Central Coast Mariners lost their second consecutive Hyundai A-League match 2-0 away to Sydney FC on Sunday.
The yellow and navy were undone by sloppily defended goals to Sky Blues duo Terry Antonis and Sasa Ognenovski – both from set pieces – in the 21st and 25th minutes respectively.
First, Terry Antonis was left free on the edge of the area – the youngster was found direct from a corner, then cracked a well placed shot from range beyond Mariners custodian Matt Nash.
Just five minutes later Graham Arnold’s team doubled their advantage when Milos Dimitrijevic sent an effort at goal after he too was left unmarked outside the box. The Serbian’s strike took a touch off Ognenovski, wrong-footing Nash before nestling in the back of the net.
Central Coast Mariners were not without chances of their own in the encounter. Indeed, just before Ognenovski’s strike the yellow and navy’s skipper, John Hutchinson, had a header desperately cleared off the line by Sydney defender Seb Ryall.
Mitchell Duke also went close for the Mariners throughout the game. The pacey 23-year-old will feel he could have done better in the 39th minute when he headed direct at Sydney ‘keeper Vedran Janjetovic from close range.
Just after the hour mark Duke rattled the cross bar with a stinging volley, before Nash produced some outstanding goalkeeping to deny Dimitrijevic’s curling strike.
The Mariners were awarded a penalty when Eddy Bosnar was dragged down in the area in the 88th minute, however Janjetovic parried Duke’s spot kick before claiming a follow up effort from substitute Kim Seung-yong.
So, there was to be no late comeback, and the Mariners were ultimately made to venture back to Gosford with no Hyundai A-League competition points added to their credit.
Still, the Club’s Head Coach Phil Moss is sure his side are growing as a unit.
“To concede two set pieces, you just can’t afford that at this level,” Moss said post game. “If you look at our last two games against Wellington and now Sydney, we’ve conceded four goals that are so avoidable, and that’s an area that we need to fix.”
“On the positive side I think we played some positive football in patches today, and I think those patches are getting more frequent and we are starting to play football the way I want my team to play.”
“If you look at the chances that we created … we had ample chances to win a game of football,” he said.
Central Coast Mariners will look to return to the Hyundai A-League winner’s list when the Club hosts Perth Glory on Sunday 9 November at Central Coast Stadium, Gosford. Kick-off next Sunday is at 5:00pm, with tickets available at Ticketek.
Sydney FC 2 (Antonis 21’, Ognenovski 26’)
Central Coast Mariners FC 0
Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Referee: Strebre DELOVSKI
Central Coast Mariners FC: 1. Matt NASH (Gk), 2. Storm ROUX, 3. Josh ROSE, 4. Jacob POSCOLIERO, 7. John HUTCHINSON (C), 9. Mitchell DUKE, 10. Anthony CACERES, 14. Malick MANÉ (11. Nick FITZGERALD 59’), 15. Matt SIM (8. Nick MONTGOMERY 80’), 18. Glen TRIFIRO (26. KIM Seung-yong 73’), 25. Eddy BOSNAR
Substitutes not used: 30. Adam PEARCE (Gk), 5. Zac ANDERSON
Yellow cards: Bosnar
Red cards: Nil
Substitutes not used: 1. Ivan NECEVSKI (Gk), 4. Pedj BOJIC
Yellow cards: Abbas, Ryall
Red cards: Nil