As Elton John once said, Saturday nights alright for fighting and the F3 Derby is known for a little bit of niggle but a whole lot of passion. Tonight was the 48th encounter between these two rivals and it didn’t disappoint!
Central Coast got off to a flyer! Once again, there touch was a touch of Milan in Gosford tonight when with less than five minutes on the clock Jordan Murray floated a cross over the penalty area which found Milan Duric who, like last week, launched an absolute rocket across goal, past Glen Moss and into the bottom corner to given the Mariners the perfect start.
How many rockets have you launched in the A-League, Milan?
Newcastle worked their way into the game and started to apply some real pressure to the Mariners defence but there was a real disjointed feel to every Newcastle attack. It was as simple as a ball would be whipped in and there was no one there or a run was halted as the pass was put behind the runner. The two sides would go into the rooms at half time with the home side leading by the single goal.
Central Coast were unlucky not to double their lead when Duric tried to sneak one in from a free kick and then Danny De SIlva weaved his way through the Jets defense like he was a slalom skier and couldn’t pick out a target.
The fortunes of the home side changed in the 52nd when, in the penalty area, Giancarlo Gallifuoco put his hands up like he just didn’t care but Daniel Elder did care and awarded a penalty to the Jets. Cue more VAR controversy.
That freshly saved penalty feeling!
Dimitri Petratos took the aforementioned penalty and Mark Birighitti saved it brilliantly to deny the Jets an equaliser but in true A-League fashion, the save was reviewed and Birighitti was found to have moved 0.004 seconds before Petratos made contact and so by the letter of the law, it was to be retaken and the Mariners keeper was shown a yellow card. As a result, Petratos took the second penalty attempted and buried it this time despite going to the same corner and the keeper guessing correctly.
What do you mean I have to do it again?
The only thing that was kicked harder than the penalty was the corner flag as Petratos celebrated the goal. The corner flag we believe was dispatched by foot back to Newcastle. Petratos copped a yellow card for it and rightly so.
The Jets, spurned on by equalising, launched attack after attack to try and find a winner and the frustration was starting to show for the Mariners when a yellow card was issued to, surprise surprise, Matt Simon. Sportsbet don’t even offer odds on him getting booked any more, they say it’s basically a certainty.
Nick Fitzgerald, the Jets best striker tonight
As time wound down, the game really opened up and the Mariners, stepped up and looked the more likely to pinch a winner in the final 10 minutes and came within a bees-dick when Milan Duric launched rocket number two for this evening. The ball skidded about .25cm above the grass, passed Glen Moss and struck the upright so hard that I’m pretty sure it bruised the post!
A look at a Serbian rocket launch that Elon Musk and Space-X would be proud of
Unfortunately that was the final chance of the game as five minutes of injury time expired, Daniel Elder blew for full time leaving both sides with a point and a week to rue how they didn’t manage to win.