The Central Coast Mariners have accounted for the Newcastle Jets 3-1 in the 32nd installment of the F3 Derby to breathe life into their pursuit to defend the A-League Championship
The result means our Mariners leapt up to third on goal difference, before Victory for Melbourne in WA saw our boys slip to fourth on the table.
For the Jets, meanwhile, their finals hopes are now almost in tatters after two unforgivable Mark Birighitti errors cost Newcastle in a game that they dominated for the majority.
It took less than 60 seconds for the Yellow and Navy to register the opener, as new recruit Eddy Bosnar got off the mark on the Coast with a bullet free kick from 50 metres. The ball looked to be bread and butter for Birighitti before the keeper comically misjudged the ball and saw it bounce between his diving legs and into the net.
Five minutes later, the Mariners found a second. Bernie Ibini, with a new lease on life since his return to the club in January, powered home from close range after a Kim Seung-Yong corner found Mile Sterjovski on the far post, who's ball back across the face found Ibini on the 6 yard line.
The start couldn't have been worse for the Jets, who had only won once in nine occasions all season in which they had conceded first.
Newcastle found their rhythm as the game progressed and Joel Griffiths, the second highest scorer in derby history, put them back in the game on 23 minutes. The ball across the face from Adam Taggert found Griffiths who found the back of the net from similar range and position to Ibini, a deserved goal considering the balance of play.
The Jets toiled hard for an equaliser, but their dominance in possession failed to turn into meaningful chances, for which the Mariners punished them on 87 minutes with their third and final goal for the night. Some brilliant lead up work by Matty Simon, excellent off the bench, lead to a turn and shot from the edge of the 18 yard box.
Birighitti ruefully completed the night he would rather forget with a poor collection when his low dive failed to bring the ball under control, where Johnny-on-the-spot Glen Trifiro banged home from close range to ensure the 3 points came to the Gosford side of the F3.
Leave your comments below about how you felt our Mariners went, where there is room for improvement, and where we stand going into the finals.