Central Coast Mariners coach Paul Okon described his team’s performance as “courageous” after playing with 10 men for most of the match, but lamented a defensive switch-off in their 2-1 loss to Melbourne City last night.
City superstar Tim Cahill scored twice to hand the home side a much-needed three points in the 2-1 victory at AAMI Park on Thursday night.
Roy O'Donovan scored the Mariners' equaliser but was red-carded shortly after in a hectic opening 45 minutes.
“We were very courageous to go down to ten men here away against City is always going to be tough,” Okon told Fox Sports.
“We fought hard and had some half moments but it was always going to be difficult once we gave away a what I call it a ‘Mariners Moment’.
“Trying to play out from the back and concede a silly goal. And from then on it’s always be difficult.”
Mariners keeper Paul Izzo was outstanding, continuing his excellent season for Okon's side, as was their central defender Jake McGing.
But Okon, a former Socceroo captain, conceded defending against Tim Cahill is an almost impossible task.
“How can you defend against him? He’s so good when he makes his runs. His timing is good and nine times out of ten he always hits the target,” said the Mariners coach.
“But disappointing to give away that second goal which really cost us.”
As for the first half red card to his key striker Roy O’Donovan, Okon said of any potential review process. “I hope common sense prevails.”
It was a tough night for the Mariners who also arrived at the ground relatively later than usual after being stuck in the traffic around Melbourne's busy sporting precinct.
The Mariners next face Perth Glory at home on January 28.