Mariners tame the Cougars in Rockhampton


The Qantas Under 23?s striker was the star of the show for the Mariners, his goals enough to ensure that the Central Coast remain unbeaten ahead of their fourth Hyundai A-League campaign after three testing pre-season trial match fixtures.
As was hoped in the spirit of the yellow and navy?s pre-season preparations, the visitors were made to work hard in the humid central Queensland conditions throughout ninety minutes that will prove to be hugely beneficial to the Mariners? Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season ambitions.
With the Mariners? playing stocks being boosted ever so slowly, this convincing result against determined opposition is indeed the perfect supplement to the positive strides the club have made ahead of its fourth Hyundai A-League tilt.  
“Tonight was good, we got three goals, the Cougars kept us on our toes the whole game and made us work very hard, but it?s always nice to score three goals,” said Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna.
“The performance was solid, I think Trotty had one save to make and quite easily we could have scored another five or six, but getting three goals, keeping a clean sheet, it was all very good, nobody got injured and there was a good crowd in attendance on a good night.”
The less fancied Cougars, who sit in the bottom half of Queensland?s top-tier state wide competition, showcased their desire to spring an upset from the opening whistle ? frustrating the Mariners and manufacturing several respectable chances of their own.
However, with 36 minutes on the clock, Simon was on the spot to finish one of the Mariners? better attacking advances of the half, one that involved the increasingly impressive Ahmad Elrich and fellow newcomer Dylan Macallister.
In his first start of the Mariners? pre-season trial match program, Simon was a standout for the Central Coast alongside fellow Olympic Games hopeful Nigel Boogaard, who aside from being typically dominant in defence came close to breaking the deadlock before Simon?s intervention.
Macallister so nearly doubled the visitors advantage just prior to halftime after another neat forward movement, only to be denied by regular team-mate and goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne, who completed the entire ninety minutes for the opposition.
Despite boasting only a slender advantage at the break, Football Manager McKinna would have been encouraged by several passages of clever passing that were very much reminiscent of the Mariners? Premiership winning third season.
Bradley Porter and John Hutchinson largely dictated terms in the middle of the park, while Adam Kwasnik and Elrich were providing options in abundance on either flank.
Simon doubled his tally towards the end of the match after heading home a Kwasnik cross, before capping his memorable performance with a third from the penalty spot in stoppage time.
“It was a hot night, a lot of the boys got ninety minutes in what was a high tempo game, we had a lot of the ball, kept moving the ball about, it was invaluable,” said McKinna.
Upon the Mariners? return to the Central Coast, the yellow and navy will take on northern rivals the Newcastle Jets in a Hyundai A-League Grand Final replay at Budgewoi?s Frank Millington Field on Saturday, 21 June. Kick off is at 2.45pm and entry for all spectators is a gold coin.
Match Details
Central Coast Mariners 1. Matthew Trott (gk), 2. Matt Simon, 5. Bradley Porter, 7. John Hutchinson, 9. David D?Apuzzo, 15. Andrew Clark (4. Ian McAndrew 63?), 16. Nigel Boogaard, 18. Alex Wilkinson, 19. Adam Kwasnik, 21. Ahmad Elrich (11. Damien Brown 56?), 27. Dylan Macallister (12. Brady Smith 88?)
Unused Subs 22. Sasho Petrovski
Yellow Cards Macallister 62?
Red Cards None
Goals Simon 36?, 78?, 90?+1P
Capricorn Cougars 1. Andrew Redmayne (gk), 2. Dylan Kussrow, 3. Craig Porter, 6. Clayton Rowland, 7. Michael Cay, 8. Tristan Fraser, 11. Kenny Robertson, 13. Justin McMullen, 14. Tim Hickey, 15. Roy Bob, 16. Brad Stevens
Substitutes 4. Brendan James, 5. Alex Trovato, 9. Gerard Kelly, 10. Joe Burke, 12. Danny Cox, 19. Johnathon Sauer
Yellow Cards None
Red Cards None
Goals None
Referee Chris Beeth