“We deserved it” – Montgomery hails Mariners’ controversial FFA Cup triumph

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Despite being sent through to the FFA Cup final following a contentious penalty decision, Central Coast Mariners manager Nick Montgomery believed that the upset victory was more than deserved.

A penalty awarded and emphatically dispatched by Marco Ureña with 10 minutes remaining in the FFA Cup semi-final on Tuesday night was enough to send Central Coast Mariners through to their first ever final of the tournament in a 1-0 victory against Sydney FC.

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But rather than the history-making night for the Mariners being at the centre of discussion, it was the nature of Joel King’s challenge on Lewis Miller which ignited the most debate on the night as the absence of the VAR from the tournament ultimately kept referee Alex King’s original decision intact.

Despite the debate-sparking decision, Mariners manager Nick Montgomery was adamant after the match that his side ran out deserved winners.

“To be honest, I thought we more than deserved the win,” he said.

“We did really well for the penalty and when we scored that I think we just had to be resilient in the end; they’re a big team.

“You know, everyone expected them to beat us but we deserve to be in the final after what we showed today.”

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The FFA Cup final berth is the Mariners’ first in their history after losing both of their previous semi-finals from past tournaments, with the victory proving even sweeter for Montgomery in light of recent events.

“It’s a massive achievement, especially after what we’ve been through with 75% of the team and players getting COVID and going four weeks without a game,” he said.

“Watching Sydney play last week and knowing that we’ve not had a game was obviously playing on our mind, but I knew if we came here and played the way we planned we could beat them.”

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Due to the semi-final being Sydney’s third match in six days, contrasting with Central Coast’s first fixture since December 21, Montgomery felt that the fatigue resulting from each of the clubs’ unique circumstances was apparent early on in the match, as the first half produced just two shots from each of the teams.

“I thought both teams looked a bit weary in the first half,” he said.

“I probably would’ve preferred to play two games last week like Sydney, but I thought after the first probably 20 minutes the boys got that fatigue out of their legs, and in the second half I thought that we could have scored a couple more chances.”

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In the minutes leading up to Ureña’s penalty, Andrew Redmayne seemed to be the only man standing in the way of the Mariners securing their maiden spot in the final, as a successive run of saves even drew admiration from the opposition manager.

“Redmayne was absolutely outstanding for them tonight,” Montgomery said.

But a heroic performance from their goalkeeper ultimately came to nothing for the Sky Blues, as the Mariners contrastingly went onto keep their fourth consecutive clean sheet across all competitions, and will await the result of the second semi-final between Melbourne Victory and Wellington Phoenix as they look towards their first potenial piece of silverware since 2013.

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Feature Image Credit: Robbie Szafranek

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Jimmy Alexander
Covering Sydney FC for the 2021/22 A-League season. Studying a Bachelor of Sports Media (Journalism) at Charles Sturt University.

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