Central Coast Mariners coach Phil Moss says a period of sloppy defending and some poor refereeing were behind his side’s 2-0 loss to Adelaide United in Gosford on Sunday.
The game was evenly balanced after 35 minutes, with the Mariners enjoying more shots on goal while possession stats were near 50-50, but a quick-fire double from Pablo Sanchez put the visitors into an unassailable lead shortly before half-time.
“I thought the first 40 (minutes) we gave as good as we got and it was two sloppy minutes of defending,” Moss said after the match.
“Two inexcusable goals we gave away and that gave us a mountain to climb and clearly that mountain was too high in the second half.”
There were eight yellow cards shown in the game – two of them to Nick Montgomery – which Moss said was far too high.
“There were some key decisions that didn’t go our way today and I thought Montgomery’s red card was harsh.
“Particularly the first yellow he was dished out and there’s a fair case for certain referees in this league to be a bit card-happy and we certainly saw that today.”
Later in the second half, Anthony Caceres went down in the box under the challenge of a couple of defenders and goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic, but the referee waved play-on to the disgust of the Gosford crowd.
“Then there’s a massive decision on Anthony Caceres for a penalty at 2-0 down and 2-1 if we score it and anywhere else on the pitch it’s a foul so I can’t for the life of me work out why it wasn’t given in that instance,” said Moss.
The coach also played down a heated exchange between himself and captain John Hutchinson, who was taken off in the 64th minute, saying it was simply a show of passion in the heat of the moment.
“Emotions were running high, we were frustrated and ‘Hutch’ is a 10-year servant of this club and captain of the football team and he was frustrated.
“I love that about Hutch – that he’s emotional, that he cares.
“It wasn’t the time or the place, but that will be dealt with in-house and it needs to be ironed out quick-smart and I’ve already had a chat to Hutch and the staff about it.
“Under my watch I demand respect and discipline from everyone and that will be reinforced this week.”