NEWCASTLE JETS V CENTRAL COAST MARINERS Sunday afternoon, McDonald Jones (Hunter) Stadium
This edition of the F3 Derby will have a bit more spice to it than usual when the teams meet on Sunday afternoon.
There should be a touch of desperation from both sides and that should lead to an entertaining affair from two of the more surprising teams of the competition.
Surprising in that not many experts predicted that the Jets or Mariners would be performing as they have over the first six rounds.
Despite coming into this off the back of three straight losses, Newcastle began the season well with two draws and a win which is far more than anyone would have expected from them.
As for the Mariners, they finally broke their long losing run and registered a win over the reigning champions in Adelaide a fortnight ago before dropping a disappointing 2-0 decision to Wellington last week.
PERFORMING ON THE ROAD
Central Coast has actually secured all five of their points on the road which suggests they will be hard to toss here.
They clawed back a 3-0 deficit at the start of the season to draw against Perth while they also came from behind to take a point off the Wanderers at Spotless before beating Adelaide.
One of the big concerns, however, is that nine of the 12 goals they have conceded have been on the road which suggests that the Jets will have their share of chances to get on the scoresheet.
HOME SWEET HOME
Newcastle has looked far more comfortable at home this season but they did have their chances to actually share the points with City last week before going down 2-1 at AAMI Park.
Back home, where they boast one win, one draw and one loss from their three games, will give them the perfect chance to build on their early season momentum and break this three-game skid.
Typically these games are hard fought and that is what you expect in a Derby.
Barring the last time they played, which ended up a 4-2 result in favour of the Jets, goals have been hard to come by with an average of just 1.2 goals coming in their previous five clashes.
HOW IT PANS OUT
Andrew Nabbout has been a sensation for the Jets and is already ranking as one of the buys of the season. If Newcastle are to fire here then a lot will depend on his attacking creativity.
There are a few injury concerns with Wayne Brown and Nigel Boogaard picking up knocks last week against City. If Mark Jones’ side are to be competitive not just here but throughout the season then they need all players on deck as their roster is one of the thinnest in the A-league.
Coach Paul Okon would have been bitterly disappointed with last week’s 2-0 loss to Wellington in Canberra, especially when you consider they went to Adelaide and took all three points the week before.
Expect them to be a far better team this week especially when its become a trend for the team to rise to the occasion away from home.
THE TIP: Newcastle – there’s something to like about the way they are playing
TOTAL GOALS OVER/UNDER 2.5: Go the Unders as history suggests this could be a one-goal game