Star Mariners signing scores three to set up all A-Leagues Zonal Final in AFC Cup

'Once you're off that mark you feel confident' - Hat-trick hero Edmondson delighted to kickstart Mariners career

Star Central Coast recruit Ryan Edmondson scored a second-half hat-trick off the bench to seal a 4-0 Mariners win over Phnom Penh Crown in the AFC Cup Zonal Semi-Finals at Industree Group Stadium on Tuesday night.

Jing Reec opened the scoring in the first half for the Mariners before Edmondson came off the bench to bag his first three goals in Mariners colours since his January arrival.

The result sets up an A-Leagues battle in the ASEAN Zone Final; Macarthur FC defeated Sabah FC in the earlier Semi-Final on Tuesday, and will host the Mariners next Thursday, February 22 at Campbelltown Stadium in the next phase of the AFC Cup.

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Edmondson expressed his delight at breaking his Mariners duck post-match, and lauded his side’s response to a deflating 3-1 loss to Sydney FC in the Isuzu UTE A-League on Saturday night – a result that ended the Mariners’ 12-game unbeaten run.

“It was really important for us,” Edmondson said.

“After the Sydney game we were quite low… I think the run we were on, we took a bit of a punch.

“I think the best teams react best, and we went out there to put on a show… we showed we’re not as poor as we were last week, we’re a very good team.

“I think the attitude of the boys was spot on, everyone bounced back really well. That’s what the best teams do and I’m just glad we’ve advanced.”

When asked how it felt to get on the scoresheet for the Mariners for the very first time, Edmondson responded: “Brilliant. As a striker all you want to do is score.

“It’s taken me a few games. I can’t lie, I’m still not used to the weather. I’ve played half an hour and I’m knackered. But it’s really good on a personal note. 

“Once you’re off that mark you feel confident and it’s important going into the run of games we’ve got to have confidence. I’m glad I’ve got that, and I’ve helped the boys out and we’ve advanced to the next round.”

Recent Mariners signing Ronald Barcellos made his first start for the Mariners on Tuesday night, and had the best chance of the opening 20 minutes when his header off Jacob Farrell’s delivery lobbed over the bar from close range.

Neither side dazzled in a subdued first half but the Mariners managed an opener in the 37th minute. when Reec took control of Ángel Torres’ cross and buried his left-footed strike into the bottom-right corner.

The second half ended with the home side’s slender lead intact – but Phnom Penh almost snatched one back in the seconds proceeding the restart. Lim Pisoth sparked the visitors into life with a venomous strike which looked set to trouble Danny Vukovic in goal before rising over the crossbar.

Miguel Di Pizio came close with a chipped attempt down the other end before substitute Edmondson bagged his very first Mariners goal, sparking an attacking move down the right flank and finishing it off after latching onto Storm Roux’s cut-back cross.

Edmondson doubled his tally soon after, capitalising on a pair of defensive mistakes from Phnom Penh to put the Mariners out of sight.

The Englishman sealed his hat-trick in second-half stoppage time, and his third of the night came in similar fashion to his second strike of the night. Phnom Penh were all at sea at the back as Edmondson took possession on the edge of the box and finished into an unguarded net.