For a player who's been on the fringes at the league leaders, Saturday's display by Paulo Retre was very pleasing.
Retre made 92 pass attempts on the night, more than any other player on the park and his equal most ever in a single A-League game as Sydney FC pulled off a 2-1 win in Gosford with a late goal to former Mariner Matt Simon.
Retre was the most influential player on the park along with teammate Milos Ninkovic.
Crucially, though, the 25-year-old signed from Melbourne City provided the assist for both goals.
The first was class; a curling cross that found Ninkovic's head to give the Sky Blues a barely deserved lead in the first half.
The second in stoppage time was somewhat fortunate.
His cross deflected and spiralled wide for Matt Simon to somehow head home a winner, much to the delight of the travelling Cove.
Retre was signed by Graham Arnold in June last year; his versatility, technique and fitness key factors.
At this vital stage of the season with so many games coming thick and fast with ACL and Finals Series, Retre's form and fitness will delight Arnold.
OTHER MATCH FACTS
- Sydney FC have now won four of their last six games against the Mariners at Central Coast Stadium, outscoring Central Coast 15-9 in that span.
- The Mariners have now scored at least one goal in each of their last nine games on home soil; the last time they went on a longer scoring run at home was a 15-game stretch in 2015.
- In games where they’ve led at half-time, Sydney FC extended their winning streak to 24 games; the last time they lost such a fixture was in March 2016 against the Mariners.
- Sydney FC conceded a goal after the 80th minute for the first time in 2018, and the first time since Jack Hingert scored in the 90th minute against them in November last year.