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The Roar


Mariners shoot to thrill as possession brings Jets pain

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22nd December, 2022

Eleven days ago, on the 11th of December, 11 dejected men in yellow rued being beat by Newcastle in the F3 derby.

Crammed with three returning Socceroos, Gosford’s brightest stars faded that night, its celebrated players suffering from jet lag.

And although Jason Cummings scored, it wasn’t enough to beat the Jets, as the Novocastrians prevailed. Alas, such joys are now a distant memory for Newcastle. The team currently sits on the worst goal difference in the competition.

Fast-forward a few weeks, and Nick Montgomery’s men completely turned their season around. On Wednesday it was the Mariners who were smashing three unanswered goals past the Jets.

Indulged with a glut of possession, Arthur Papas’ team dazzled with fancy footwork, yet 500 passes later, Newcastle had nothing to show. It was the second consecutive week without a goal.

In Wednesday’s game, Central Coast registered a huge 12 shots on target, and from only having around 40 per cent of the ball. No other A-League club in the last few weeks could match those impressive statistics.

Wellington had eight genuine chances, but apart from that, the other A-League clubs failed to pull the trigger more than six times, their ammunition seeming empty.


The Mariners also lead the competition ladder in goals scored, amassing 18 bites of the cherry, followed by Phoenix on 16 goals.

Things are looking up on the Central Coast. More than 7000 people witnessed the F3 Derby, which is a pleasing figure for a midweek game.

This Tuesday, however, the real test begins, as Montgomery’s men travel down to Melbourne. Filled with international talent, City is the current benchmark for elite sport.

Hurt by last week’s suspended match against Victory, the ladder-leaders’ season hit a speed bump, equaling one fewer game played than most other clubs.

That shouldn’t worry the Melbourne lads though, as they enjoy the challenge, having won their last fixture with only 10 men against Newcastle. Even with a red card, City were nearly unstoppable. A missing man meant nothing to them.

Which brings us to Garang Kuol. Is this his final game south of the border? The Premier League player’s time is coming to an end in Australia.

His empty shoes will be hard to fill, although his footprints almost seem timeless, buried deep within the grass at Gosford, under the shade of swaying palm trees.