After a positive 1-1 draw away to Melbourne Victory just three days earlier the signs were looking good for Central Coast Mariners from the get-go against bitter rivals Newcastle Jets on Tuesday night before it all went wrong midway through the second half.

A second yellow card and subsequent red for Joshua Rose in the 72nd minute was undeniably the turning point in favour of the Jets but rather than focus on his side’s inability to kill the game off Mariners coach, Paul Okon used the incident to deflect focus from their flaws.

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Okon’s men carved out a number of opportunities to go ahead in the game as Kwabena Appiah caused Jets left-back Ivan Vujica all sorts of problems as well as Connor Pain who looked threatening before succumbing to a nasty injury shortly before half time.

Up until Rose was sent on his way the Mariners had been organised at the back and were able to nullify the usually potent Jets attack – albeit a depleted one.

It’s the inability to get a goal and toothlessness upfront that should anger fans but Okon chose to focus on what was a straightforward red card for two petulant offences from an experienced player who should frankly know better.

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“Us not killing games has happened quite a bit this season,” Okon said.

“That’s probably the difference tonight apart from the terrible decision to send Rose off and give the ascendancy to the home side who didn’t even have a kick of the ball tonight.”

Okon also pointed to the lopsided yellow card count on the night which he believed was undeserved.

“Did we see Patricio Rodriguez’s two footed tackle on Jake McGing, no yellow card?

“So Newcastle didn’t get one yellow card and we get three?” he said before chastising the reporter who had asked the original question for smiling in response.

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Okon was in no mood to make friends following the Mariners’ loss and was looking to take it out on anyone who stood in his way.

“We’ve had it tough of late. We’re down to the bones at the moment but we won’t make a point of it” he said as he made a point of it.

Okon is certainly not short on passion and on seeing the opportunity to deflect criticism from his side grabbed it with both hands. But excuses only go so far and the Mariners certainly aren’t the only team in the competition with injury problems.

Watch this space to see how they bounce with a short turnaround again when they host third place Melbourne City on Sunday in a game that could see them rise as high as sixth or sink to ninth on the ladder.

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Living and studying in Newcastle. Pretty obsessed with football. Newcastle Jets and Chelsea FC fan