Sydney silences Mariners in front of record home crowd

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The Mariners have taken one step forward and five steps back over the three-week break, losing 5-1 to Sydney FC at home.

All those saying Sydney had lost their early season momentum were silenced by the 16th minute, with the first goal coming from Mark Janko who received a well-placed cross from Alexander Gersbach.

The goal was made possible by the Mariners’ Josh Rose mistiming the header that would have cleared the ball from the area.

It was deja vu as the Mariners conceded two goals in two minutes, with the second goal coming from a cross delivered by Milos Dimitrijevic to Christopher Naumoff who slotted the ball past Liam Reddy.

The Mariners’ defence failed yet again in the 44th minute, with Berni Ibini managing to send a shot flying through the box, straight past Reddy and into the back of the net. The whistle couldn’t have come sooner for the Mariners, but they should thank Marc Janko for missing an easy opportunity to score in extra time.

What started as a pretty even sided game quickly turned into an up-hill battle for the Mariners. Moss’s quiet confidence before the break looked to be quietly shattering as his team unraveled in front of the 12,102–strong crowd.

“Training so far since we came back from the break has been unreal…The intensity, quality and the standards that the players are setting themselves are magnificent. I really think we are headed for a much better second half of the season,” Moss said before tonight’s game.

Either they choked under pressure, or the three-week hiatus did more harm than good, because the Mariners weren’t making the most of any opportunities they had going forward, all too often passing back.

It’s been a trademark move, with goal man Liam Reddy as involved in play as any midfielder. Phil Moss himself shouted out “Go forward!” in frustration as his men once again squandered an opportunity on the counter-attack.

“I don’t think there was anything positive from the first half… I just want to apologise to the fans,” said devastated captain John Hutchinson after the game.

Sydney on the other hand, looked cool, calm, and collected, blazing their way through a weak Mariners defence time and time again.

“Look I think that we just had a very good night, and Phil moss is doing a good job, but we were hot tonight and we had extra motivation from the campaign they ran,” said Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold.

Arnold was referring to the ‘joke’ campaign ran by the Mariners earlier this week describing him as “cashed up Arnie”.

Unlike the campaign suggested, there were not 20, 50 or 100 reasons to laugh at Sydney FC, but at the Mariners. Marc Janko made the most of Zac Anderson’s catastrophic pass back to Liam Reddy in the 48th minute, making it 4-0 for Sydney. Their fifth came in the 71st minute with another blazing shot from Ibini.

Travis Major came on for Anthony Caceres in the 56th minute, immediately injecting some intensity into his deflated team. His first goal for the Mariners came in the 66th minute after a brilliant run from Josh Rose who passed right at the last moment to allow Major the finish.

The Mariners’ best chances came by means of Matt Simon, Mitchell Duke, Anthony Caceres, and of course, Major. It should be said that the score-line could have been more level had Sydney’s keeper Vedran Janjetovic not been in such fine form.

“We were our own worst enemies tonight, we weren’t outclassed, we beat ourselves at both ends of the pitch,” said Moss.

Perhaps they should have done better from set-pieces, like the free kick they had in the 34th minute which found Simon but not the back of the net. Perhaps there was too much hesitation where there should have been desperation, in front of goal and in defence. Whatever the problem, the Mariners did not find the solution.

Not to add to the “master versus apprentice” jibes, but Moss would have been sinking in his chair at the fact that the Mariners have only lost by this margin once before to Brisbane in 2011.

“I have to take some responsibilities as the coach, and we’ve got some players in the dressing room who have to take responsibilities for some of those goals,” he said.

The Mariners will next play Adelaide United, who incidentally beat Newcastle 7-0 earlier today…I bet they’re looking forward to it.

Central Coast Mariners starting XI: 3. Joshua Rose 4.Jacob Poscoliero 5. Zac Anderson 7. John Hutchinson (C) 9. Mitchell Duke 10. Anthony Caceres 11. Nick Fitzgerald 12. Liam Reddy (GK) 18. Glen Trifiro 19. Matthew Simon 25. Eddy Bosnar

Central Coast Mariners subs: 2. Storm Roux 8. Nick Montgomery 14. Travis Major 17. Richard Vernes 30. Adam Pearce (GK)

Sydney FC starting XI: 6. Nikola Petkovic 8. Milos Dimitrijevic 11. Berni Ibini-Isei 13. Christopher Naumoff 14. Alex Brousque (C) 16. Alexander Gersbach 20. Vedran Janjetovic (GK) 21. Marc Janko 25. Aaron Calver 26. Jacques Faty 27. Michael Tavares

Sydney FC subs: 1.Ivan Necevski (GK) 5. Matthew Jurman 9. Shane Smeltz 18. Peter Triantis 23. Rhyan Grant

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