Mariners got out of jail

Central Coast coach Graham Arnold believes his side got out of jail by producing a late equaliser in Sunday's 1-1 draw with Perth Glory.

Central Coast coach Graham Arnold believes his side got out of jail by producing a late equaliser in Sunday's 1-1 draw with Perth Glory.

The Glory had taken the lead in the fourth-minute through a deflected Josh Mitchell strike and, despite some intense Mariners' pressure in the second half, looked set to hold on to the advantage.

That was until a controversial 87th-minute equaliser from defender Patrick Zwaanswijk, which saw a Glory player heavily impeded in the build-up, allowed the visitors to leave nib Stadium with a share of the spoils.

The result was a far cry from Central Coast's 5-0 thrashing of second-last Perth in late October, but Arnold was happy to take it.

"We didn't play our best game, but I'm over the moon with the character of the players," said Arnold.

"I think Perth played very well today. They were sharper, you can tell they had the week off last week and they were fresh in the legs and the minds."

"It was very, very warm," he added.

"Obviously Sydney hasn't been anywhere near that hot for all year, we've probably been, what 23 degrees all the time, come across and play in 35, it knocked us about a bit."

"Some of the boys were really fatigued, they weren't their normal selves."

"But the character of the players was first class and they never give up."

Arnold admitted he'd been forced to gamble in sending Zwaanswijk forward.

"We took the risk," he said. "We went man on man at the back and put big Zwaanswijk up front for the last seven or eight minutes and it worked, he got the equaliser, so from that side of it we're happy."

Mariners skipper Alex Wilkinson said there still hadn't been much celebrating in the rooms after the draw, especially as the side has only won one of its last five games.

"The boys are a bit down, pretty disappointed about how we played as a whole," Wilkinson said.

"Look, we're happy to get out of jail at the end there with a draw."

"I mean we came up against a team today who were fresh and playing for their season I think and it showed."

"They were great and moved the ball quite well, especially when we started off quite sloppy in the first half, giving away too much possession and gifting them too much time on the ball."

"They made us pay, but credit to our boys, we're a team that will always fight every week whether were playing well or not and tonight it paid off."