McKinna: “We never looked like losing a goal”

Central Coast Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna has paid tribute to his side’s defensive steel, in the wake of a nil-all draw against Wellington Phoenix in a pre-season trial at Apex Oval, Dubbo.

Central Coast Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna has paid tribute to his side-s defensive steel, in the wake of a nil-all draw against Wellington Phoenix in a pre-season trial at Apex Oval, Dubbo.

The Mariners enjoyed the weight of possession, unlucky not to come away with more to show for their efforts.

"In the first ten minutes they had a bit of possession but didn-t create anything, and over the course of the game we probably had five or six really good chances. Their ‘keeper made a couple of good saves, and it just wasn-t to be again, but we were solid in defence. The only two chances they had really were from set pieces, and apart from that, our shape was good.

"We tired a bit in the second half, which is to be expected, but Adam Kwasnik could have won it with the last kick. He was through one-on-one, but the ‘keeper pulled off a good save.

"They were difficult conditions, and I think considering what the field was like, both teams had a go, moreso us. We created a lot of things, Michael McGlinchey made a lot of good midfield runs in behind the strikers and Hutch and Brad Porter were getting forward. I thought Kwas was outstanding tonight, Dylan Macallister was great, and the boys at the back done a good job. It was another good, solid performance, and another clean sheet. We-ve had three draws and a win against A-League opposition and we-re looking OK. We had a few players missing tonight so in a week and a half we-ll be a bit stronger for the Melbourne game and a bit fitter," said McKinna.

McKinna was full of praise for his entire side, played on a bumpy pitch, in front of a vocal crowd in Central western NSW.

"Dylan has been a bit short of match practice but worked very hard, Kwas tonight was great, he was always a handful for the defence, and they got good support from the midfield four.

"The pleasing thing was we never looked like losing a goal, we were very solid at the back. Chris Doig was strong with Wilko in the middle, and Boogaard and Heff were strong as well," McKinna said.

"The Mariners have now completed their pre-season commitments, finishing with three wins and four draws to be unbeaten in their seven hitouts, meaning confidence is high heading into a blockbusting opening round clash against the defending Champions.

"Going to Melbourne and opening the league is a huge game. There-ll be a big crowd and a great atmosphere as there always is in Melbourne. Last time we played there late in the season we were well in the game for 60 or 70 minutes, missed two chances and got caught a sucker punch with three goals in seven minutes. That-s the quality of their team so we-ll need to be on top of our game, but it-s a great challenge to go down there and get a result first up," McKinna said.

The Mariners Hyundai A-League 2009/10 campaign kicks off on Thursday, 6 August when they take on Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium. Kick-off is at 8pm.

The Mariners first home match of the Hyundai A-League season is against local rival Newcastle Jets on Friday, August 14. Tickets are available online here or by phoning 132 849.

Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season are now available online by clicking here or by phoning 1300 767 442.