Moss desperate for defensive improvement

Central Coast Mariners boss Phil Moss says his side has to clean up its act defensively but hopes the spirit shown in the fighting 3-3 draw with Brisbane can swing the momentum of its season.

The Mariners were unable to snap their long winless run at Central Coast Stadium on Saturday but showed all their fighting qualities to come away with a well-deserved point.

Trailing 1-0 at half-time, Moss’ side produced some excellent football after the break to lead twice only to let the visitors off the hook with defensive lapses.

“One of the key areas we’ve been focusing on is concentration and we let ourselves down in that department, there’s no shying away from it,” Moss lamented.

“They probably only had three shots … that’s very disappointing. It’s an area we are focusing on as a squad but we’ll fix it.

“This season every time we make a mistake or concede space in our box it seems to end up in the back of the net. That can be a luck thing or can be a momentum thing.

“I’m hoping now we’ve scored three goals and got some momentum at that end of the pitch but we’ve got to clean our act up at the other end and stop shipping those goals.”

Almost 10,000 fans showed up and saw a first half devoid of any real goalscoring action, with the exception of Jean Carlos Solorzano’s opener.

But it was the total opposite after the break as both sides went for broke, with five goals, end-to-end football and a host of chances.

Asked what changed at half-time, Moss said: “We couldn’t keep the ball in first half. We chased it for a good 25 minutes and that’s because every time we did win it we gave it right back.

“When you play against a team that likes to press you’ve got to invite the press and then be brave to play through the press and not into it. That’s the big difference.”

“I changed (Nick) Fitzgerald and (Matt) Sim at half-time and that enabled us to get outside them and deliver some quality ball into the box and that’s where you score goals.”

Moss singled out skipper John Hutchinson for special praise as well as striker Matt Simon, who scored the Mariners’ second goal – his third in as many games.

Eddy Bosnar – in his first start since November 9 – also impressed and started the home side’s fightback with the opening goal with a powerful header.

“I made the decision to leave him out the last few weeks and I told him before the game I’d be the happiest man in the stadium if he proved me wrong today and he did,” Moss said.

“He had a good game, scored a goal and he was a driving force at the back but ultimately he’s disappointed.

“He came up to me at full-time and said ‘it’s not good enough to ship three goals at home’ and that’s great because it means the players care … and they all do.”

The Mariners are next in action against Western Sydney Wanderers FC at Pirtek Stadium on New Year’s Day.