“Some players think they are better than they are…and we lose games.”
Markus Babbel’s post-match comments summed it up fairly succinctly after his listless Wanderers side went down 3-1 at Central Coast Stadium in the penultimate game of a nightmare season for both sides.
Matt Simon was the hero for the Mariners, scoring two of their three goals – all of which came from set pieces.
There was time for a Mark Bridge consolation strike up the other end, as the retiring veteran struck his 63rd goal in 250 A-League games from the penalty spot.
A red card for an ugly Kye Rowles challenge was the only other blot on an otherwise joyous night for the home fans in Gosford, who celebrated just their third win of the campaign.
Yes, he’s a human battering ram with the first touch of a forklift. Yes, he has razor sharp elbows and is not afraid to deploy them. And yes, he may not appeal to your latte-sipping, ivory-tower, Cruyffian sensibilities, but for better or worse the man is the heart and soul of Central Coast, and he stood up and took this game by the scruff.
Defending from the front with dogged determination, Simon launched himself in the direction of every loose ball, and made a nuisance of himself to win the free kick from which the Mariners opened the scoring.
Pulling rank over Andrew Hoole and Jack Clisby on the dead ball, the “Wizard of Woy Woy” came off a ludicrously long run-up and leathered it in trademark fashion, through an anaemic Wanderers wall and past Jack Greenwood with the aid of a deflection.
Of course, he was also on hand to bury a penalty in much the same fashion. It’s Matty Simon’s world, and we’re all just living in it.