Central Coast’s Mitch Austin cut a dejected figure after his team’s 5-1 loss to Melbourne City on Thursday with the winger rueing poor defensive work by the Mariners as the side slide to another loss.
A rampant City heaped more misery on the Mariners to run out convincing 5-1 winners in Gosford on Thursday night to move to fourth on the ladder.
Striker Harry Novillo scored a double and Bruno Fornaroli edged ahead in the golden boot standings, while Stefan Mauk and Aaron Mooy late also found the back of the net for the visitors.
Austin, who won then took the home side’s only goal of the game in Gosford late on, said there was massive improvement needed at both ends of the park.
“We need to start picking points up really soon. We just gifted goals. We need to shore up at the back, which is costing us every week," Austin told ABC Radio.
“And obviously we need to start scoring more goals.”
The Mariners could end up in second last spot after this round if either Perth or Adelaide win on Sunday when they meet at Coopers.
Austin said the home side had a good first half before City crushed their hopes with a dominant second half display.
“I thought we were really in it in the first half. Roy [O’Donovan] had two one-on-ones which maybe he should’ve finished.
“I had one in the second half I should have put away too.”
The Mariners played on Sunday and with the short turnaround Austin sensed the players were a little flat physically.
“The boys put a big shift in on Sunday and I’d not trained for two weeks so I was struggling a lot in the second half too.
“But it’s not really an excuse. We need to start winning games.”
The Mariners now must regroup for a visit to Perth next week on Saturday December 12.
Coach Tony Walmsley said after the game: "I can’t defend a 5-1 defeat at home, but what I will say is I fully defend this group of players."