GALLERY: McBreen back to haunt Jets as Mariners win 2-0

WHO else but Daniel McBreen.

The Mariners talisman was up to his old tricks, popping up in the right place at the right time to score a brace and bury his former club Newcastle 2-0 at Hunter Stadium tonight.

After a scoreless first half, McBreen struck with goals in the 48th and 68th minutes to give the visitors a well-deserved victory and leapfrog them above Adelaide into the competition lead on 23 points.

The double took the 35-year-old's tally to nine for the season and eight in six games.

"Macca is in wonderful form. That was the first goal he has scored against Newcastle and he is a Newcastle boy so he is extremely happy," Mariners coach Graham Arnold said after the match. 

"Macca is a real good pro. He works exceptionally hard at training. We have had to cut back he training loads to keep him fresher for the games and it is working very well."

Ten rounds into the season, the off-contract target man has already surpassed the Mariner's best haul last season of seven goals, which Matt Simon, Bernie Ibini and Patrick Zwaanswijk yielded.

Thomas Rojic, with three, is the next best for the Mariners this campaign.

It was the third time this season McBreen has produced a match-winner.

The 13,112 fans had barely taken their seats after the break before he broke the deadlock.

The Jets committed the sin of failing to pick up the veteran at the near post and he cooly turned a Josh Rose cross past the outstretched arms of Nash.

His second, though less spectacular, proved telling.

Again he was left unmarked and made a well-timed run to crash a header into the back of the net.

Arnold said McBreen needed to keep producing efforts like that if he was to sign another contract.

"He has to get one more goal. He is 35 and asked me what he had to do to get another go. I said get double figures and lets talk. 

"He is one away. I didn't expect it to happen this early but I am very happy for him."

McBreen was born in England but moved to Newcastle when he was an infant. He made his national league debut for Newcastle United in 2000 before heading to Europe and stints in Romania, Scotland and England.

He returned to Australia in 2009 to join the now defunct North Queensland Fury and is in his third season on the Coast.

While McBreen celebrated a double it was a different story for the veteran at the other end.

Jets marquee striker Emile Heskey struggled to get in the game.

The loss was the Jets' fifth and second straight.

After a bright start they have recorded one win in the past six games and are in danger of dropping to fifth.

"When the game was in the balance, the Mariners were the team who controlled it more," Jets coach Gary van Egmond said after the match.

"We tried to manufacture some chances on the counter and what have you.

"There were a couple of lapses which proved costly.

"The goal from a corner was terrible. There was a massive hole, you could have driven a truck through the centre.

"It is a matter of switching on, concentrating and knowing what your job is and making sure you do your task. Unfortunately that didn't happen."

Honours were shared in a scoreless first half which lacked the passion and fire normally associated with clashes between the fierce rivals.

Central Coast defender Trent Sainsbury was the only player to enter referee Jarred Gillett's book for a late challenge on a runaway Craig Goodwin.

Before last night, the F3 ledger was square, with the 27 previous encounters producing nine wins each and nine draws.

Gary van Egmond made three forced changes from the 1-0 loss to the Roar.

Taylor Regan was promoted in the centre of defence to cover for suspended Josh Mitchell, Craig Goodwin came in for Ryan Griffiths (suspended) and Jacob Pepper replaced Jobe Wheelhouse (knee).

The experienced centreback, Patrick Zwaanswijk, was preferred over Zach Anderson in the only change to a Mariners side, fresh from a 2-1 win over Adelaide which put them top of the table.

Goodwin has spent the past two weeks on the pine, but he made up for lost time early, beating two players with his first touch and minute later put Emile Heskey in space with bullet pass from 50 metres.

After a tight opening 20 minutes, the Mariners had the first real chance on goal.

Oliver Bozanic was first to a ball over the top but Connor Chapman and Matt Nash provided enough pressure to force a rushed chipped which lobbed wide.

The former Olyroos captain had another sight in goal in the 33rd minute but couldn't beat the sharp reflexes of Jets keeper Matt Nash.

Kiwi international Michael McGlinchey tried to walk the ball into three minutes later as the Mariners started to get on top.

Zwaansswijk hit the side netting with the header, Nash denied McBreen twice in quick succession.  

Goodwin was involved in most things good for the home side. He caused the right side of the Mariners defence nightmares with his pace and ability to ghost past players.

But for all his endeavour he was unable to produce the killer final ball. Twice Sainsbury made desperate  interceptions just as it looked as though the former Heart winger had threaded the needle.

The Mariners had the better of the play without reward.

"We put a lot of emphasis on everything being about the team not the individual," Arnold said.

"I am extremely happy, especially when you have Matty Ryan and Tommy Rogic away with the Socceroos. They are two big players in our team."

"We have created our own depth by giving kids a go and the kids have come on a lot. I was very happy with the performances."

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