Central Coast Mariners v Newcastle Jets - Sunday 17:15, Fox Sports 4

Despite taking the lead at City last weekend, the Mariners went on to suffer a heavy 4-1 defeat and remain rooted to the bottom of the table with just 12 points from their 20 matches this season. The Jets, on the other hand, picked up a 3-2 win at home to Wellington, coming from behind twice before finding the winner after Hamish Watson saw red.

They secured their position in eighth with that win and now lead the Mariners by 11 points and Central Coast will surely have to win here if they’re to have any chance of avoiding finishing bottom this season.

The Mariners continued their strong scoring record against City as they’ve now found the net in 17 of their 20 games this season but the problem has been that they’ve conceded a remarkable 49 goals already (2.45 gpg). Their home record this season is W2-D2-L6, but they have shown improvement in recent weeks. They haven’t lost any of their last five at the Central Coast Stadium by more than one goal, with those defeats coming against the current top-three, and they’ve also had a 3-1 win over Wellington and a 3-3 draw with Victory (whom they were 3-0 up against at half-time) in that time. What’s more, they’ve led at half-time in three of their last four at home and their record when hosting fellow bottom-three sides since the start of last season is an excellent W3-D1-L0.

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The win at home to Wellington was the Jets’ second in three unbeaten games as they also beat City at home prior to a 2-2 draw at Brisbane, meaning they’ve also scored at least twice in their last three. However, they haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last nine and have managed just three all season, which will be a concern. Their away record this season is W2-D2-L4 with both those wins coming in their opening two road games of the season at Wellington and City. Indeed prior to the trip to Brisbane the Jets had failed to score in their last five on the road and trailed at the break in their last three.

However, they haven’t conceded more than twice on the road all season and as a result five of their last six away games had fewer than three goals, with half seeing fewer than two. Their record at fellow bottom-three sides since the start of last season is W2-D1-L1, with that defeat coming at Central Coast last season as they failed to keep a clean sheet in any of these games.

The Mariners are without two of their top three scorers, Ferreira and O’Donovan, both of whom are suspended for this game and that puts us off backing them, despite their improved showing in recent weeks and their decent record when hosting sides around them in the table. Instead, with the Jets failing to score in five of their last six on the road and the Mariners without those key attacking players, we’re backing fewer than three goals in this one.
Under 2.5 Goals - 1pt @ 2.5