The F3 Derby was a completely one-sided affair on Saturday night as Central Coast Mariners beat Newcastle Jets 3-0 at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford. 21-year-old Anthony Caceras opened scoring in the 13th minute and Daniel McBreen and Matt Simon added goals of their own before halftime. The heavy defeat not only ruined new manager Clayton Zane's debut but also lifted the Mariners into sole possession of second place on the A-League ladder.
The Jets welcomed back Andrew Hoole and Josh Brillante from their U22 tournament in Oman but those reinforcements did nothing to change Newcastle's luck. The Hunter side have now gone five games without a win and have taken just a single point since December 20. That run led to the sacking of manager Gary van Egmond but against the club's biggest rival, Zane could fare no better.
As for the Mariners, they appear to have weathered the storm of losing manger Graham Arnold and attacker Michael McGinchey to Vegalta Sendai, as well as the season-ending injury to Marcos Flores. Rumors of a move to North Sydney have been put to rest, at least momentarily, and the club are on a five-game unbeaten run including three victories. That swift ascent has seen them past the struggling Western Sydney Wanderers and has been based, in part, on improved play from old guard players like Simon, McBreen and Mile Sterjovski. The trio have scored four of the club's last five goals over three games, helping ease the transition to a younger core.
The Mariners will await the result of the Wanderers' Australia Day game to see if they get to stay in the league's second position, though they will have a game in hand when the weekend is done. Regardless, up next for Central Coast is a huge trip to Brisbane where they will face the ladder-topping Roar on Sunday February 2. Newcastle will try to earn Zane his first result against Western Sydney on Saturday February 1 at the Hunter Stadium.
CCM Caceras 13'
CCM McBreen (Fitzgerald) 31'
CCM Simon (Sterjovski) 45'
Central Coast Mariners: Reddy; Rose, Anderson, Sainsbury, Roux; Fitzgerald, Caceras, Montgomery (Hutchinson 61'), Sterjovski (Ibini 61'); Simon (Duke 72'), McBreen
Unused substitutes: Pasfield, Griffiths
Newcastle Jets: Birighitti; Gallaway (Bridges 77'), Jaliens, Regan, Pepper; Caravella, Brillante (Hoole 46'); Goodwin, Taggart (Ward 67'), Zadkovich; Heskey
Unused substitutes: Kennedy, Mitchell