McKinna: We probably nullified each other out

Central Coast Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna has paid credit to his troops, after a frustrating 1-nil loss to Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium.

Central Coast Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna has paid credit to his troops, after a frustrating 1-nil loss to Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium.

A 33rd minute free-kick to Brazilian playmaker Cassio proved the difference between the two sides, but McKinna was more worried about his side-s potency in the final third.

"Credit to Adelaide, in the first 15-20 minutes they put us under a bit of pressure, which we knew they would because they had to win to get back in the mix.

"I thought we-d weathered the storm, and then they got the free kick, which hits the bar hits Danny (Vukovic) and goes in. That probably summed up our night, after that I don-t think Danny had to make a save, but then again (Adelaide goalkeeper Eugene) Galekovic didn-t either.

"We had two cleared off the line, but I think we failed at set pieces. You come off after the game and you look at it and say we tried, worked hard, but there wasn-t a lot in the front third where you could say we were unlucky, we created that.

"After Adelaide scored they didn-t create anything, we didn-t create anything, we probably nullified each other out," McKinna said.

Central Coast right-back Brad Porter echoed McKinna-s analysis of a scrappy encounter.

"Like Lawrie said, there was nothing too bad out there. The performance defensively wasn-t too bad.

"We were probably a little bit strung out in the first half, but at the end of the day we-ve lost a game from a set piece. It was a great free-kick and credit to him, but other than that, it was a grind really and maybe a draw would have been a more just result.

"Owusu is a big presence up front, and they look to hit him and het the wide guys running off him which they do quite well, but they didn-t create a lot doing that, we were just unlucky," said Porter.

Ahmad Elrich started in unfamiliar territory on the left side of midfield, replaced by left-footer Dean Heffernan at half time, while McKinna will be sweating on the return of diminutive midfielder Michael McGlinchey, who will be back in the mix for next Saturday-s visit of Gold Coast United to Bluetongue Stadium, following his international debut in New Zealand-s 3-1 friendly win over Jordan.

"We missed Michael (McGlinchy), he-s been working well in there, Michael does that role really well, but he-s going to be away a wee bit and you have to make up for it. Tonight we didn-t create that stuff we have done through the midfield.

"When we broke a few times up the left hand side, which is the area we-ve been doing OK in, Ahmad (Elrich) hasn-t got a natural left foot, so we thought we-d get Heff on and use his pace. That paid a few dividends in the second half," said McKinna.

For the first time since the second round of the 2006/07 season, Nik Mrdja completed 90 minutes and once again showed signs he was rediscovering some of his best form, despite having few chances, McKinna is standing by his forward combination.

"Probably the first time in I don-t know how long!

"Mrdj and Matty Simon worked hard tonight, but credit must go to Iain Fyfe and Mark Rudan, I thought those two did really well and it was a good, physical battle between the lot of them.

"It was physical, but it was played in good spirit. There was a lot of sportsmanship out there when boys went down injured, and that-s the way the game should be played," said McKinna.

One positive is the fact the Mariners have escaped injury free, while both Michael McGlinchey, and possibly Chris Doig, could be in the mix for a Bluetongue Stadium return against the league leaders Gold Coast United.

The Mariners next home match of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season will be against Gold Coast United on Saturday, 19 September. Kick-off is at 7:30pm. Tickets for this match 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.