Jets soar to derby success

The Newcastle Jets have secured a pulsating 2-1 triumph over arch rivals the Central Coast Mariners in Round 12 of the Hyundai A-League played at EnergyAustralia Stadium on tonight.

The Newcastle Jets have secured a pulsating 2-1 triumph over arch rivals the Central Coast Mariners in Round 12 of the Hyundai A-League played at EnergyAustralia Stadium on tonight.

A stunning Michael Bridges strike in the 8th minute followed by a close range Labinot Haliti finish six minutes later gave the Jets the win despite a superb Adam Kwasnik consolation shortly after.

The victory gives the Jets a crucial three competition points after going winless in their past 6 matches.

In front of 6,188 fans, an intense atmosphere ensured both sets of players remained unwaveringly committed over the course of 90 minutes.

As can be expected in most matches between these fervent foes, the fixture started at a frantic pace, so it came as little surprise that something had to give in the opening stages of the game.

And Jets fans were ecstatic when Bridges finished off tidy interplay between Tarek Elrich and Haliti inside ten minutes.

Marauding down the right side, Elrich played a pinpoint pass to Haliti who back-heeled on sublimely to Bridges. Ghosting past Mariners right back Nigel Boogaard, Bridges then struck a left-foot cannon past Danny Vukovic to give the hosts the early lead.

Having provided the assist for Vukovic-s opener, Haliti then pounced on a 14th minute loose ball from a Fabio Vignaroli free kick to double Newcastle-s lead. With the Italian marquee midfielder swinging the ball into the box, Haliti reacted quickest following a number of ricochets to score his second goal in as many games.

The Mariners knew they needed to respond and did so just five minutes after going down 2-0. With Welsh midfielder Matthew Crowell whipping a ball into the box, Kwasnik volleyed on the turn leaving Jets custodian Ben Kennedy with no chance.

After the epic opening the game settled until Vignaroli and Kwasnik struck strong efforts for their respective sides. Turning back onto his right side in the 35th minute, Vignaroli unleashed a fierce curling shot that whisked just inches wide. Just before halftime Kwasnik reacted to a Matt Simon knock down to volley centimetres over Kennedy-s bar.

Knowing they needed another goal to restore parity the Mariners pushed forward throughout the second half.

New Zealand international midfielder Michael McGlinchey was looking especially productive and he struck two fine efforts on goal to keep Kennedy on his toes. The latter would have gone down as one of the best goals in Hyundai A-League history as McGlinchey let fly from just inside halfway, however the impressive Kennedy was equal to the task.

Import Jin-Hyung Song could have made the game safe for Newcastle on 70 minutes when he found himself with two chances, however the Mariners defence scrambled to repel the dynamic Korean.

Kennedy remained solid in the dying stages of the match when the 22-year-old keeper extended backwards to tip a Bradley Porter cross-cum-shot over the bar. The save marked the completion of a strong game for the young custodian.

After the match Jets coach Branko Culina was delighted with the way his players performed, and the character that they displayed, in the heat of the derby.

“It was important that we won, first of all at home for our supporters. They have been terrific throughout and have supported us ever so well, considering the results, but I-d like to think they have been pleased with the way we have been playing. They have kept supporting us and tonight was a bit of a thank-you and a payback for them,” he said.

“(The mental toughness) was a feature of the game, for me, because everything else I knew about the team, I knew we could play good football. It was a game really of two halves, so to speak, firstly we played some terrific football and set-up the win and second half the players challenged themselves and they were terrific,” Culina concluded.

Match details:
Newcastle Jets: 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2. Angelo COSTANZO, 3. Adam D-APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 6. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 7. Jin-Hyung SONG, 8. Matthew THOMPSON (c), 11. Tarek ELRICH, 14. Michael BRIDGES (22. Kaz PATAFTA 84-), 17. Fabio VIGNAROLI (12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE 74-), 25. Labinot HALITI (15. Sean ROONEY 67-)
Unused substitutes: 30. Dion SHAW (gk)
Yellow cards: Vignaroli 17-, Kantarovski 38-
Red cards: Nil

Central Coast Mariners: 20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 2. Matthew CROWELL (11. Dylan MACALLISTER 80-), 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Dean HEFFERNAN, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 17. Chris DOIG, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON (5. Bradley PORTER 84-), 22. Nicky TRAVIS (4. Pedj BOJIC 74-), 23. Adam KWASNIK
Unused substitutes: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk)
Yellow cards: Heffernan 17-
Red cards: Nil

Newcastle Jets: 2 (Bridges 8-, Haliti 14-)
Central Coast Mariners: 1 (Kwasnik 19-)
Referee: Strebre DELOVSKI
Crowd: 6,188