Central Coast Mariners returned to their old ways as they were outperformed by Western Sydney Wanderers on their own turf.

The Mariners have started the 2017/18 A-League campaign quite well and a win against the struggling Wanderers would have seen them climb into the top four.

However, their display against the red and black wasn’t a reflection of an elite A-League outfit and their performance wouldn’t warrant themselves a position in the top six let alone the top four.

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After last week’s narrow defeat to Melbourne City the Mariners were expected to snatch all three points on their return to Gosford as they faced a heavily scrutinised Western Sydney who were second last on the ladder prior to kick off.

The controversial VAR incidents involving Central Coast duo Wout Brama and Jake McGing overshadowed what was a poor performance by an outfit which were odds on favourites to secure the victory.

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Central Coast coach Paul Okon admitted that his side weren’t at their best as they failed to contain the visitors attacking force.

“We needed to be better, there’s key moments of the game that you have to deal with,” he said. “We were poor in those two moments.”

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Both Wanderers goals exposed the Mariners defence which were unable to cope with their opponents’ incisive counter attacking play.

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Okon’s men were tentative and lacked a sense of cohesion in defence in their 2-0 defeat while their execution in the attacking third was also well below par.

Their opponents only managed four shots throughout the game while their two shots on goal proved to be the telling difference as they made the most of their attempts compared to the hosts who were incapable of finding the back of the net despite their 10 shots with only three efforts on target.

With Asdrubal restored to the starting line-up following his injury layoff, they should have been more clinical in the final third. Central Coast however lacked composure in front of goal and should have provided a sterner test for Wanderers goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic, who had very little to deal with apart from Connor Pain’s effort in the final stages of the first half.

Without a win in their last two fixtures Okon needs to address issues at both sides of the pitch and his side will need to improve if they want to secure their spot in the finals.

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Studying Journalism at UTS. Obsessed with football and a die hard supporter of Sydney FC and Liverpool FC in the EPL