Substitute Matt Simon scored two injury-time penalties as Central Coast Mariners ended a long wait for a win over Melbourne Victory with a dramatic VAR-dominated 3-2 triumph in Sunday’s A-League clash.
Victory, who were unbeaten in their previous 18 contests against the Mariners, appeared set for three points after taking the lead with 12 minutes to go through Kye Rowles’ own goal.
Drama ensued in Gosford, though, as Simon levelled from the spot after the VAR noticed a handball by James Donachie, and he kept his cool again in the 100th minute of the contest when Leigh Broxham was pinged for a foul on Michael McGlinchey.
In between those goals, Simon was booked for his part in a scuffle between the two sets of players after accidentally backing into Adama Traore as the match finished in frenetic fashion.
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Kiki Dobras put the visitors ahead after eight minutes after his deflected shot left Mariners keeper Mark Birighitti no chance.
Jordan Murray’s thumping header levelled proceedings just before the half-time whistle and Rowles had a goal ruled out after a VAR check for the most marginal of offside calls.
The luckless Rowles then scored in his own goal when Traore’s cross rebounded off the post, but the Mariners’ fortunes turned in a hectic finale.
Simon was originally judged to have handled in the area before VAR overruled and penalised Donachie, with the veteran Mariners forward smashing in the spot-kick.
A tussle saw Simon’s shirt ripped and he was booked along with Victory pair Traore and Broxham, whose evening was made even worse when he brought down McGlinchey in the area.
Simon hammered the penalty into the top-right corner as the second-bottom Mariners downed the play-off chasing Victory, who saw coach Marco Kurz red-carded for his remonstrations with the fourth official.
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