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A-League

  • 15 March 2014
  • • 19:45
  • • Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
  • Referee: P. Green
  • • Attendance: 7455
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Mariners-Jets Preview: Top six at stake in F3 derby

Mariners-Jets Preview: Top six at stake in F3 derby

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Phil Moss and his players will be encouraged by their impressive win over Japanese opposition, while the Jets also did well to claim a victory last time out

This is a must-win F3 Derby for Central Coast and Newcastle as the tight battle for places in the bottom half of the top six continues. The Mariners have lost six of their past eight matches in all competitions, but come into the encounter on a high after their 2-1 win over Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the AFC Champions League on Tuesday night. Phil Moss' men need to use that win to kick-start their domestic campaign. The Jets have won three of their past four, keeping consecutive clean sheets, but there was still plenty of feeling at training as goalkeeper Mark Birighitti and defender Taylor Regan fought.

Can Central Coast use their win in Asia as a platform late in the A-League campaign? Losses in five of their past six domestically have the Mariners in serious danger of slipping out of the top six, now just a point clear of the seventh-placed Jets. They face Western Sydney and Brisbane in two of their final five A-League matches so a meeting with Newcastle is crucial if they want to play finals.

Just what happens to the Jets when they have to travel to Bluetongue Stadium? Newcastle's record at Central Coast is dreadful, with just one win in 15 trips to the Mariners. The other 14 have seen seven losses and as many draws. Clayton Zane needs to get his men enjoying the trip down the M1 Pacific Motorway as they aim for their first win at the Mariners since January 2008, when James Holland and Joel Griffiths were on the scoresheet.

A potential key man is Adam Taggart. The league's top goal-scorer with five rounds to go, Australia coach Ange Postecoglou is keeping a close eye on him late in the campaign. The 20-year-old already has three goals in Socceroos colours - all at the 2013 East Asian Cup - and a strong finish to the season could see him on the plane to Brazil. He has scored five times since the start of February and is clinical, so if given the opportunity has the ability to punish the Mariners.

Newcastle's record at Bluetongue makes for dreadful reading and even with a firing Taggart, it is hard to ignore. The Mariners will be on a high after their success mid-week and should be good enough to at least avoid a loss. Taggart is a match-winner when on and it has been a long time since the Mariners kept a clean sheet. Central Coast's 3-0 win over the Jets in January was the last time they kept a team goalless. A lot is on the line in Gosford and a draw would be an OK result for both.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Central Coast Mariners

Newcastle Jets

Wins
1
2
2
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Central Coast Mariners FC CCM
Central Coast Mariners FC Central Coast Mariners
Draw
Newcastle Jets FC NEW
Newcastle Jets FC Newcastle Jets
40%
60%

Top 3 Predictions

Central Coast Mariners FC CCM
0 - 2
Newcastle Jets FC NEW
Central Coast Mariners FC CCM
3 - 2
Newcastle Jets FC NEW
Central Coast Mariners FC CCM
1 - 0
Newcastle Jets FC NEW

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