CENTRAL Coast Mariners have come from two goals down to draw 2-2 with the Newcastle Jets in a pulsating F3 derby at Hunter Stadium tonight.
All four goals came in a frenetic second half which erupted after a slow burn opening 45.
Mariners had a stranglehold on possession at the start of the game but the under-pressure Jets, who had yet to score in Season 9, didn't retreat into their shell - Gary van Egmond's youthful outfit providing plenty of energy, if not the final product, in the attacking third.
Aussie youth international, Andrew Hoole showed why he's one to watch for the future with a one-on-one with the keeper on 15' and then a powerful shot on 33'.
But the reigning champs looked increasingly frustrated with the deadlock as neither side was able to get their noses in front and headed into the sheds 0-0.
It all went off after the break.
A freekick by Jets skipper Ruben Zadkovich on 50' looked like coming to nothing. But clever footwork by Nathurn Burns, in the midst of some desperate defending, let fullback Scott Neville scramble home just his fifth A-League goal to the delight of the home fans.
Five minutes later Mariners shot stopper Justin Pasfield had a moment to forget, chasing a back pass from teammate Trent Sainsbury which went over the line. The extraordinary own goal taking a moment to register with the players and fans.
Graham Arnold's men were stung into action and the breakthrough came on 63' when Jets' Connor Chapman handled in the box. Marcos Flores who slotted the ball home was forced to retake the penalty but the result was the same.
Arnold's substitutions began to swing the game in the visitors' favour and Mile Sterjovski evened the ledger on 79'. Jets keeper Mark Birighitti saved a shot by Josh Rose before Flores' follow-up flew off the woodwork to the former Socceroo who didn't miss, knocking it into the bottom left.
The result sees the Mariners stay in fourth spot while the Jets move off the bottom of the ladder into 7th.
More to follow...