A brace to Dimi Petratos and a rare goal to Nikolai Topor-Stanley have helped the Newcastle Jets to an entertaining 4-3 win over the Central Coast Mariners in the 49th instalment of the F3 Derby on a wet Sunday afternoon at McDonald Jones Stadium.
With incoming head-coach Carl Robinson taking over on Monday, interim boss Craig Deans made one change to his final lineup as he brought the returning Roy O’Donovan straight into the starting lineup against his old side in the place of Jason Hoffman.
With the pitch in excellent condition despite the recent deluge, the game got underway as planned and it was the Jets who started on the front foot with Steven Ugarkovic unleashing an unstoppable long-range effort from 25 yards in the 8th minute, but unfortunately for the Jets it rebounded back off the post and away to safety.
In the 15th minute, the home side deservedly took the lead and it was Dimi Petratos who was in the right spot at the right time to put the Jets ahead.
Matt Millar floated a cross to the back post, and when Abdiel Arroyo nodded the ball back into the path of Petratos, the Jets number 10 made no mistake as he lashed his left foot effort into the roof of the net to open the scoring.
The Jets continued to dominate proceedings and soon doubled their advantage just 10 minutes later when Nikolai Topor-Stanley ghosted in at the back post and swept home a Petratos corner in the 25th minute to make the score 2-0.
Making his second debut for the Jets, O’Donovan was a constant threat and almost added a third in the 34th minute when he got on the end of an excellent Bobby Burns cross, but his effort was well saved by Mark Birighitti in the Mariners goal.
With the Jets seemingly heading to the break with a two-goal advantage, Ruon Tongyik halved the deficit for the visitors when he turned home Jack Clisby’s corner right on the stroke of half-time.
The Mariners goal came from their first shot on target of the match, and they soon levelled the scores with their second when Jack Clisby got on the end of a freekick to nod home in the 49th minute.
Despite the setback, the Jets responded instantly and retook the lead in the 52nd minute, before extending it just three minutes later.
After Millar won the ball back for the Jets high up the pitch, O’Donovan found Petratos in space in the penalty area, and whilst his initial shot was blocked, he made no mistake with his second effort as he slammed home the rebound with his right foot to put the home side back in front.
In the 55th minute, the Jets went 4-2 ahead when a dangerous corner from Burns was diverted past his own keeper by Eunsun Kim as the Jets responded in the best way possible after conceding the equaliser with two goals in just six minutes.
Ugarkovic had earlier struck a post in the first half, and he looked certain to add his name to the scoresheet in the 77th minute, but his wonderful curling effort was somehow tipped over by a full-stretch Birighitti.
Chris Harold had come off the bench to make his debut for the Mariners, and he ensured a nervy ending when he curled one in from the edge of the area to make the score 4-3 in the 86th minute, but despite the away side pushing forward for a late leveller, the Jets held firm and secured the three points and their 17th F3 Derby victory.
The Jets will now travel down to Sydney in Round 19 to face Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday evening at Bankwest Stadium.