THE Western NSW Mariners FC men’s State League 1 football side have produced one of the boilovers of the season on Saturday to defeat second-placed Northbridge 2-0 at Bathurst’s Proctor Park.
Just three weeks ago, the Mariners had a solitary win and two draws to their name after 13 rounds of the competition but Saturday’s result capped a great run of form since, and left their opposition stunned.
Captain Adam Scimone, from Orange, said in the lead-up to the game he and his side would try and restrict Northbridge and hopefully snare a draw, particularly given they conceded seven goals last time they met.
He couldn’t have been happier with what unfolded.
“We believed we could get something out of the game but probably only a draw at best. It was a really well-deserved win in the end and a very important one for us,” he said.
“We scored fairly early in the game, after 15 minutes or so, and even before that we thought the longer we can frustrate them, the better our chances.
“When we got that goal, they began to fight amongst themselves which was really disappointing to see but at the same time it was helping us.
“They came pretty hard at us to try and get one back but we held them out and went on with the job in the second half.”
Kenny McCall opened the scoring, having battled at times to convert his opportunities this season.
Going to the sheds with a 1-0 lead, the Mariners emerged for the second half determined not to simply play for time, and try and extend their lead.
Having narrowly missed a couple of chances late in the first half, James Christie hit a perfect shot on the hour mark to double their advantage and, despite losing ‘keeper Bryce Deaton to injury, they were good enough to hold on.
The Mariners became the first team to keep Northbridge scoreless all season, and made a mockery of their own defensive record of conceding on average more than three goals per match prior to round 13.
In three weeks since, they have conceded only one.
“For a side that were coming second, they were very poor at times, and they actually had the same line-up they had when they scored seven against us earlier in the year,” Scimone said.
“We had Bryce go off injured but Chris Howarth came in and did a great job.
“Over the last three games we have really shown a lot of character and a lot of fight. It was great to see us playing as one team and with some great spirit. As a captain I can’t ask for more than that.”
Scimone had high praise for the likes of McCall and Christie, who had a major impact in his first game since returning from Brazil where he was watching the World Cup.
But Matt Corben especially caught the skipper’s attention.
“I could rap everybody from that game, but Matt Corben I thought was particularly solid at the back,” Scimone said.
“He’s only young, and at the start of the year was very quiet and didn’t have a lot of mongrel about him. As the year has gone on he’s really started to find his feet. He was very fired up on Saturday and even got a yellow card.
“[Orange’s] John Rimmer has done a lot of work with him since he joined the club and it’s really been on show for the last few games.”
WESTERN NSW MARINERS FC 2 (Kenny McCall, James Christie) def NORTHBRIDGE 0