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Late drama as Mariners stun Jets to hand Stajcic winning start

11:38 GMT+3 16/03/2019
Jem Karacan Central Coast Mariners
Who could have seen that coming...

Alen Stajcic's tenure as Central Coast Mariners coach has started with a nervous bang after his side somehow hung on for a 3-2 win over a fast-finishing Newcastle Jets. 

Newcastle dominated the first 45 minutes registering 10 shots to none with Dimitri Petratos going closest late in the half when he struck the post. 

Central Coast making up for their slow start after the break as Jordan Murray handed the Mariners the lead in the 51st minute after being fed through on goal by Matthew Millar. 

Scoring with their first shot on goal, Central Coast bagged a second in the 64th minute with Jem Karacan finding the back of the net after more brilliant build-up play from Millar saw the ball find its way to the midfielder.

Just three minutes later the Mariners would make it 3-0 as Connor Pain found the bottom right corner after being teed up by Jordan Murray.

Needing a result to keep their top-six hopes firmly alive, Newcastle pulled a goal back in the 74th minute as Roy O'Donovan tapped home a Lachlan Jackson cross. 

Ronny Vargas would then grab a second for the Jets in the 81st minute after Ben Kennedy could only parry a shot onto the Jets attacker. 

Deep into injury time, Newcastle were then awarded a penalty with O'Donovan's effort saved only for Daniel Georgievski to tuck in the rebound.

Replays however showed he was encroaching into the box as the penalty was taken with VAR ultimately seeing the effort retaken.

Kennedy again denying O'Donovan with Georgievski this time scuffing his effort on the rebound as the Mariners somehow held on for a 3-2 win to hand Stajcic a victorious start. 

For the Jets, the result leaves their finals hopes hanging by a thread and sees their recent good form come to an abrupt end.