Unexpected hat-trick secures friendly win for Mariners
WHEN you're trying to cement a place in the Hyundai A-League, impressing the coach with a second half hat-trick is a good way to go about it.
Daniel Heffernan is still on the trial list for the Central Coast Mariners but his three goals in the space of only five minutes had coach Tony Walmsley sitting up and taking notice.
"You can't ask for more of a trialist," Walmsley said.
"We've watched him (Heffernan) a couple of times before, we brought him into camp this week and I knew if we delivered the ball into the right areas he's going to score goals and he's done that tonight.
"We won't make a snap judgement on whether we sign him or not but he's certainly done himself a lot of favours."
It was a result that brought a smile to the face of the Mariners' coach.
"I think at this time of year you're looking at a performance more than anything else but when you get a result at any time against Western Sydney Wanderers it's going to be good for the mood of the camp so soon in the season,"
"We've got a big FFA Cup game next week so what this game has done for us is prepared us physically and also given me a few headaches as to what selections we're going to make for that game on Tuesday."
Played in front of 3,248 people, the crowd was brought to life after the break.
A series of substitutions saw the Wanderers play the second half with a young, inexperienced back line and the Mariners took full advantage.
Rather than go into their shell after falling 3-0 behind, Wanderers defender Scott Neville said he was impressed with what he saw from the young squad from his vantage point on the bench after playing the first half.
"Some of the boys are only 16 or 17 and to be training in a professional environment, I think a couple of them even had the week off school to come up here and train so I'm sure they were thrilled to be up here," Neville said.
"They're not used to training two sessions a day and this morning as well so they were probably a little bit fatigued.
"But I think they did pretty well in the second half to come back and to score two goals was a credit to them."
Just as the crowd thought the result was going to be a fait accompli, goals in the 69th and 78th minute to Romeo Castelen and Josh Macdonald respectively had the Wanderers searching for a late equaliser.
In the death throes of the contest the equaliser almost arrived as Wanderers captain for the second 45 minutes, Kearyn Baccus, sent a hard, low shot toward goal but it was off to the right.