A stunning opening goal, a penalty save cancelled out and a late strike of the post to nearly win it; the 48th #F3Derby had it all and although his side came out with just a point, Alen Stajcic was buoyed by the team performance of the Mariners on Saturday night.
Milan Djuric gave the Mariners an early lead with a wonderful volleyed effort from Jordan Murray’s cross, but a second half handball gave the Jets a chance from the spot. Mark Birighitti made a huge stop to keep Dimi Petratos out, but upon VAR review the keeper was adjudged to have moved off his line and Petratos made no mistake from the retake.
“I remember asking the question about how pedantic they were going to be about that, so they made a call that he’d come off the line,” Stajcic said.
“I suppose they do it every single time now, if a keeper saves it, every single pen will be retaken.”
“I can’t remember one where they’ve kept their foot on the line but that’s the way it is, that’s the rule.”
Overall though Staj was happy with the performance, naming most of the squad in his post-match press conference for their contribution.
“I could rifle through the whole team,” he said.
“I was really impressed at how resilient and structured we were during those phases where we weren’t controlling the game.
“Danny knows he has to work hard and he got tired probably after 35 minutes and then ended up playing the full 90 and I’m really happy Danny is contributing things on the field.”
“That’s the kind of player we want, that’s why he is starting every week.”
“I thought Matty Millar got in behind us 3 or 4 times in the second half and put some crosses in, I think that was possibly their best outlet tonight - especially in the second half.”
“He’s so quick and powerful that it was still a constant threat but for us I thought our back four was excellent.”
“Kye Rowles tonight was the best I’ve seen him play, just a young player starting to develop and was rarely beaten all night.”
“Foxy and Ruon were good and Giancarlo in the 6 role was pivotal in breaking up all the attacks.”
Stajcic rued the loss of a lead though for the third game in a row, indicating that his side will need to be far more clinical if they are to be a part of the finals.
“Overall I’m pretty pleased but I was thinking you know we are just a little bit away from picking up three points regularly,” he said.
“A couple of critical moments cost us against Adelaide and last week against Western Sydney and then again tonight; we’ve thrown away three leads.”
“I’m pleased with the positions we are getting into but if we are going to be a top six team then we have to execute those moments a bit better.”
“We were very close but it’s just at the key moments we aren’t executing at this present time but when that comes and clicks I think we are going to be a very dangerous prospect for the finals.”
The Mariners now have an extended break before tough away trips to Perth and then Melbourne to take on the Glory and Melbourne City respectively.