Mariners still afloat after early thrashing
IT was a crushing way to begin the season, a 5-1 loss to the nearest rivals at home.
But Mariners boss Paul Okon says he has not had to make any emergency repairs to morale ahead of today’s trip to Western Sydney, just “a few little things to improve on” to kickstart their season.
Okon was left frustrated by his team’s defensive lapses against Newcastle last weekend, but insisted his team would quickly correct those “moments that let us down” against a Wanderers side that was hugely impressive in its own first outing.
He will also remind his team of their successes at Spotless Stadium last season, taking four points from two trips to Western Sydney, in the belief they can show the loss to the Jets was an aberration.
“I don’t actually think we played that badly last week, we dominated the game and did a lot of good things with the ball,” Okon said. “We let ourselves down in certain key moments. They cost us the game.
“There were areas we worked on in preseason and we were very happy with them. Defensively we were really good in preseason. We hardly conceded a goal, so to ship five goals was very disappointing, especially in a derby.
“We’ve analysed where we went wrong, everyone understands where we weren’t good enough. But if the overall performance had been poor that would have made it difficult to maintain confidence. We have a few little things to improve on, a few adjustments, and you will see a difference.”
The Wanderers beat Perth 2-1 last Sunday but could have scored more in a commanding performance that Okon said bore the hallmarks of recently departed coach Tony Popovic.
“Their DNA is extremely good – Tony Popovic only just left so not much has changed,” he said. “But the A-League is a funny competition, if you don’t bring it all together on the day any team can beat another.” ADELAIDE United last night stunned Brisbane Roar with two goals at the death to seal a 2-1 come-from-behind ALeague victory.
The Roar looked destined to win after Massimo Maccarone opened his account just eight minutes into his home debut, before John Aloisi’s side seemingly weathered the worst of a second-half storm from the visitors.
But the Reds kept on coming and eventually broke through, with substitute Ryan Kitto equalising in the 88th minute, then Johan Absalonsen scoring the winner in extra time.
Usually it’s Brisbane producing the late heroics at Suncorp Stadium but instead the tables were turned and the Reds have now opened the new season with two consecutive wins.
It was a deserved result after Adelaide wrestled back control of a match that ebbed and flowed with both teams enjoying periods of dominance.
Italian veteran Maccarone got the ball rolling, smashing in his first A-League goal at the back post after he was set up by a Corey Brown cross, much to the delight of the 11,178-strong crowd.
The Roar had an array of chances to make it 2-0 but goalkeeper Paul Izzo made six important saves — snuffing out a dangerous Peter Skapetis break, another Maccarone effort and a rasping shot from substitute Brett Holman.
The 22-year-old made a huge blooper in the 48th minute when he coughed up possession near the six-yard box and was cornered by Maccarone and Nick D’Agostino, but made up for it by blocking back-to-back efforts from the latter to keep Adelaide in the game.