Arnold backs Ryan despite howler

Central Coast coach Graham Arnold has backed teenage goalkeeper Matt Ryan to move on from his howler against Melbourne Heart on Friday night.

Central Coast coach Graham Arnold has backed teenage goalkeeper Matt Ryan to move on from his howler against Melbourne Heart on Friday night.

Ryan, one of the country's brightest young talents, had a moment he will never forget when he badly misjudged a speculative free-kick by Heart defender Matthew Thompson.

The ball skidded off a wet AAMI Park surface caused by torrential rain in Melbourne and over the head of the 18-year-old, who scrambled back towards his own goal-line, only to palm the ball into the net.

Speaking after the match, Arnold defended the teenage custodian.

"You guys will focus on the mistake, but I'll also focus on the good saves he did make," Arnold said.

"He's a kid, he's 18 years of age and he'll learn from it. He has had a wonderful season with 11 clean sheets and he'll get over it (because) he's got strong character."

"It won-t bother him."

The goal saw Heart go 1-0 up in the 49th minute, but less than 60 seconds later the score was level when striker Daniel McBreen scored his fifth goal of the A-League season at the second attempt.

Heart custodian Clint Bolton denied McBreen's initial volley, but the well-travelled striker kept a cool head to tuck away the equaliser that resulted in a well-earned point according to the coach.

"That's the character and mentality of the team, we've done that many times. Against Sydney we were 2-0 down at halftime and got back to 2-2 after 58 minutes," Arnold said.

"These guys have got great character to bounce back, you wish they wouldn't concede the goals first, they like testing themselves."

"I thought we were the better side, we had the better chances and were the more likely team to score, but it wasn't an easy surface to play on - wet and fast - I'm happy with the point."

The draw means the Mariners are now four points clear of Adelaide United, but the Reds can cut the deficit back to one with a win against Wellington Phoenix on Saturday night.

It also resulted in the Brisbane Roar securing the Premiers Plate without needing to kick a ball this weekend, something that Arnold touched upon.

"I'm very, very proud of our boys. Brisbane have had a great year, (but) it has taken a team that lost just one game and gone 23 unbeaten to beat us," Arnold said.

"Sydney FC last year - 27 games they won the league with 48-49 points, 27 games this year we had 50 or 51. It's taken a red-hot Brisbane team to beat us and I-m extremely proud of where we are at."

"We'll get on with it, two games to go and seal that second spot. That point tonight helps a lot."

Arnold, like his Heart counterpart John van ‘t Schip, said that 82 minute delay to the kick-off caused by a heavy downpour which lashed the Victorian capital, didn't ever dampen his side's wish to play the match.

"We were keen to play as well because we have a game against Gold Coast on Wednesday night away," Arnold said.

"Mentally it was difficult for the players who had to warm up three or four times, they kept getting the message that they (match officials) would look at the field at 10 past eight, half-past eight then 10 to nine."

But the Mariners didn't escape their trip to Melbourne unscathed with striker Matt Simon coming off after just 35 minutes with what appears to be a medial ligament injury in his knee.

Arnold is hopeful Simon will be fit to return before the club's finals campaign begins.

"It doesn't look too good - probably a couple of weeks, (but) the positive with Simmo is that he recovers from his injuries quickly, he's a fit boy," Arnold said.