Mike Mulvey’s Mariners put in a gutsy performance against Sydney FC at Central Coast Stadium on Saturday, December 1, and were unlucky not to come away with a point.
The 8,000-plus crowd responded well to the side’s conviction and determination. The Central Coast Mariners’ formation for the match was a defensive 5-4-1 but they played a positive, highpressing game that was rewarded early, when Captain, Matthew Simon, opened the score line at the 16th minute. Matthew Millar marked his first A-League home game for the Mariners with an excellent cross that Simon managed to convert to take the Mariners to the lead.
The Mariners continued their brave performance, and defenders, McGing, Rowles and Golec, held firm against a dangerous front three for Sydney, that were slowly getting into the rhythm of the game. Matthew Simon was definitely one of the most outstanding players on the field, causing havoc for Sydney’s central pairing, winning many aerial challenges, setting up, Connor Pain, who put his driven shot narrowly wide of the post. It looked like the Mariners were going to hold on to their lead to go to the sheds with a clean sheet, but it was not to be.
Sydney were awarded a penalty after, Rhyan Grant, went down in the box. Adam Le Fondre converted the spot kick. The second half saw Sydney become more dominant in possession, but failed to worry a stubborn Mariners’ defence that denied Sydney any-clearcut threat on goal. The Mariners continued to be energetic in the front third, but struggled to make their chances count, with several crosses into the box coming to no avail for the boys in Yellow and Navy. Sydney’s much improved second half was rewarded after, Brandon O’Neill, gave them the lead with a classy 25-yard screamer. The Central Coast were not down and out and continued to push for a much-needed equaliser.
Aiden O’Neill forced a great save from, Andrew Redmayne, after his shot from distance was parried by the Sydney shot stopper. The Mariners could not find the leveller as the game finished 2-1, in favour of the visitors. “I’m not happy,” Mulvey said after the match. “We lost. “That’s the only emotion that really matters right now. “People are looking at where the Mariners are right now, bottom of the table, lost, again. “If you dig underneath that, we are on the right track. “I thought we played some really good stuff today, we took it to Sydney and we took it to Perth last week. “We’re competitive, but still blighted by some mistakes that cost us, and today, we lost to a penalty and a 25-yard bomb. “The first thing we need to do is make sure we don’t lose the belief, which we haven’t done. “I think we’ve had one poor game this season and that was Adelaide at home.
“We were into it up to our ears at Perth last week. “We were into it today, with one of the best teams in the competition. “We’re not far away, we must not lose belief, and we need to get a little more quality, particularly in decision making, that’s the key. “That’s the difference between the top and the bottom, decision making. “I would say we had a winning gallop in training, we were fantastic in training. “We brought most of that to the game today, just those lapses in concentration, when we were on our heels for the penalty, and were standing off O’Neill before he unloaded. “Matty Millar, we’ve been waiting for him to turn the corner and he has done. “He did very well last week and caused problems in the first half.
“That system we have gone into now seems to be complementary to the players we have,” Mulvey said. The Mariners play away to the Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday, December 7, and will have Cisse back from his one-week suspension. Mulvey said he did not expect, Tommy Oar, to be match-fit for the Wanderers game and said young, Jonathan Aspropotamitis, who is recovering from an ACL injury, may be ready for a Youth League game. “He has done a lot of training, he’s not far off,” Mulvey said. “I like Jonathan, but my experience of ACL injuries is that it takes another few months after their return to get to the level of performance that I’m happy with,” he said. “Jonathan is a young lad, he’s ahead of schedule, and we want him back.”
Source: Media release, Dec 1 Tyson Scott, Central Coast Mariners