The Central Coast Mariners’ Matt Simon.GOSFORD – A brilliant brace from departing striker Matt Simon helped the Central Coast defeat Melbourne Victory 2-0 in an energetic A-League fixture at Bluetongue Stadium yesterday.
The win sees the Mariners take their unbeaten streak to 11 matches and gives them a six-point buffer at the top of the table.
With a boisterous crowd of 12,284 at their backs, the home side got off to the best possible start with a goal after just 19 seconds of play.
Troy Hearfield took full advantage of a defensive slip by Petar Franjic to tee-up Simon, in his last game before joining Korean club Chunnam Dragons, for his 35th goal for the club.
It was a night of milestones all round with Central Coast midfielder John Hutchinson playing in his 300th Australian club game, and striker Troy Hearfield making his 100th A-League appearance.
In his starting debut for the home side, Hearfield was intent on demonstrating his credentials for the soon to be vacant striking spot – finishing without a goal, but forcing two great saves from Ante Covic.
The visitors were fortunate not to concede a penalty five minutes into the second half when a cross from Simon appeared to connect with the outstretched arm of Roridgo Vargas.
The star-studded Melbourne attack continued to press forward in the second half but was constantly thwarted by teenage defender Trent Sainsbury and keeper Mat Ryan. Fittingly Simon sealed the points with a stunning strike six minutes from time.
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