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Central Coast Mariners: February 08 Review

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Game of the Month: Central Coast 3-0 Newcastle Jets
Overcoming all the odds, we took the Jets to piece in front of a packed Bluetongue after extra time.

Player of the Month: Danny Vukovic
Tried to deliver justice in the Grand Final, despite the best efforts of Mark Shield. We’re behind you!

Goal of the Month: Sash Petrovski v Newcastle Jets
His rifling effort into the top corner sent Central Coast to the Grand Final after a quick counter attack.

What started off as a promising month against all the odds quickly turned into despair, and all against Newcastle Jets.

Seemingly coming up against the impossible against a resilient Jets side, and needing a 3-0 win, the big players stepped up to the plate, and surprisingly delivered all that was needed.

Adam Kwasnik fired us into a first half lead after great trickery on the left, and maybe a little luck with his looping shot with surely took a deflection. Either way, Jets stopper Čović could do nothing about it as it landed in the goal.

It took until the 75th minute for our heavy pressure to count again, Sash Petrovski beating the offside trap (though it was very close) to stab home from 6 yards. As things stood, we were headed for extra time, and the Mariners were definitely on top.

And it showed. Just five minutes into extra time, our harrying forced a mistake from the Jets which opened an opportunity for Petrovski. He made no mistake in taking a touch past a single defender before lashing the ball into the top corner to send the fans mental.

Everything seemed to be set for a perfect Grand final. Tony Vidmar announced it would be his last ever match, and he clearly wanted to go out on a high. Newcastle Jets overcame Queensland Roar to ensure a repeat of the Major Semi-Final, and everyone was in full fitness…

And yet again, the team stalled. I firmly believe that everything (well, mainly the FFA) was against us that day.

Had the final been at Bluetongue, we could, and would, have won. Playing it at Sydney made it that little bit harder for us.

As is, is seems it just wasn’t to be. Even though I roused myself at 6:00 am on Sunday to watch it, it wasn’t enough. A dire first half was followed by a second almost as bad. Although Central Coast looked marginally better, it was outgoing Socceroo star Tony Vidmar who gifted Newcastle a goal.

Failing to deal with a pass, he fell over the ball, and allowed Mark Bridge a clean run at goal, which he carefully tucked around Vukovic.

Not great, admittedly, but not the end. Aloisi was unlucky not to be awarded a penalty after seemingly being tugged back as he went for a diving header, but the real controversy came in the dying seconds.

With potentially the last kick of the game, a corner was swung in to the Jets area, and James Holland rose highest to flick the ball away with his forearm. Clear to everyone except referee Mark Shield, it was enough of a touch to put off anyone going for goal.

Naturally, a melee ensued, with culminated with Vukovic being sent off for what can best be described as giving Shield a ‘hi-5′. This has since been extended to a 15 month ban.

So, gutted as I am, I can take consolation from the fact that we didn’t lose to Newcastle – we lost to the FFA.

Sorry we couldn’t send you out with the Champions plate Tony.

Come on you Mariners!

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