After his eye-catching display in their impressive 2-2 draw with Melbourne City, Mariners winger Trent Buhagiar says his side will be even better in 2017.
The Mariners saw in 2016 by going agonisingly close to defeating City in Gosford, after the hosts came back to lead 2-1 with just five minutes of regulation time left.
A famous victory was on the cards, but a defensive lapse resulted in a penalty in the 90th minute, coolly converted by Bruno Fornaroli spared the blushes of City and put a dampener on the party atmosphere inside Central Coast Stadium.
Overall, though, despite result, the Mariners took plenty of positives out of a game played just 72-hours after their disappointing 4-1 loss to Victory in Melbourne.
“It was tough backing up, it was a hard game against Victory,” Buhagiar told Fox Sports.
“But the performance today was really good and hopefully we can carry that onto next year.”
Buhagiar epitomised the spirit of the Mariners in front of over 11,000 fans in New Year's Eve party mode.
The 18-year-old was a constant outlet down the wing and, crucially, he had end product to match his good lead up work.
Buhagiar’s equaliser was a rifled shot that angled in past Dean Bouzanis while his superb assist for Roy O’Donovan’s second goal was inch-perfect.
His man of the match display ended a fabulous week for the teenage Mariner after he scored his first A-League goal in that loss to Victory.
“It was a good point for us, and hopefully we can get more points next year. We were in it to the final whistle but sometimes it doesn’t go our way,” Buhagiar added.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Mariners, though, with Sydney FC next up in Gosford on Sunday January 8.