Central Coast coach Phil Moss says his players can draw on their dramatic late equaliser against Melbourne City for confidence during the campaign ahead.
The Mariners struck twice in the last 11 minutes at AAMI Park, John Hutchinson's long-range equaliser in the 94th minute sealing a dramatic comeback from 2-0 down to secure a point in a 2-2 draw.
That broke a sequence of four successive losses in all competitions for the team from Gosford.
And while the results have not there so far in 2014-15, judging by the wild celebrations between the Mariners players and staff when the captain's speculative strike hit the back the net, there is certainly no shortage of unity in the squad.
"We've got to bottle it and keep it in the kit bag for later in the season," Moss said when asked about the very public show of solidarity.
"It's not belief, it's just that confidence to score goals and grind out results.
"Hutch is in there right now being drug tested because he scored with his right foot from outside the box. Great to see the boys have such enjoyment on their faces at full-time."
Moss has found himself under considerable scrutiny as the 2012-13 champions opened their campaign in lacklustre fashion, but the boss feels Sunday's battling draw will go some way to silencing the doubters.
"The only way to answer scurrilous rumours and those who want to use us as an easy punching bag because we've had a few poor results, the only way to answer that is out on the pitch," he said.
"They (the critics) don't come to training every day and see how happy the boys are.
"It's laughable, some of the stuff that's been written about us."
With a crunch match away to Western Sydney coming up on Wednesday night, Moss insisted a top-six finish and finals berth remains the Mariners' bare minimum for a pass mark this season.
"I've got no doubt this team has the makings of being very successful," he said.
"How quickly? Only time will tell."
Hutchinson's memorable goal follows hot on the heels of a television program going behind the scenes at the Mariners' Terrigal training base, where an elaborate system of punishment for spurious transgressions was revealed, intended to raise money for the team's end-of-season trip.
Asked if a new fine would be introduced to penalise overly enthusiastic celebrations, Moss joked: "No and if there is a fine for that, then I'll pay it."comments