By the Palm Trees – Central Coast Mariners vs Brisbane Roar

Another week, another performance the coach is proud of but which fell well short of the required level to take away any points. I predicted a narrow loss and for some part of the match last weekend we played like a team who were ‘in the contest’. It wasn’t enough – we failed to convert our few opportunities and then made mistakes which led to the opposition’s best chances – they capitalised on them.

This weekend we’re finally back at home after a series of difficult away trips and we can at least be hopeful that this brings us a chance to show we’re worth of one of the spots for the mediocre which is built into the A-League finals system. Sitting five points behind Melbourne City (6th place) and ten points behind Sydney FC (5th place) we need to start picking up some points or risk being dropped from the field with half the season not yet over and firming as one of the favourites for the wooden spoon.

Today is a big game for the Central Coast on and off the pitch. On it, a win is much needed and off it the fans want to take this opportunity to show the owner that the team needs to stay on the coast via the “Stand Up for the Mariners” campaign. I’m not personally of the view that the issue is something fans can or should be responsible to fix. Personally I think the problem of viability relates more to commercial matters than to crowd numbers. Never the less, anything done to help boost the number of Central Coasties getting to games is more than worthwhile to me. If there is one thing I do represent it’s the people of this area owning their team. Hopefully the weather can be kind enough to stay out of the equation and we’ll see a large crowd of enthusiastic Coasties returning to the team today.

Brisbane sits in 7th place just 3 points ahead of us and has recently picked up points in showing some better form to account for Western Sydney and more recently Adelaide United. It would take a massive turnaround in the goal difference stakes but if we can find a way to make our home ground advantage count, by taking the three points, we continue to keep ourselves in the hunt for that spot. It will be no easy task. While Brisbane are currently struggling with some key injuries they have an excellent record playing in Gosford and our men in yellow will have to turn some of that around if we are to take the points this time.

It was disappointing to see Mickey Neill leaving the pitch early with injury last start because he has been among those showing the way so far this season. A further concern would be whether Nick Montgomery can overcome his calf injury to take part in this fixture. One of the brightest lights since his return from injury this season has been Matty Simon. Looking like much of the player who left us for Korea a few years ago Matty has found his way back to putting away some much needed goals.

Phil Moss indicated he was unhappy with some of the defensive work so it will be more than interesting to see what the loss of Neill and possibly Montgomery means for selections and positioning. It’s no secret that I have been concerned about our current defensive structure so here’s the chance for Mossy to convince me he has it under control with some neat selections. Most of all I hope Mossy can come up with a game plan which has us making some big improvements in the scoring department and right now, how to position others around Matty Simon looks like the key.

While Brisbane do have an excellent record at Central Coast Stadium I’m going to predict a turn in that statistic and a much needed win from our boys. Mariners by one

About Erin Morrow (106 Articles)
Football fanatic and amateur analyst. An over 35′s player and sometimes coach. He does the occasional refereeing. Passionate Central Coast Mariners foundation member. Follow on Twitter: @Erin_Mariner