Slumping to the bottom of the Hyundai A-League table is not concerning Central Coast coach Tony Walmsley.
The Mariners replaced Perth Glory at the foot of the league after a 2-1 loss to Kenny Lowe’s side at nib Stadium on Saturday night.
Central Coast has not won since the opening round of the season and Saturday night’s match-up against an undermanned Perth appeared the Mariners’ best chance of breaking their horror losing streak.
Roy O’Donovan broke his four-game scoring drought to put the Mariners ahead after 28 minutes, but Glory playmaker Nebojsa Marinkovic netted a two-minute brace midway through the second half to snatch victory from Central Coast’s grasp.
“It’s an opportunity missed,” Walmsley said post-match.
“I can cop the mistakes, but if we’d been better with the ball, looked for it more and been moving it quicker, we wouldn’t have been in those situations (which led to Marinkovic scoring twice) in the first place.
“The reality is we’ve been so close in so many games that they have to find it within themselves to just break through whatever it is that’s holding them back…and it won’t be until we get those breakthrough moments for that confidence and moral to start to grow again.
“It’s a tough league and they need to grow and they need to grow quickly, so they can grab hold of these opportunities that they’ve been given and become the players we know they can be.”
Walmsley was equally unconcerned about the mindset of his players after a ninth straight match without tasting victory.
“I’m not worried 10 weeks in that moral might be a bit low, I’m actually challenged by it,” Walmsley said.
“The real message is there’s still 17 games to go with loads of points available. You win three games in succession or three games on the bounce – which obviously we haven’t done but we’ll be aiming to – you can be right back in the mix.
“I hurt for the fans, I hurt for the players that this is where we are sitting, but from a coaching perspective we were two soft goals away from a result tonight…we shot ourselves in the foot.
“The belief that I’ve got in the group, once that transfers into their heads and they take that and grow with it, is when we’ll start to get results and the really qualities they’ve got will start to show through.”
Mariners captain Nick Montgomery is in some doubt for next Sunday’s home clash with Brisbane Roar after being substituted with a hamstring complaint.