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BY THE PALM TREES

Despite what seemed like another good performance, we still don’t have our first win of the season. It’s tough because this was probably our best effort yet. It was also our fourth time taking the lead only to lose or finish in a stalemate.

Victory started the match well and almost went ahead within seconds via Mark Milligan’s unfettered entry into our box before his shot was stopped by Tom Glover. Not too much later a thumping header from Thomas Deng threatened to break Tom Glover’s left hand post. Although our boys showed glimpses of their capabilities our passing and crossing in the final third was letting us down and it looked like we might be in for a long night. As it turned out we eased our way into the game with our smart and enterprising play and despite a few nervous moments where we turned the ball over cheaply in dangerous areas, we probably put in our best defensive effort to date – heading into the sheds at half time with a clean sheet.

In the second half we continued to improve and our dominance eventually led to Connor Pain finishing a cracking strike in Lawrence Thomas’ net. But it was short lived. Less than 10 minutes later Victory were even thanks to the Mariners giving away a free kick in a dangerous area followed by an amazing strike from Victory’s Dutch import – Leroy George.

I’m not going to harp about the #VAR too much this week (no amount of procedural improvement will convince me) or the stadium screen (my definition of New Screen Coming Soon is clearly different to that of Central Coast Council since it will soon be 8 weeks with poor and temporary arrangements) or even our beloved pitch. In fact, the pitch, while still not quite back to perfect, was definitely improved since round 1. Hopefully it will be its best condition when we return there next week.

This weekend we head to Brisbane, at the only time so far this season that they have shown any kind of form. They’re currently sitting at the bottom of the table and aside from their three goal come back in Wellington last weekend, there has been little to like about their form. Our recent record of both wins away and against Brisbane shows history is probably against us, but we our improvement in the last few weeks and the way we have been going about it suggests we are due to break through. With injuries among their back four and defensive areas recently, Brisbane have struggled to field the same players in their defence, so whoever is available for them will need to be right on their game.

From my point of view, it’s frustrating that we haven’t been able to collect the points that I think our efforts have sometimes deserved. But there is only room for one statistic when it comes to measuring success. The table doesn’t lie. We’re near the bottom of it and winless because so far we have not been effective enough at our game plan to earn enough points. I’m very satisfied with the way we’re going about it and many of our other statistics tell a story that if are becoming more proficient at the plan and that if we can improve enough, we could become quite a dominant team in this competition. Maybe this weekend is the time when we put it together for a full ninety minutes and reward the fans. Given we face Sydney FC and Adelaide (two of the more form teams at the moment) on consecutive weeks, we won’t be getting a better opportunity to get the “monkey off our back” and score our first three points anytime soon.

I’ve tipped us to get our first confidence building win of the season .

About Erin Morrow (103 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