Wilkinson: Good start for Mariners

Central Coast captain Alex Wilkinson described the Mariners' first taste of the Asian Champions League as 'reasonable' following a scoreless draw with the Pohang Steelers at Gosford on Wednesday night.

Central Coast captain Alex Wilkinson described the Mariners' first taste of the Asian Champions League as 'reasonable' following a scoreless draw with the Pohang Steelers at Gosford on Wednesday night.

The Mariners created the best chances in the match at Bluetongue Stadium but could not find the back of the net in slippery conditions.

Although relatively happy with the result, Wilkinson said the Mariners would now need to win their remaining home matches to have a chance of qualifying for the competition's knockout stages.

"We wanted to win but it's a solid start," Wilkinson said.

"It would have been great to start with three points at home but a draw is better than a loss. After the way our A-League season finished it's a major step in the right direction."

The Mariners started cautiously but got better as the match went on.

Central Coast thought it should have been awarded a penalty in the 23rd minute when Hyojin Choi appeared to handball in the box.

The penalty claims were waved away but that did not stop the Mariners pushing forward.

Striker Matt Simon had several good chances to open the scoring in the first half but could not hit the target.

The Mariners created less chances in the second half and were called on to defend bravely as the Koreans pushed for a vital away win.

The Steelers' best chance came in second-half injury-time when Choi, who was one of the visitors' best, struck a long-range shot on target, forcing Mariners goalkeeper Danny Vukovic to make a spectacular diving save.

"We can build on that," Mariners coach Lawrie McKinna said.

"We're happy with the draw but perhaps we deserved more."

Steelers coach Sergio Farias said he was 'not really happy with the draw'.

"We didn't show our best performance, I'm not really satisfied with the result," he said.