Usain Bolt-less Central Coast Mariners at risk of another disaster A-League season

Comments()
The positive vibes around the Gosford club have quickly vanished in an all too familiar scenario

The last time Central Coast Mariners finished higher than eighth was during the 2013-14 season, when Phil Moss steered the club to third position on the A-League ladder.

Since then the club has picked up two wooden spoons and only won 18 league games in four campaigns - a far cry from the championship and grand final appearance under Graham Arnold between 2010-13.

Vibes have been positive about Central Coast's prospects this season under new coach Mike Mulvey with Usain Bolt bringing publicity to the club and the signings of Ross McCormack and Tommy Oar.

The club even stuck to its guns with Bolt - avoiding to pay him an exhorbitant amount of money to essentially be a marketing tool and a bench player.

But the yellow and blue's season is heading down a familiar road - with a 3-0 home loss against Adelaide United following two meek 1-1 draws against Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City.

There were some positive thoughts about the Mariners' two draws to open the season but the statistics are telling - with Mulvey's side conceding 21 shots against Brisbane and 23 versus City.

However Sunday's performance in front of their home faithful against Adelaide was dire and the warning signs are flashing brighter than ever.

The Reds were coming off lifting the FFA Cup trophy in a tough mid-week match against Sydney FC, but they looked the fresher team as they ran rings around the Mariners and threatened to score whenever they went into attack.

On the contrary, Central Coast barely threatened Paul Izzo's goal, with the aforementioned star acquisition McCormack being hooked on 62 minutes and Oar showing only fleeting glimpses of his quality.

Captain Matt Simon also struggled to have any impact - only winning two of his 15 aerial duels and failing to unsettle the Adelaide defence with his height and strength.

You can understand why Mulvey and the Mariners wanted to bring Simon back to the fold as a leader and clubman, but is the 32-year-old veteran good enough to be starting at A-League level?

Simon has scored only 10 goals in his last 107 A-League appearances for Central Coast and Sydney FC, and while some of these came as a substitute, these are not figures to glorify his form over the past four and a bit seasons.

Matthew Simon - Central Coast Mariners - A-League

How is a striker that doesn't score goals going to improve an attack that only got 28 goals in 27 matches last season, and barely cracked 30 in the two campaigns before?

The Mariners also seem to be playing a counter attacking brand of football, having won less than 40 percent possession in their opening two games.

Does a two-pronged strike force of Simon and McCormack, two players with a lack of pace, fit a team that is playing quickly on the counter?

You don't have to be a tactician to understand McCormack needs the ball at his feet in and around the penalty area, while Simon's strength are aerially in the same areas.

While a midfield of Tom Hiariej, Michael McGlinchey and Aidan O'Neill, who is on loan from Premier League club Burnley, looks solid enough, the players haven't gelled together at all in further worrying signs.

Central Coast come up against Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park this weekend in a match that you don't really expect them to win.

Article continues below

But it's important they put in a positive performance heading into the international break, otherwise another long, fruitless season could be on the cards.

 

 

Next article:
'If Messi doesn't deserve the Ballon d'Or I know nothing about football' – Atletico's Filipe Luis
Next article:
Van Dijk can be the best Premier League defender of all time, says Gillespie
Next article:
Revealed: The Man City youngsters included in squad to face Burton
Next article:
Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus: Goals, assists, results & fixtures in 2018-19
Next article:
Championship play-offs 2019: Fixtures, dates & teams in the race to the Premier League
Close