Missed chances cost Mariners

Central Coast coach Laurie McKinna was left to rue missed chances after his side crashed to its third defeat in a row following Brisbane Roar's stunning 3-2 victory in Gosford on Saturday.

Central Coast coach Laurie McKinna was left to rue missed chances after his side crashed to its third defeat in a row following Brisbane Roar's stunning 3-2 victory in Gosford on Saturday.

After coming back from two goals down to 2-2, a sucker-punch goal in time added on by Roar's Matt McKay left McKinna speechless and his team desperately hanging on to its spot in the top six.

"A few weeks ago we're getting one or two chances and taking them and winning games, now we're getting more chances and we're not taking them. We're not even hitting the target and you can't do that at this level," he said.

McKinna hinted that two of his fringe strikers in Dylan Macallister and Nik Mrdja may get a run this Wednesday in the clash with Sydney at the SFS.

Substitute Macallister scored minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute and Mrdja hit a brace in the youth team earlier in the day.

Skipper Alex Wilkinson cut a forlorn figure after the game. It was his header out of defence that resulted in McKay's stunning winner. And he wasn't about to blame his team-mates.

"I called for it, so I headed it out. If (keeper) Danny (Vukovic) wants it he'll call for it and come for it. It was no issue. We've just got to react better to win that second ball," he said.

"The first 20 minute's probably cost us the game."

After three losses on the trot McKinna said it was time for the team to show its character. And its next test comes up on Wednesday night against the Sky Blues at the SFS.

"I'm confident we can pick ourselves up. I'm sure we will but that's three games in a row we could've won. We've butchered potentially nine points in three games," he said.

"But credit to the team, we came back and we were confident we could go on and win it. But a free-kick, a good delivery, good pressure on the ball but no anticipation to where that ball's going to go. And Matty McKay anticipated it and scored a great goal."

"Football's a hard game sometimes."