Two stunning goals late in the game helped a spirited Central Coast Mariners outfit rally to secure a point from their Hyundai A-League round 6 clash against Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Sunday.
Having fallen to a 2-0 deficit after goals by Mate Dugandzic and Erik Paartalu in the 10th and 53rd minutes respectively, Phil Moss’s men displayed incredible character to find a way to end the match at 2-2.
Indeed, substitute Glen Trifiro reduced the arrears to one with a superb free kick in the 80th minute, before captain courageous John Hutchinson - a foundation Mariner - epitomised the Club’s culture by striking a last-gasp right-footed effort from outside the box beyond Andrew Redmayne to send Central Coast’s travelling contingent, plus the squad, into delirium.
Hutchinson’s leveller was virtually the last kick of the game at AAMI Park, and came on a day when the Club’s Yellow Army and Official Supporters Club had travelled in strong numbers. Moreover, his goal typified the effort, intensity and never say die attitude the Club prides itself on, and must continue to produce as the team seeks to climb the Hyundai A-League ladder.
Following the game Central Coast Mariners Head Coach, Moss, praised his charges for remaining committed and believing in their ability right through until the final whistle.
“There has obviously been a fair bit of mud slung at us over the past few weeks, and the only way to answer that is out on the pitch in the Hyundai A-League,” Moss said.
“Along with our second half performance against Adelaide on Wednesday [in the Westfield FFA Cup], I thought today was a huge step in the right direction, and may even be looked back on as the turning point in our season.”
“We have played some very good football in patches in the first five weeks of the season, but today we demonstrated huge character and passion.”
“I am over the moon for the players, and now they can feed off the adrenalin, positive energy and confidence securing a result like that can bring.”
Moss also made special mention of his senior players, but said that conceding soft goals in defence was something that must be addressed.
“The senior players in our squad have really stood tall over the last few weeks, and they deserve a lot of credit for that,” he explained. “But again today we shipped two soft goals and that’s something that simply has to stop.”
Central Coast Mariners will have the chance to build on their dramatic 2-2 draw with Melbourne City this Wednesday and Sunday. The yellow and navy face Western Sydney Wanderers away mid-week, before hosting Adelaide United at home on Sunday 23 November at 5:00pm.
Melbourne City 2 (Dugandzic 10’, Paartalu 53’)
Central Coast Mariners 2 (Trifiro 80’, Hutchinson 90+4’)
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Substitutes not used: 1. Matt NASH (Gk), 25. Eddy BOSNAR
Yellow cards: Fitzgerald
Red cards: Nil
Melbourne City: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (Gk), 3. Robbie WIELAERT, 5. Erik PAARTALU, 7. Iain RAMSAY, 11. Damien DUFF, 15. David WILLIAMS (26. Marc MARINO 63’), 17. Jason HOFFMAN, 23. Mate DUGANDZIC (14. James BROWN 74’), 24. Patrick KISNORBO (C), 25. Jacob MELLING (18. Paulo RETRE 85’), 28. Liam MILLER
Substitutes not used: 20. Tando VELAPHI (Gk), 27. Ross ARCHIBALD
Yellow cards: Duff, Melling
Red cards: Nil