McKinna: Two points dropped

Central Coast Mariners coach Lawrie McKinna said his team missed a great chance to start to the Hyundai A-League with successive wins after drawing against Newcastle at Gosford on Friday night.

Central Coast Mariners coach Lawrie McKinna said his team missed a great chance to start to the Hyundai A-League with successive wins after drawing against Newcastle at Gosford on Friday night.

The Mariners needed a 50th minute header from defender Nigel Boogaard to secure a 1-1 draw after dominating the first half at Bluetongue Stadium.

"After the first half I think it was two points dropped," McKinna said.

"We head enough chances in the first half to win the game. Then early in the second half we gave away a sloppy goal."

"You can never switch off in this league and that's what we did."

"Credit to the guys we hit back straight away and then I thought we'd go on and win it."

The Mariners went into the season under enormous pressure to perform after a horror end to last season.

McKinna was hoping to follow up a first round victory against Melbourne with a home win.

"We could have been on six points but four is not too bad," he said.

Newcastle coach Branko Culina was happy with the result after changing things at half-time.

Veteran Ljubo Milicevic was pushed to midfield and his composure in the centre of the field was a key factor in the match.

"The second half was a far better performance," Culina said.

"Central Coast was a far better team in the first half and caused us a lot of problems."

"We've shown a lot of character to comeback and get something from the match - that's a good sign."