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Ten-man Mariners hold on for derby draw

NZN 20/11/2016 Matt Encarnacion

A ten-man Central Coast have held off a fast-finishing Newcastle to claim a share of the A-League points in an entertaining 1-1 local derby on Sunday.

The Mariners looked headed for their first derby win in six games thanks to Jake McGing's diving header in the first half before it all crumbled in the space of two minutes in the second.

First Jets striker Morten Nordstrom finished off a one-on-one with Mariners goalkeeper Paul Izzo after Andrew Nabbout's splitting through-ball from his own half in the 63rd minute.

Then Liam Rose was shown yellow soon after for a handball just outside his box.

Spurred on by the equaliser and the 11,238-strong McDonald Jones Stadium crowd, Nordstrand, Aleksandr Kokko, and Johnny Koutroumbis all drew late saves from Paul Izzo.

McGing also saved a Nick Cowburn chip off his line in the dying stages.

"There was enough chances to win two games," Jets coach Mark Jones said post-game.

"It wasn't for lack of people not being in the right positions. There was people there and bodies there to score goals. Little bit of finesse, a little bit of silk. We need that little bit of composure.

"That's something the (Milos) Ninkovic's have done and if we can get that sort of execution rate the same as him, we'll do extremely well."

But the visitors defended bravely enough to hold on, leaving both teams on six points on the competition table, one point behind sixth-placed Western Sydney.

After a cagey but risk-free opening by both teams, Jets midfielder Devante Clut sparked the derby with a 35-yard speculator that forced Izzo to scurry and tip wide of his post. Chances flowed regularly thereafter, with midweek Jets recruit Iain Fyfe's header flashing over the crossbar, and then Mariners pair Blake Powell and Roy O'Donovan spurning opportunities as well.

But it was third time lucky for the visitors, who scored their first non-right foot goal of their campaign when Fabio Ferreira's dipping free kick was met by McGing's diving header.

The game opened up after the break as both teams threw caution to the wind, with referee Jonathan Barreiro showing seven yellow cards, and a red for Rose.

Mariners coach Paul Okon admitted the game turned on the red card, but was upset over a possible handball call that wasn't awarded to his team late.

"There's no point me having an opinion (on the red card) because it doesn't count," he said.

"I asked the fourth official in the 85th minute - there was a handball from the Jets down in the corner and I asked him if it was a handball and he told me to shut up."

The draw extends the Jets' unbeaten run in derbies to six games.

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