CENTRAL Coast Mariners have moved to equal top spot in the Hyundai A-League after dispatching long-time rivals Newcastle 2-0 in an emphatic effort at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford on Saturday night.
In a performance that delighted the 10,643 home fans, the Mariners led 1-0 at half-time courtesy of a headed goal to Rostyn Griffiths in the 25th minute before they sealed the three points when Matt Simon scored his fourth goal of the campaign just before the hour.
The win means the Mariners have now gone seven matches without defeat, picking up 19 out of a possible 21 points.
Griffiths' opener came a minute after a wonderful strike from Mustafa Amini was brilliantly tipped wide by Jets goalkeeper Matthew Nash. From the resulting corner Griffiths powerfully headed home to score for the second match in succession.
The Jets were well in the contest at the break and put the Mariners defence under pressure several times.
It was a good first half with both teams showing a willingness to attack at every opportunity.
The action in front of the goals started in the third minute when Newcastle's Labinot Haliti found the back of the net before being ruled off side.
Within a minute Mariners defender Pedj Bojic then had a left-foot shot saved. The home side came close against when Simon also had a low shot well saved by Nash.
The Mariners had plenty of ball for the next 20 minutes and were finally rewarded when Griffiths' pinpoint header opened the scoring.
Just before half-time Central Coast had a great chance to double the lead but Amini's shot was deflected wide after a mistake by the Jets.
The Mariners started the second half strongly with Bojic and Michael McGlinchey both having shots on goal comfortably saved.
Simon then put the Mariners two goals up 14 minutes into the second half.
The goal featured some good lead up play from Amini and Bernie Ibini before Simon scored from close range.
The lead was very nearly extended in the 65th minute when Ibini smashed a first-time shot on to the cross bar following a good run and cross from Joshua Rose.
Ibini came close again with 12 minutes to play but failed to hit the target as Central Coast went in for the kill.
With time almost up, substitute Daniel McBreen went on a long run and had a shot very well saved by Nash. McBreen then watched a header crash into the crossbar following a Mariners corner.
Newcastle rarely threatened in the second half with the Mariners in complete control for the majority of the contest.
Central Coast 2 (Griffiths 25', Simon 59')