Central Coast captain Nick Montgomery is delighted with the progress he saw from the Mariners in their slim 1-0 defeat to Sydney FC on Friday night.
The visitors continued to battle after conceding early at Allianz Stadium and might have stolen a point had Jake McGing’s last-gasp shot not been blocked.
Montgomery highlighted that competitiveness as a hallmark of the side’s improvement.
“To come here and give them a game like that, I’m proud of the young players we’ve got,” the 35-year-old told Fox Sports.
“You can see we have come a long way in 12 months. Right at the end we were still going and I think that shows the character of this team.
“All credit to Sydney, they have been brilliant, but I’m really, really proud of the young boys tonight.”
Despite their effort, the lone-goal loss leaves the Mariners five points off the top six having played an extra match.
Montgomery has little intention of giving up the fight for Finals Series football with two fixtures at Central Coast Stadium still to come.
“We’ve got to rely on results elsewhere which is not ideal but we’ve got some winnable games at home,” the former Sheffield United man said.
“We’ll keep going and finish as high as we can.”