The sadness behind Sydney's loss

Sydney's loss to the Mariners was tinged with grief, but also frustration at the Sky Blues' inability to control the game.

The sight of Socceroos striker Alex Brosque in The Cove on Sunday afternoon spoke volumes.

The Shimizu S-Pulse star was in Sydney for a family wedding after a stellar first season in Japanese football thrust him back into Socceroos contention.

He could have watched the game on television with family and friends, but instead the former Sydney FC hero stood with the fans who once adored him.

And well might he have paid tribute because the The Cove-s ranks were thinner by one after the death of inaugural member William Duran.

The man affectionally known as “Dogga” passed away after a long illness and was remembered in a touching tribute before kick-off of the clash between his beloved Sydney FC and local rivals Central Coast Mariners.

The emotion surrounding the match was palpable, so it-s a shame Sydney FC seemed to switch off as soon as the match got under way.

They were asleep when Oliver Bozanic rifled home with less than 10 minutes gone and the viewing didn-t get much better for the Sky Blues faithful.

They-ve now witnessed three defeats in a row and it-s a frustrating state of affairs for a club that has tried hard to reconnect with fans.

New CEO Dirk Melton has worked diligently to maintain communication with supporters but his efforts to grow the fanbase have been hampered by results on the pitch.

Speculation surrounding the future of coach Vitezslav Lavicka hasn-t helped, with the Czech tactician rumoured to be mulling over a move back to his homeland.

Add to that the struggles of marquee man Brett Emerton to influence proceedings and wins have been few and far between for the club from the harbour city.

Emerton has scored just twice - from a free-kick and penalty - since returning to the Hyundai A-League from English Premier League outfit Blackburn Rovers.

He was aided by the return of mercurial playmaker Nicky Carle on Sunday but neither man managed to break down a well-marshalled Mariners defence.

How Lavicka must wish he had a central defensive pairing as reliable as Alex Wilkinson and Patrick Zwaanswijk, given that Sydney FC have conceded 12 goals in their last five games.

Coincidentally, Central Coast have now gone a club record 12 games unbeaten and the Gosford side look an increasingly tough prospect to stop in the race to the premiership plate.

Now eight points clear of second-placed Brisbane Roar with a game in hand, it will take a Herculean effort to dislodge Graham Arnold-s team from the top of the table.

That shouldn-t stop the chasing pack from trying and despite their recent poor form, Sydney FC will hope to maintain a steady course towards the finals.

They-ve still got high-profile fixtures away at Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory to come and they end their premiership campaign with a home clash against the Newcastle Jets.

If the players are short of inspiration they need only look towards the stands, where Sydney FC-s most loyal supporters fly the flag for the team irrespective of results.

The respect is mutual if former fan favourite Brosque-s appearance is anything to go by, with players clearly appreciative of the efforts of fans.

But on an emotional day for the club and its supporters, Sydney FC-s latest loss was no doubt tinged with added sadness as the Sky Blues plunged to yet another frustrating home defeat.