Central Coast Mariners 1-0 Newcastle Jets: Kuol's first A-League goal gets hosts off to winning start

By Daniel Lewis 31 December 2020 8
Central Coast Mariners 1-0 Newcastle Jets: Kuol's first A-League goal gets hosts off to winning start

Central Coast Mariners kicked off their 2020-21 A-League campaign with a 1-0 win over Newcastle Jets on Thursday thanks to Alou Kuol's first-half header at the Central Coast Stadium.

Teenage forward Kuol profited from some hesitant Jets defending to guide in Stefan Nigro's deep free-kick and earn the hosts bragging rights in the F3 Derby.

It marks a first league victory on home soil for the Mariners in nine attempts, while it meant they picked up successive wins in the competition for the first time since December 2017, having ended last term with a 3-2 win over Melbourne Victory at Jubilee Stadium.

The team now coached by Alen Stajcic have finished bottom of the ladder in each of the last three seasons but made a bright start against their neighbours and took the lead after 43 minutes.

Nigro floated in a deep delivery and neither Nikolai Topor-Stanley nor Connor O'Toole could cut it out, allowing Kuol to nip in ahead of Jack Duncan for his maiden league goal.

The visitors had only lost one of their previous nine A-League encounters with the Mariners but could not find a way through in a scoreless second half in Gosford.

That was largely thanks to some heroics from Mark Birighitti, who produced fine saves to keep out Kosta Petratos and Angus Thurgate, tipping the latter's shot onto the crossbar.

Substitute Daniel De Silva brushed the wrong side of the post at the other end of the field, though in the end Kuol's goal proved enough to seal the win for Stajcic's men.

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