Skipper sets his goals ahead of Canberra test

It took Alex Wilkinson 91 Hyundai A-League matches to finally break his goalscoring drought, and the Central Coast Mariners captain returns to the scene of his maiden strike this Saturday, with the hope of doubling his tally.

It took Alex Wilkinson 91 Hyundai A-League matches to finally break his goalscoring drought, and the Central Coast Mariners captain returns to the scene of his maiden strike this Saturday, with the hope of doubling his tally.

The Mariners head to Canberra Stadium this Saturday to take on Adelaide United, just under two months after marking the first ever Hyundai A-League match in the city with a 2-1 win over Perth.

Wilkinson, and Matt Simon were the goalscorers on that occasion, and the skipper would love to see history repeat.

"(I scored my) first A-League goal in Canberra which was nice, but I-d take a goal anywhere!

"I was pretty happy about it, so if I can grab another one that would be fantastic, but more importantly it-s a very important game for us after our loss (2-1 to Newcastle) on the weekend, Adelaide are only one point behind us, and after the three bottom teams all won, the table is very tight again," Wilkinson said.

Both sides are coming off the back of losses to their biggest rivals, Adelaide United lost for the eighth successive time against their 2006/07 Grand Final conqueror Melbourne Victory, while the Central Coast succumbed 2-1 to F3 rivals Newcastle Jets.

Wilkinson admits it is tough to reflect on what could have been against their arch-enemy.

"In a way the two goals were both pretty soft in our opinion. Obviously the first goal was a good finish but it probably shouldn-t have got there in the first place, we should have stopped it a lot higher up the pitch. The second one was from a free kick which was pretty lucky, it bounced off a few sets of legs and fell straight to their striker.

"In that regard we-re disappointed, it would have been different if they scored two 30-yard screamers but all in all we-ve been doing quite well defensively so far, so if we can continue that we will be all right.

"The first 20 minutes we were slow out of the blocks and that is what cost us the game. After that we were pretty dominant, especially in the second half they didn-t get in our half much at all, the whole game was played in their half, and while we didn-t create too many chances, but possession wise we knocked the ball around quite well," said Wilkinson.

With just ten points separating first placed Sydney FC and bottom side North Queensland Fury on the Hyundai A-League ladder, Wilkinson is aware of just how important three points will be in the nation-s capital, as his side looks to find some much needed consistency.

"Adelaide is starting to hit a bit of form. They beat Sydney with ten men the week before and last week I think they were a bit unlucky to go 3-1 down against Melbourne.

"It-s going to be a tough game, we usually have pretty close games against them, so we-re looking for a big crowd down in Canberra to come out and support us, and hopefully we grab a win," Wilkinson said.

The Central Coast Mariners take on Adelaide United next Saturday, 31 October at Canberra Stadium, as part of a double header, which also sees the Mariners Westfield W-League side clash with Canberra United. Kick-off in the Westfield W-League game is at 4:15pm, while the Hyundai A-League sides do battle at 7:00pm. Tickets are available online here or by phoning 132 849.

Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season are now on sale by clicking here