Failure to put the game to bed is keeping Mariners awake at night

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Deja vu it is for the Central Coast Mariners as they coughed up another late lead for the second straight game, forfeiting their third opportunity in a row to secure more points than they did.

Chances gone begging is becoming a common thread at the Mariners, and it is taking its toll regarding their position on the ladder.

Central coast clustered six shots on target against Perth Glory during their 1-1 draw, though only managed the single goal. And holding leads has not favoured the Yellow and Navy, failing to capitalise on icing the game two games in a row in the dying stages.

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Head coach Nick Montgomery puts it down to the maturity of his players to consistently fight throughout the game.

“Obviously we’ve got a really young side and we’re just not putting chances away. If we put the chances away then we don’t concede that equaliser and we win the game,” he said.

“It is a really poor goal to conceded and I thought we dominated the game and should have won.”

Central Coast have forfeited a potential four points in their last two outings and now drop to ninth position on the A-League Men’s ladder. Dropping their guard in the dying minutes has cost the Mariners a potential top six positioning

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As noted by Montgomery, Central Coast led the league in total shots on goal and opportunities created entering their COVID break. Stats like these may seem good, though are meaningless without victories.

The front-line combinations with Jason Cummings, Nicolai Muller, Marco Urena, and Moresche are beginning to hit their stride. Montgomery believed it was the final execution that has been hurting his side.

“We’ve got some good combinations but it is just the final pass,” the coach said.

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“We need to be more clinical and we know Jason [Cummings] is He just needs to get a couple more games under his belt.”

Another shining light in the Mariners’ side has been defender Lewis Miller. His performance against Glory on Sunday afternoon set the tone for the team, putting his body on the line to prevent any Glory chances.

Despite being unable to hold out Glory’s last ditch effort, Miller’s inspirational efforts have been consistent week-in and week-out.

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It has been efforts like such that are keeping Central Coast in the game.

Pairing up in the Mariners Academy first, Montgomery has witnessed his growth as a player and believes Miller’s consistency this season has warranted his starting selections.

“He’s [Miller] come a long way in the past couple of months. What he’s always lacked is consistency and that is why in previous seasons he hasn’t played much,” he said.

“Now he is finding that consistency which is what I have demanded from him.”

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Playing two games in a matter of days has not been ideal for the Mariners. Like many, the team is still playing catch-up on their games postponed by COVID before their week-long break ahead of their clash with Melbourne Victory on Saturday.

Mariners had some fortune that their Wednesday fixture with Western Sydney Wanderers was again postponed due to timing issues.

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It will provide much needed rest for the small and young squad, who will need to start closing out games if finals football is on the table.

“I am definitely seeing a lot more cohesion in our play. Obviously we have to and continue to make changes from lack of games and from being sick,” Montgomery said.

“We have still got games to catch up on and it’s a long season ahead. A week to recover now, so should have everybody ready for the trip to Melbourne.”

Feature Image Credit: Central Coast Mariners

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Mitchell Roese
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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