Central Coast Mariners coach Phil Moss feels his side finally got the reward their hard work and desire deserves after their drought-breaking win over Melbourne City on Sunday.
After last getting a victory back in round one in October, the Mariners ended their 12-game winless streak with a well-earned 2-0 win at Central Coast Stadium.
“It’s an accumulation of belief and desire and confidence,” an ecstatic Moss said.
“Last week was a real turning point for us at home to score three goals (against Brisbane). It gave us the confidence to know we can score goals and I thought we were threatening just about every time we went forward tonight.
“I have to give full credit to the senior players for keeping the dressing room together after a long spell without a win. I’m over the moon for all the players and staff as well.
“I keep saying we’re on the same page and working hard every day and that’s the reward that you get.
“But let’s not get carried away, it’s only a win. It’s four points from six to start the New Year and it’s a sign that this year, 2015 is going to be a better year than the end of 2014.”
While the home side didn’t have a bad player, Mitchell Duke was the Mariners’ hero.
Back in his preferred striking position for the injured Matt Simon, Duke tormented the City defence throughout and bagged both goals in the first half with powerful strikes.
The hard-running striker was also involved in the other big talking point in the match when he was cleaned up by City goal-keeper Tando Velaphi when chasing a through-ball, seeing the gloveman shown a straight red card, while Duke was forced off injured.
“He’s got a cork from about his hip down to his ankle so he’s not good,” Moss said of Duke’s injury.
“It’s very lucky we got a break now. He was very brave to go in the way he did and for me it was a 100 percent red card.
“It just goes to show we’ve got players who are prepared to run through brick walls and put their bodies on the line.
“It was a great performance from Dukey and I’m so happy to see him get a couple of goals.”
Moss also dedicated the win to Central Coast’s former boxing world champion Troy Waters, who has been battling Acute Myeloid Leukaemia but came and addressed the squad before the match.
“He has just been through a terrible time with his family with cancer and he just got out of hospital with bone marrow,” Moss explained.
“He came in the dressing room just before kickoff and gave the boys a few words of encouragement and I really do think that sent them out there with a bit of extra inspiration.”