THREE goals in 10 minutes during the second half turned Western Mariners’ fortunes into winning ones at Mudgee on Saturday.
The Mariners might be sitting bottom of the Football NSW State League One ladder but their effort to collect a 4-3 win at Glen Willow Regional Sports Stadium could not be denied.
Down 2-0 after 20 minutes the Mariners were not marking up close to goal and handing easy opportunities to Nepean. Mariners coach Andrew Fearnley said at that stage he was a little worried.
“I thought we were playing well enough to get back in the game,” he said.
“To be honest I didn’t think Nepean came out guns blazing I thought they were fortunate with the goals they got. We had our own chances and at half time I just said we had to keep playing well and keep creating chances because I thought we could get a result. I think it was important to score before half time and we did.”
The battle of the west was far from over as the Mariners were on top for the remainder of the first half. Nick Rutherford converted a penalty on the stroke of half time to bring his side within striking distance at 2-1.
Mariners fans had to wait until the 75th minute before a spectacular equaliser came through James Christie. A free kick to the Mariners found the head of Christie who helped the ball on its way to the back of the net.
As the Mariners’ began to apply all the pressure, Nepean goalkeeper , spilled a long range shot and Alec Bateson cleaned up the mess. He put the Mariners 3-2 in front with about 10 minutes of normal time to play.
However Nepean had other ideas and replied almost instantly when Jason Browne scored his second for the evening by connecting with a perfect corner.
To the Mariners’ credit they held their composure and breaking down the right hand side allowed a perfect pass to Rutherford who also netted his second goal of the day with only five minutes remaining in normal time.
“At 3-2 I wish we were smarter. However the response when we were 3-3, we didn’t throw in the towel. Two weeks ago we were almost in the same position against Granville and got rolled so I think we showed we had learnt from that experience. The win was well deserved,” Fearnley said.
“It was a good turnaround. We probably should have played better in the first half but it was good we were more dominant in the second half and we needed those points.”
WESTERN MARINERS 4 (Nick Rutherford 2, James Christie, Alec Bateson goals) def NEPEAN FC 3 (Jason Browne 2, Mikal Awad goals).