he’d bought into the Mariners ended with goals from Jason Cummings and Beni NKololo securing their first-ever season sweep over their bitter rivals.
Belying pre-season predictions, they have now matched the points total from their magical 2020-21 season, while scoring 14 more goals in the process.
And with both on and off-field wins under their belts, the Gosford-based side will head into the finals full of belief and with just one defeat in their last 14 games.
“We don’t fear anybody. I don’t think anybody wants to play us,” Montgomery said.
“We know what we’re good at and our identity. We’re hard-working and we’re honest.
“We don’t rely on anybody else. We don’t rely on anyone else for results. We rely on ourselves.
“The run we’ve been on is great. Our home form is great but we can go away from home, put performances in and pick up wins as well.”
Moving into fourth, the Mariners will now sweat on other results to determine their finals opponents.
Should Adelaide United defeat Western United on Sunday, they will fall to fifth and play the Reds at Hindmarsh Stadium.
An Adelaide draw or loss, however, means a final heads to Gosford, with their opponents determined by whether Wellington can beat Melbourne City on Monday to leapfrog Adelaide.
With their regular season concluded, the Jets’ final game of 2021-22 will come next week when they take part in playoffs for a spot in the 2022 Australia Cup.
“We weren’t better in the key moments,” coach Arthur Papas said.
“Especially in the boxes. That’s the difference in the game today.”
Bending a gorgeous shot into the top corner to make it 1-0 after 30 minutes, Cummings’ strike was his tenth goal since arriving at the Mariners in January, form which has thrust him into Socceroos contention.
“A lot of people are talking about him at the minute but he’s just an honest, hard-working lad,” said Montgomery.
“The boys love him.”
The only dampener on the Mariners’ night was a potential late injury to Brazilian attacker Moresche, but Montgomery was hopeful it was just “a knock”.