Consistency a threat in the long haul for Mariners

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A 2-0 victory against Western Sydney Wanderers capped off a brutal grudge match, but Central Coast Mariners know they must capitalise on their countless opportunities if they are to maintain their early success.

Central Coast have had their share of opportunities over the season’s early course, struggling to find the net on several occasions.

It may not be a worrying sign just yet for Mariners fans, but contending with top teams in the league may become an issue if goals aren’t being scored more efficiently.

Mariners captain Oliver Bozanic knows how important these chances are to their successes.

“We’ve had some really good players during this game and last game who have created chances. If we continue to create and finish these chances we will score and obviously win games,” said Bozanic.

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The Mariners attack moves swiftly through their oppositions’ defence, completing a high percentage of their passes. It’s just putting the icing on the cake that they’re missing.

Central Coast has won possession in the final third 30 times so far this season – the most in the competition.

Coach Nick Montgomery credits the team chemistry after dealing with off-season departures and injuries, but knows there’s still a long road ahead for these areas to be solidified.

“I think Moresche and Urena have been superb and are getting a good partnership and also Nicolai who we aren’t going to rush just yet,” he said.

“We will carry on the same way we’ve been playing, it doesn’t matter about who’s in the team. They know their role.

“Like every club we’ve had to bring a lot of new players. We’re only five games in so no-one’s getting carried away.”

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Possessing one of the youngest sides in the competition with an average age of 24, Montgomery’s men have proved youth is the answer as they now sit fourth on the ladder. Many of their academy players have been crucial in these successes and are yet to hit their final form.

“We’ve worked hard to speed up their development. You can see now Farrell, Steele, Balard  have had some good experience and are ready to take it to first-team football,” Montgomery said.

“There’s still lots of improvement to make as well and we know we’ve got to keep improving and take nothing for granted.”

The heat of the Central Coast on Saturday evening wasn’t detrimental toward their younger players, always playing with speed and intensity from beginning to end.

A fiery contest on Saturday evening against Western Sydney saw plenty of dubious calls going against the home team and Bozanic got right in the referee’s ear.

Calls never always go your way, and Bozanic has great belief his team can push incidents like the several on Saturday evening aside to focus on their main goals.

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“Today obviously was hot and the tempers were high for such a game. The ref made decisions, some we didn’t agree with but that’s football so we move on,” he said.

“It’s a lot easier to deal with when you win the game.”

Montgomery’s men will aim to continue their winning streak when they take on APIA Leichhardt in the quarter-final of the FFA Cup on Tuesday night.

Capitalising on their chances will certainly prove the difference if they are to progress further into the competition.

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Feature Image Credit: Robbie Szafranek

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Mitchell Roese
Sports enthuse currently studying a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) at the University of Technology Sydney. Covering the Central Coast Mariners 2021/22 A-League Season

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