Central Coast boosted their finals hopes with a confidence-boosting victory over Newcastle in an action-packed F3 derby.The Central Coast Mariners' dominance over the Newcastle Jets in 2014 continued after they defeated the Jets 3-1 in a highly entertaining A-League F3 Derby on Saturday evening in Gosford.
Two goalkeeping howlers from Mark Birighitti book-ended the result which moves the Mariners into fourth position on goal difference pending Melbourne Victory's result in Perth and goes with the Mariners 3-0 win over the Jets at Central Coast Stadium in January.
A goal inside the first minute to Eddy Bosnar, who fired home a free kick from near half-way, followed by Berni Ibini's fourth domestic goal of the season gave the reigning champions the perfect start inside six minutes.
Joel Griffiths' sixth career goal in 13 games against the Mariners cut the margin after 23 minutes before substitute midfielder Glen Trifiro's late goal secured the triumph.
Phil Moss returned Marcel Seip to the starting line-up at right back for the home side with Storm Roux relegated to the bench. Ibini and Mitchell Duke were promoted from the bench in favour of Nick Fitzgerald and Matt Simon from their Asian Champions League victory over Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Tuesday.
Griffiths returned for the Jets as did David Carney (making his first start for the club) with Andrew Hoole and Craig Goodwin making way.
Seeking their second win ever in Gosford, Clayton Zane's men started in the worst possible fashion after Josh Brilliante conceded a seemingly harmless foul just inside his own half when he tackled Mariners skipper John Hutchinson.
Bosnar drove the subsequent free kick straight at goal and diving late to his right an inattentive Birighitti saw the ball slip between his legs as Newcastle fell behind after 41 seconds.
Five minutes later another set piece proved costly after Mile Sterjovski took a corner from Kim Seung-Yong at the back post before turning former Liverpool frontman Emile Heskey inside out and providing the pass for Ibini to slot home.
The Jets finally sprung to life in the combative encounter with Carney shooting across goal before Griffiths nodded a free kick high and wide.
Griffiths' efforts bore fruit in the 23rd minute when he tucked home a Zenon Caravella cross that wasn't dealt with by the home side.
Twelve minutes from the interval both sides had good chances as Ruben Zdkovich hit a rocket from near the left edge of the penalty area which was saved by Liam Reddy whose subsequent clearance set Mitchell Duke into a race with Kew Jaliens but Duke's attempt could only dribble towards Birighitti.
Two late corners in the half for the Mariners proved fruitless as they looked to restore the two-goal lead.
Operating from central a midfield role, Carney, one of the Jets best all night, forced a close-range save from Reddy after 53 minutes as the Jets exerted more pressure on the home goal early in the half.
In the space of six minutes from the 68th minute the Mariners had chances to extend their lead to Matt Simon, fellow substitutes Trifiro and Nick Fitzgerald along with midfielder Nick Montgomery.
Birighitti's second howler iced the match as Trifiro nudged home the 22-year-olds bobbled save off Simon's attempt.