Ten years ago, Jacob Farrell was in the stands as a young fan when the Central Coast Mariners made their last appearance and won the Isuzu UTE A-League Grand Final. On Saturday night, he was a key player in Sydney’s 6-1 win over drought.
The Grand Final was a delicate affair, with the Central Coast leading 2-1 over current Premier League side Melbourne City with 27 minutes remaining.
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Out front as Nick Montgomery’s super sub.
The Mariners 20-year-old came on the field in the 63rd minute, replacing James McGarry. What happened in the next 32 seconds completely changed the mechanics of this season’s finals.
Farrell scored the penalty with just his second touch of the game. Retiring referee Chris Beath was left with no choice but to point to a spot after Andrew Nabout’s brutal challenge.
Jason Cummings made the most of that gift.
Network 10 commentator Simon Hill joked, “Can we call this an inspired replacement?”
Co-commentator Andy Harper: “They’ve cracked down on grief coaches enough, so enjoy the bouquet until they come.”
But Farrell didn’t stop there.
The Mariners full-back, who twice nullified the impact of Adelaide United sensation Nestorry Irankunda in the semi-final, unbelievably earned another spot-kick in the 75th minute.
A through ball from Marco Tulio put Farrell behind City’s defense and tried to slice the ball into the six-yard box, but it was handled by another substitute, Callum Talbot.
Harper found it “tough”, but Cummings and others didn’t mind as Sacker stepped up to score a hat-trick in his final game for the Mariners.
City were completely ripped apart in a devastating end to the match, with Beni Nkororo and Moresche completing a stunning rout.
Cummings brought home the ball, Sammy Silvera dazzled, and Marco Tulio pulled the strings for the highest-scoring Grand Final in A-League history, but Farrell’s introduction was a spectacular blow from the sidelines. .
“It’s going to be very good for the coasts to see the coastal communities happy,” Farrell told Network 10 after the game.
“Ten years ago, when I was a kid, I used to watch the Grand Finals here, so I hope more kids will play for the Mariners in 10 years.”