McBreen double over Jets puts Mariners top
Newcastle-born striker Daniel McBreen scored a brace to give the Central Coast Mariners a 2-0 victory over a disjointed Jets outfit in front of 13,112 fans at Hunter Stadium.
McBreen opened the scoring with a crisply taken strike in the 49th minute and he added to his tally in the 66th minute with an easy header on Saturday night.
Mariners fullback Josh Rose set up the first, McBreen's sweetly-timed right foot putting the ball past a helpless Matthew Nash in goal for the Jets.
For the second, Michael McGlinchey delivered a corner straight onto the head of an unmarked McBreen who has now scored against every A-League team except for the newly formed Western Sydney Wanderers.
Both sides struggled to create opportunities in a largely lifeless first 30 minutes and young Mariners defender Trent Sainsbury earned a yellow card for an over exuberant challenge on Craig Goodwin in the 24th minute.
The match sprang to life in the 42nd minute and the visitors should have taken the lead.
Central Coast got in behind Newcastle on their right edge and Josh Rose squared the ball straight into the path of the A-league's leading marksman McBreen.
His shot went straight at Nash who fumbled but McBreen then had his follow up effort smothered by the Jets keeper.
A snapshot from Emile Heskey on 54 minutes was the home side's only real attempt on goal as the Englishman cut an increasingly isolated and forlorn figure.
Newcastle struggled without many of their regular players and the Mariners took advantage to reclaim top spot on the ladder, a point clear of Adelaide United.
The Jets remain fourth.
Mariners coach Graham Arnold was full of praise for his scoring machine who tops the league list with nine for the season.
"Macca is in wonderful form," he said.
"I think that's his first goal against Newcastle and he is a Newcastle boy so he is very happy tonight."
Arnold also gave mention to the depth in his squad as the side overcame some key absentees with ease.
"We emphasise a lot on everything being about the team and not the individual," he said.
"We have created our own depth within the squad. We are very attacking minded. It is all about the team philosophy and we will see where we end."
Jets coach Gary van Egmond was also impressed with the Mariners and felt they thoroughly deserved to beat his outfit.
"Even though we beat them in the first round, I felt they were the best team we played," he said.
"When the game was in the balance the Mariners were more the team who were in control of the game."
The Jets have won only one of their past six games and face a difficult trip to Perth next weekend.
"Right at this moment the confidence with the players is probably down," van Egmond said.
"We have had a couple of issues with injury and suspension."