Central Coast feeling blue after loss to Sydney

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With a 2-0 loss to the Sky Blues on Sunday, the Central Coast Mariners are now sixth on the ladder board and Sydney FC sits at the top with Melbourne Victory.

A win was crucial for both teams; Sydney had a point to prove, with their “little brothers” (i.e. the Western Sydney Wanderers) winning the Asian Champions League and all, and the Mariners knowing they needed to secure three points to stay on the higher rungs of the ladder.

It wasn’t the the outcome Phil Moss was hoping for against his former mentor/BFF, Graham Arnold. In any case, the trip back to Gosford would have been a quiet one.

Yet again, it was sloppy defending which cost the Mariners the game, which they had two weeks to prepare for.

In fairness, perhaps the extra week off did them more harm than good, knocking the wind out of their sails and leaving the players, and Moss, with too much time to think.

There were some moments of good play, coming from Mitchell Duke and John Hutchinson, with a near goal from the former coming in the 39th minute.

“If you look at the chances that we created … we had ample chances to win a game of football,” Moss said after the game.

But what counts on the scoreboard are the chances that are executed. Both goals, from Terry Antonis and Sasha Ognenovski respectively, came from set pieces, which could have been avoided.

At least the dreaded Og-Monster didn’t come out. Instead, he was Happy Og.

“To concede two set pieces, you just can’t afford that at this level. If you look at our last two games against Wellington and now Sydney, we’ve conceded four goals that are so avoidable, and that’s an area that we need to fix,” Moss said.

Maybe Moss should follow The Football Sack, if he isn’t already, because last week he was told he needed to tighten up those defensive structures.

It seems that Moss’ initial hope that his attacking structure would be more dynamic has proved somewhat disappointing. He has put all his proverbial eggs in a proverbial basket in the form of Malick Mane, who has not yet blossomed at the Mariners.

“On the positive side I think we played some positive football in patches today, and I think those patches are getting more frequent and we are starting to play football the way I want my team to play,” Moss said.

It seems the next step for the Mariners is to work on turning those “patches” of positive football into extended periods, i.e. the whole game.

Looking to their match this Sunday against fourth placed Perth Glory, the Mariners will be hungry to secure a win at home.

In any case, they shouldn’t bee too upset about last week’s result, like they say: “You win some, you loose some.”

That’s football, folks.

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