The two goalscorers Marco Túlio and Jason Cummings celebrate with the rest of the side in Campbelltown. (Image: Central Coast Mariners/Twitter)

A crowd of 4621 (the second largest home crowd for Macarthur’s this season) made their way to Campbelltown, including some very vocal travelling support, and were treated to an end to end thriller as the Mariners went back to Gosford victorious 2-1 over Macarthur.

It was a tough start for the home side, giving away a goal in the opening five minutes as Marco Túlio capitalised on a misplay at the ball by Tomislav Uskok, with Túlio having no issue getting the ball past Filip Kurto.

Tensions flared up as both sides looked to play a very physical game, however referee Alireza Faghani kept his cards in his pocket, despite giving a very stern warning to a couple of players and Mariners coach Nick Montgomery. 

It went from bad to worse for the home side as cult hero Jason Cummings would double the lead for the Mariners in the 26th minute after the ball took some deflections around the box before falling back at his feet with Cummings making no mistake on the second opportunity.

Throughout the first half, and possibly the entire game, the best player for the home side was young prospect Jed Drew who had a couple of great opportunities but was unable to capitalise on them for various reasons.

When asked how he might go about helping Drew in training get a little better with his shot selection so he can take full advantage of these opportunities, Yorke was full of praise for the youngster.

“Jed is a young lad that probably a lot of people didn’t know about. We’ve seen him and like his intensity, his enthusiasm, a really terrific young player to work with. [He’s] willing to work and learn the trade, prepared to go the distance. He’s arguably the fittest guy at the football club,” He said

“[He’s a] really exciting prospect. I liked him. He’s direct. He’s a little bit different to what we have and tonight I thought he was excellent again. He’s a real livewire. He’s a threat for every opposition. Just need that final, final pass again. 

“But that comes with experience, game time, spending more time with him on the football pitch to get that quality a little bit better and he will improve at the time goes on.

“I’m really excited about this young prospect and hopefully he keeps his feet on the ground and continues to work hard and continues to do well for us.”

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For the second week in a row, whatever Dwight Yorke said to his side in the dressing room worked wonders, as Macarthur came flying out of the gates in the second half, in part because of half time substitute Daniel Arzani, who came on for Al Hassan Toure.

Toure was substituted as he appeared to have copped a knock on his foot, and Yorke was unable to give an update in the post-game press conference.

A wondrous corner kick from Jed Drew was flicked on by Arzani and on to the head of Matt Millar, who tried to head it on but flicked it onto his own foot and buried it into the back of the net to halve the deficit for the home side. 

The intensity of the game did not slow down as both sides continued to play a very physical style with the Mariners trying to hold on for the win, while Macarthur tried to chase down a draw.

Some late chaos in stoppage time saw both sides with clear cut chances and appeals at penalties, but neither were able to capitalise as the Mariners held on to cement second place on the ladder, just three points behind Melbourne City, who make the trip to Western Sydney to face the Wanderers and could cement a two game lead at the top. 

Speaking post-game, Yorke was honest in how he thought his side performed.

“I think we were a little bit unlucky in many respects to not have gotten something from the game. I think, first half we played really well. I thought we had a couple of chances, clear cut chances that we could have easily converted,” Yorke said.

“You can play as much as you want, which we did. The start that we expected, we got that. We know what they were going to bring to the table in terms of physicality, their intensity. I thought my players matched them.

“Unfortunately we just gave away a couple of sloppy goals, gave them a kind of head start in that sense but after that I thought my players really responded well and easily could have gotten something from the game.”

For Nick Montgomery’s side, they are doing everything they can to keep pace at the top of the table with Melbourne City, winning five of their last six matches (with the only loss in that span coming to City).

One player that is crucial to the good form of the Mariners, and was in this game with some important saves is Danny Vukovic. Post-game, Montgomery was full of praise for his goalkeeper.

“Vuka’s a top class goalkeeper. He’s a world class goalkeeper. He’s experienced and we brought him back and he went to the World Cup. He’s come back and I think everyone’s seen the form he’s in. He looks after himself. Age is just a number and he’s enjoying his football,” Montgomery said.

“He’s been superb and he’s a great leader for us.”

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