The enforced change in midfield did not fluster the Mariners, with coach Graham Arnold delighted with the way his side reacted to the switch
|By HAMISH NEAL
Central Coast Mariners coach Graham Arnold praised the adaptability of his team, particularly the midfield, after their 2-1 win over Adelaide at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday.
Midfielder Nick Montgomery's 76th-minute strike capped off a comeback win for the Gosford outfit, which moved top of the A-League.
Montgomery - a veteran of 352 league games for English side Sheffield United - and captain John Hutchinson have provided the anchor in midfield, allowing players like Tomas Rogic to flourish this season.
Arnold praised the duo, who shielded young central defensive pairing Zac Anderson and Trent Sainsbury against the Reds.
"Monty is fitting in very well with Hutchinson beside him so I'm very pleased with both of them," he said.
"The experience that the two – Hutch and Monty – give in front of two youngsters in Zac Anderson and Trent Sainsbury is invaluable. I'm very happy with the whole team."
The absence of midfield maestro Rogic, on Socceroos duty, was no problem for the Mariners, as New Zealand international Michael McGlinchey provided a more than adequate back-up in the No.10 role.
"McGlinchey – that is the first time he has played No.10 with us and I thought he was excellent in the first half," Arnold said.
"It's a different role for him and having luxury of been able to bring Oli Bozanic back in on that left hand side [was good].
"We do a lot of practice in our attacking sessions of trying to get a lot of players familiar in different positions so if that type of thing happens, especially with only a three-man bench, that they are all familiar with their roles."Reds coach John Kosmina, meanwhile, rued the errors that led to his side's loss.
"All in all some of the football wasn't too bad," Kosmina said.
"But we made some silly mistakes and let the Mariners get the three points. It's probably one we will look at and say it got away.
"We had good opportunities to take control of the game and we did at stages, but we didn't keep control of it.
"We got caught on a counterattack [for Nick Montgomery's winner]. We were in a good attacking situation and we got done on the break, we still had enough bodies there to keep the ball."
The 56-year-old praised the performance of goalkeeper Paul Izzo, who replaced Eugene Galekovic - called up for Australia - between the sticks.
"It was a big step up for him. He was good early on," Kosmina said of Izzo.
"He was aggressive. He attacked the ball in the air. He dropped it but he came down on top of somebody and he recovered. His kicking was up and down but for a 17-year-old kid I think he did a great job."