An opening goal to Newcastle Jets’ striker Labinot Haliti was not enough to give his side their first away victory of the season as Patrick Zwaanswijk bagged a second half header to pull one back for the Central Coast Mariners to finish 1-1 in the Hyundai A-League clash at Bluetongue Stadium.

Despite the gloomy weather, supporters from both sides turned up in hoards to pack Bluetongue stadium for the third and final calender F3 Derby match of the Hyundai A-league 2011/12 season.

While the overall head-to-head statistics between the two clubs favours the Central Coast Mariners, this season’s bragging rights were up for grabs with the ledger square, each side with a victory a piece this season.

In typical derby day fashion, neither side held anything back with some big tackles in the first five minutes indicative of the passion and intensity that would be involved from start to finish.

Despite their atrocious away form, the Jets started the better of the sides and looked up to the task of matching the Mariners’ quality that has them sitting top of the Hyundai A-League ladder.

After building some pressure, Haliti got on the end of a Jeremy Brockie cross after 17 minutes to give the Jets a one nil lead.

The Jets had frustrated the Mariners, denying them space and disrupting their passing game with high intensity pressing, and it was their strong defensive endeavor that lead to the goal.

A poor Brad Porter pass was cut out well by Ruben Zadkovic on the left flank, who made a direct run at goal before releasing the ball to Brockie just outside the area.

Brockie did well to stand up his marker and whip in a dangerous cross at the near post for Haliti to volley home with a real striker’s finish to stun the home crowd.

The Mariners were handed a chance to get back in the match shortly after when referee, Matt Gillet, awarded a controversial penalty to the home side for a rather elusive hand ball.

Poetic justice was perhaps restored for the Jets when custodian Ben Kennedy dove well to his left to deny Troy Hearfield and the Mariners from the ensuing spot kick.

The Jets were on top for much of the first half and forced Graham Arnold to change the Mariners’ formation to a 4-3-3 to try and claw their way back in the match as they headed into the break one nil down.

The change in formation worked in the second half as the Mariners came out firing, Taylor Regan doing supremely well with a lunging tackle to deny Bernie Ibini from equalising for his side early on .

The Jets will be disappointed that Ben Kennedy didn’t show the same desperation as his team mate, as he stood rooted to the spot and watched a well taken, but not unstoppable, Zwaanswijk header hit the back of the net to level the score at one all on 60 minutes.

There were a host of chances for both sides to score as the game opened up in tandem with tiring legs in the latter stages of the second half.

Mariners’ substitute Daniel McBreen had the best chance of the dying stages when he found himself in front of goal but his shot was blocked by some valiant Jets’ defending.

The match ended 1-1 with the Jets taking just their second point on the road this season, while the Mariners are now 13 matches unbeaten, cementing a new club record.


Central Coast Mariners:
Matthew Ryan 1 (gk), Joshua Rose 3, Bradley Porter 5, Patrick Zwaanawijk 6, John Hutchinson 7, Bernie Ibini 9, Oliver Bozanic 11, Troy Hearfield 12, Michael McGlinchey 14, Alex Wilkinson18 (c), Mustafa Amini 22.

Central Coast SUBS: Daniel McBreen 2 ‘55 (Mustafa Amini) Trent Sainsbury 16 ’55 (Bradley Porter), Adam Kwasnik 23 ’66 (Bernie Ibini 9).

Newcastle Jets: Ben Kennedy 1, Taylor Regan 2, Nikolai Topor Stanley 4, Tiago Calvano 5, Ben Kantarovski 6, Jeremy Brockie 8, Ruben Zadkovic 10, Labinot Haliti 14, Marko Jesic 18, Ryan Griffiths 23 (c), Jacob Pepper 25.

Newcastle Jets SUBS: Sung- Hwan Byun 13 ’62 (Tiago Calvano 5), Michael Bridges 9 ‘65 (Marko Jesic 18), Ali Abbas 22 ‘78 (Labinot Haliti 14).

Yellow Cards: Tiago Calvano ’20, Ben Kantarovski ‘71

Attendance: 10 904

The Football Sack’s ‘Player of the Year’ points:

3 Alex Wilkinson
2 Patrick Zwaanswijk
1 Labinot Haliti

SHARE