Mariners upbeat despite Olympic loss

Central Coast coach Phil Moss said the Mariners played some of their best football of the pre-season despite falling 3-1 to NSW NPL outfit Sydney Olympic on Tuesday night.

In their last friendly hit out before the A-League season kicks off, the Gosford outfit slumped to a surprising loss at Pluim Park in Lisarow.

The match was scoreless at half-time but Yianni Spyrakis, Dimi Hatzimouratzis, Christopher Godoy-Bascur shot the visitors to a 3-0 lead after the break before Matt Sim clawed one back for the Mariners 20 minutes from time.

It was certainly not the result the FFA Cup quarter-finalists were looking for on the eve of the 2014-15 season, but Moss said his men remained on track for the F3 derby in the opening round.

“It sounds strange given the scoreline, but I thought we played some of the best football that we’ve played in pre-season given what we went out there to do,” Moss told post-match.

 “I am not happy with the result, of course, but I am happy with the process with players sticking to the way that we want to play.

“Some of the football was very easy on the eye, and we threatened their goal on numerous occasions – I thought we could have been 3-0 up by half time.

“Their keeper kept them in the game first half, (John) Hutchinson hit the post, (Nick) Fitzgerald had a great chance, Malick Mané had a great chance, and I think Malick looked threatening every time he went forward.

“It was just some sloppy moments in defence in the second half, particularly from set pieces, that I am not happy with. That’s something that we’ll be tightening up before Newcastle at home in round one, and our transition to defence needs to tighten up a bit too.”

Until Tuesday night’s loss the Mariners have looked solid throughout pre-season, notching up draws against fellow A-League clubs Melbourne City, Brisbane Roar and Newcastle Jets.

Moss said there were plenty of positives to take away from the clash.

“At the end of the day we lost the game at both ends of the field tonight,” he said.

“If we had taken our chances it would have been over by half time and if we hadn’t defended so sloppily at set pieces, they wouldn’t have scored.

“So it was one of those games, but there’s certainly a lot to take out of it moving forward.”