Jin-Hyung Song?s first half strike was all that separated the two sides in glorious sunshine at the northern tip of the Central Coast, where both the Mariners and the Jets fine tuned their season four preparations with a valuable pre-season hit out that will have served to benefit both clubs greatly.
Both starting line ups were a shadow of the teams that met at the Sydney Football Stadium last February ? John Hutchinson, Sasho Petrovski and Alex Wilkinson surviving from the Mariners? end, while goal scorer Song, Adam Griffiths and Matthew Thompson backed up for the Jets.
Despite the defeat, the Mariners? pre-season preparations have been further accelerated following their fifth ninety minute showing since commencing full-time training in late April, with the yellow and navy now looking forward to next weeks stay in Canberra to continue plans for their 2008/09 assault.
Most positively for the Mariners, wingback flyer Dean Heffernan, who has been sidelined for six months after breaking his leg before Christmas last year, completed the first half without issue ? a major step for Heffernan?s ambition to return to full match fitness in time for the start of the new season.
“It was a good hit out, a great day, a great crowd, Budgewoi Soccer Club did a great job to get the field up to that standard considering the weather and I?m sure Gary van Egmond would have enjoyed the hit out as well,” said Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna.
“There were a few heavy legs after it ? the boys who played ninety minutes will certainly feel it afterwards, but overall it was a good afternoon, we were disappointed that we didn?t take a few of our chances but we?re reasonably happy.”
The Jets opened the scoring at the half hour mark through their Korean import Song, who slotted home comfortably from close range after being put through on goal.
Song formed one part of the Jets? diminutive centre pairing, which also featured new signing Kaz Patafta, with their battle against Mariners counterparts Damien Brown and John Hutchinson one of the more intriguing features of the opening stanza.
Sasho Petrovski came closest to breaking the Mariners? first half deadlock with a powerful header from close range that was denied by Ben Kennedy?s point blank stop.
Petrovski leapt highest to meet the rebound from one of Dylan Macallister?s many possession triumphs in the air, only to be denied by Kennedy?s exceptional reflex save.
Aside from this chance, the Mariners were largely kept at bay by the Jets, who started the match with two trallists to equal the unsigned contingent wearing yellow and navy ? youth development co-ordinator Brown and local prospect Nathan Moseley.
Further triallists were introduced on both sides in the second half, where the tempo of the match dropped notably against the unique backdrop offered by Frank Millington Field?s suburban surrounds.
“You can never get enough games and today sets us up well to go to Canberra on Tuesday, where we?ll get another two hard games and then another game when we come back ? things are going alright,” said McKinna.
“Then next week, Matthew Osman joins the playing ranks and then a couple of weeks after that we?ll be looking to get Nik Mrdja in, so slowly we?re starting to get a few numbers back.”
The Mariners? pre-season trial match program continues next week in the nation?s capital, starting with a fixture against powerhouse ACT Premier League side Belconnen United on Wednesday, 25 June and concluding with a match against local representative outfit the ACT Rockets on Friday, 27 June. Kick off for both matches is 7pm.
Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season are now on sale at www.ccmariners.com.au.
Central Coast Mariners 30. Andrew Redmayne (gk), 5. Bradley Porter, 6. David D?Apuzzo, 7. John Hutchinson, 8. Dean Heffernan, 11. Damien Brown, 15. Nathan Moseley, 18. Alex Wilkinson, 21. Ahmad Elrich, 22. Sasho Petrovski, 27. Dylan Macallister
Substitutes 9. Brady Smith, 10. Ben Glachan, 12. Jamie Lobb, 16. Adam Woodbine, 17. Luke Walker
Yellow Cards None
Red Cards None
Newcastle Jets 20. Ben Kennedy (gk), 2. Adam Griffiths, 4. Antun Kovacic, 7. Kaz Patafta, 8. Matt Thompson, 10. Jin-Hyung Song, 12. Jobe Wheelhouse, 13. Jarrod Ross, 16. Ben Kantarovski, 18. Noel Spencer, 19. Jason Naidovski,
Substitutes Jordan Griffiths (gk), 5. Taylor Regan, 6. Valerio Mastrelli, 14. Simone Bracacello, 15. Yanni Galanos
Yellow Cards None
Red Cards None
Goals Song 31?
Referee Stuart Wolfe