Adam Le Fondre's hat-trick has given Sydney FC's A-League Men finals hopes a big boost, helping them to a 5-0 win over Central Coast.
An Adam Le Fondre hat-trick has helped strengthen Sydney FC's bid for an A-League Men finals spot in a 5-0 win over the Central Coast Mariners.
Central Coast Mariners - Sydney FC
- The Sky Blues beat Mariners 5-0 on Saturday.
- Adam Le Fondre's hat-tricked helped the Sydney win.
- Sydney FC rose to fourth in the ladder, Central Coast are eight.
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Veteran striker Le Fondre, who had only scored three times this season coming into Saturday night's game, rediscovered the touch which had made him one of the competition's most-prolific finishers during his time in Australia.
The Englishman was joined on the scoresheet by Anthony Caceres and Bobo as the Sky Blues moved up to fourth spot on the table with a resounding victory at Gosford Stadium.
The win was a big boost for Steve Corica's men as they prepare to host fifth-placed Adelaide on Tuesday before beginning their Asian Champions League campaign later next week.
"It was very important for us," Corica said of the hat-trick from his striker, who has struggled with injury this year.
"That's what we've been missing, isn't it? Goals.
"It's good for his confidence. I'm very proud of them all tonight with a clean sheet."
After a tense opening half an hour Sydney got their opening goal when fullback Rhyan Grant sent a delivery into the box.
Trent Buhagiar was offside but he held his run and strike partner Le Fondre took one touch before surging deep into the Mariners box and slotting past Mark Birighitti.
The 35-year-old had been clearly getting some stick for his seniority and ran towards the Mariners supporters and mimed as if to indicate he was hobbling with a walking stick.
The ball from Buhagiar, the one-time finish from Le Fondre. 👨â€🍳😘@SydneyFC are dominating in front of the palm trees.— Isuzu UTE A-League (@aleaguemen) April 9, 2022
Follow live: https://t.co/tFfyh9JGkO#CCMvSYD on @ParamountPlusAU
Beni N'Kololo and Jason Cummings fired warning shots but the Mariners came up empty on either side of the break.
It was to their detriment because Sydney soon struck when Grant again made a nice break down the right and Caceres raced between Mariners centre back Dan Hall and teed the ball past Birighitti into the back of the net.
N'Kololo again tested Sydney goalkeeper Tom Heward-Belle but the Mariners' inability to convert chances cost them dearly when Buhagiar made a break on the counter in the 57th minute.
Surging down the right Buhagiar delivered from the edge of the box and Le Fondre escaped the attentions of Hall to hit the ball with his first touch and send the travelling Sydney fans into raptures.
Barely two minutes had passed before Sydney cut the Mariners open down the opposite flank and after Buhagiar and Caceres combined Le Fondre completed his hat-trick from the edge of the box.
The veteran forward was given a richly-deserved early mark by Corica with replacement Bobo scoring in added time to wrap up the rout.
"We just didn't start tonight, we had seven or eight off the pace," said Mariners boss Nick Montgomery. "I could give you some excuses but I'm not going to.
"We weren't good enough and they were better than us."
The full A-League Men's schedule can be found using this link.