Central Coast Mariners coach Paul Okon has attributed his side’s 5-2 thrashing at the hands of Melbourne Victory to injury troubles and unproven youth on the pitch.

Alongside the absence of Tom Hiariej and defensive stalwart Alan Baro, Okon was left clutching at straws as Antony Golec was stretchered off with a broken tibia after a collision with Lawrence Thomas.

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“I just spoke to the physiotherapist now and it obviously wasn’t good. Antony was in a lot of pain and it could be a fracture of his tibia,” said Okon.

“Everyone was aware that it was quite serious.”

Golec was replaced by youngster Ky Rowles who struggled to make an impact against an experienced Victory outfit.

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“We finished off the game with a 19-year old left centre-back, a 20-year old right centre-back and a 19-year old number nine so I would be close to saying our average age was 21 or 22 and this was a really tough test for them.”

“We worked all week on transition moments and rest defence because we know Victory are the best at punishing you when you make mistakes and that’s how it went.

Okon believes his side could have done more at the attacking end but struggled to find any positives in his shot-stopper’s performance on the night.

“I don’t think Ben Kennedy made a save all game, they have five chances and scored five goals whereas we had just as many but couldn’t put them away.”

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A late brace from Connor Pain providing the only glimpse of hope for Okon’s men on what was a disappointing night in Victoria.

“A lot of the game we were really good with the ball and we dominated Victory. You have to have the quality to finish off your chances.

“I was happy for Connor grabbing two very good goals against his old team but Victory have a front four that don’t miss opportunities and that’s why they’re one of the best clubs in the country.

Now sitting ten points off a spot in the top six the Mariners’ season is in serious danger of ending early but Okon may find some respite as his side hosts a Sydney FC low in confidence coming off consecutive losses in the league.

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Recent Sports Media graduate from the University of Canberra. Love all things football and can't wait to be part of the growth of the game in Australia. Waiting for the day the FFA come to their senses and hand us an A-League team... but could be waiting a while.