Simon had a ‘good pair’ to lead Mariners, says Mulvey

Central Coast Mariners head coach Mike Mulvey has sung the praise of Matt Simon after his captain inspired the Gosford chargers to a 2-1 victory over Melbourne City on Wednesday night. 

Simon scored late from the spot to seal the Mariners’ maiden win of the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Season, a just reward for his weekly contribution to the side. 

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Mulvey lauded Simon’s input to the team, praising the striker’s character and consistency. 

“Matt is a driving force,” said Mulvey.

“We brought him back to this club to provide leadership on-field as well as off-field. 

“You’ve got to have a good pair to be able to get up and take a penalty in the last couple of minutes, and he did that and all power to him.”

While Simon has led from the front — both literally and spiritually — throughout the 2018/19 Season, Mulvey insisted Wednesday night’s result was the fruition of a collective effort. 

Further back, the return of Tom Hiariej in the middle and Tommy Oar out wide have added some steal and spark to the Mariners at a crucial point in their season. 

Collectively, the pair had missed a total of nine matches due to their respective calf and knee injuries.

“You look at Tommy (Hiariej) and Tommy Oar, as well, they’ve had an injury-plagued season,” said Mulvey. 

“The preseason was not as you would have hoped, and it’s meant that we’ve had to bide our times with getting them on the field. 

“I’m not one for singling out individuals, but those two put in great shifts in the last two games.”

And what a difference 90 minutes can make — from looking to avoid unwanted history, the Mariners are now seeking to scrape themselves off the bottom of the ladder and build some momentum. 

While they may be 17 points out from a top-six finish, consecutive wins for the Mariners could see them climb as high as eighth and in proximity of seventh-placed Newcastle Jets. 

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“All through the last eight or 10 weeks, we’ve been talking about believing and persevering,” said Mulvey.

“Perseverance is a very strong thing to have in your armour and we’ve shown that in spades, we’ve persevered.

“Now we need to prove we can go on and do it again.

“We need to be in their face very early on in the game on Sunday and nothing less than that performance we showed against Sydney, against Wellington, and then against Melbourne City — nothing else is acceptable.”