Monty’s midweek update: Round 25

Central Coast Mariners head coach Nick Montgomery was extremely pleased with the side’s performance on the weekend, as the team drew 1-all with Premiers Melbourne City. 

Played in front of over 10,000 fans in what was our last home game of the regular season, the Mariners held firm against the league leaders in one of the matches of the A-League season. 

“I thought both defences showed a lot of desperation at times and both goalkeepers were outstanding on the night. Danny Vukovic was outstanding and Tommy Glover, you are talking point blank saves,” he said. 

“If anything, I thought we had more point-blank efforts, especially in the second half. Between Moresche’s header and Jason’s header, we just lacked that final pass in the box and execution in the end, but they could probably say the same thing.

“It could have been four-all, five-all or one team could have nicked it at the end with a bit of luck, but the point was deserved for both teams.”

Montgomery was impressed with the heart and determination showed by the Mariners throughout the entire 90 minutes. The performance a pleasing one heading towards what is shaping to be an incredible finals series. 

“I’m just really proud of the boys and I thought we matched them toe-to-toe and by the end of the game, I thought we were going stronger than them. If we had gone into extra time, I think we’d have gone on to win the game,” he said. 

“By the end of the match both sets of players were out on their feet and I thought that was a testament to the effort that everybody put in.”

One particular play that demonstrated the Mariners signature ‘Won’t Back Down’ attitude was Brian Kaltak’s brilliant sprint back after City hit the Central Coast on the counter. Montgomery was impressed with the entire squad, especially the way that they played for each other in a tough fixture.  

“That is a part of the way that we play. You have to track back and especially against a team like Melbourne City you have to react straight away and get numbers behind the ball. Brian has been outstanding this season, another example of the top athlete that he is,” Montgomery said. 

“He is world class standard, he really is and it is amazing that he’s 29 playing his first year of professional football. He has a massive future ahead of him right now, he is developing at a rapid rate. The way that he and Nectar have martialled the backline, I can’t faulter any of the players. They are playing for each other and everybody saw that.”

It was an incredible spectacle on the weekend, with the match against Melbourne City played out in front of over 10,000 amazing Mariners fans. Montgomery enjoyed the atmosphere that the game had, excited to hopefully see even more Mariners fans come finals time. 

“The atmosphere and the fans on the weekend were amazing. Even the Melbourne City players commented on what an atmosphere it was. It is a beautiful stadium but it is even more beautiful when you have 10 or 15 thousand in there,” he said. 

“Hopefully we can get near that 15,000 for the home final. For the people of the Central Coast, even if you don’t like football you are supporting the only team on the Central Coast. Hopefully we can get a good crowd up at Newcastle this weekend and come the home final, hopefully we can fill the stadium because I think if there is any time that people can get behind it’s only professional sports team it is now.”

The Mariners now turn their attention to a massive F3 Derby clash against Newcastle Jets this weekend, with three important points on the line. A win will see the Central Coast Mariners’ aim of a top two finish come down to a final round blockbuster against Adelaide United, while also making a serious dent in the final hopes of the Jets. 

“It’s a derby game and they’re fighting for their lives. They need to win and I think it is massive achievement for us as a club that with three games to go we’re locked into finals and with two games to go we will have a home final. We want to win every game so you know that the pressure will be on them, they have to win the game,” he said. 

“We obviously want to win the game as well, we want to chase for that second spot. I think I’ve heard a few words come out of their camp at the minute, but talk is cheap. It’ll be a tough game on the weekend for both teams, but we’ll go there ready to fight and ready to try and get three points.”