Mariners' second-half curse strikes again

Central Coast Mariners’ second-half capitulation in Saturday’s thrilling clash against Melbourne Victory was another tale of heartbreak for the Gosford club in a season of woe.

Kosta Barbarouses’ 88th-minute goal condemned the Mariners to a 3-2 defeat in front of their home fans, despite pushing the champions all the way.

In fact, Mike Mulvey’s men will feel they should have taken all three points after Andrew Hoole’s duo of stunning free-kicks had them leading 2-0 at the break.

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But – like so many times in the 2018/19 Season – the Mariners were unable to turn a brilliant opening 45 minutes into all three points.

Alarmingly, the Mariners have led at half-time in eight of 17 games this season but have only turned that into one victory.

That’s 16 dropped points from a winning position.

It’s a major reason why the Mariners find themselves languishing at the foot of the ladder and not in the hunt for the top six.

“It’s so disappointing. The first half we dominated for large parts of the game,” a dejected Hoole told Fox Sports post-match.

“Two goals up [and we don’t win]. Every single week it happens and it’s not good enough.”

If the Mariners want to move away from the foot of the ladder, they’ll need to find a solution to their inability to hold onto leads.

Of course, none of that is of concern to Victory, who stayed alive in the hunt for the Premiers’ Plate with a valuable three points.

The introduction of livewire Elvis Kamsoba at the break proved to be the key moment, with the winger setting up Victory’s first goal to kick-start the fightback.

“The coach always tells me to back myself and when you get the chance to take them on, that’s what I did. I got the opportunity and I took it,” Kamsoba said.

“I believe in the team that we are good enough to come back from 2-0 [down].

“The first half we didn’t perform well but we came back second half and we gave it our all.”