Fresh off the back of an important F3 Derby win last weekend, Central Coast Mariners head coach Nick Montgomery is eager for our massive final game of the regular season against Adelaide United.
The victory over the Jets left us in third at the conclusion of the round, with second place well and truly up for grabs. Our final positioning heading into the finals will be fully dependant on Friday’s result.
Montgomery is excited by the nature of this upcoming game, with the side deservedly fighting it out for the top spots on the Isuzu UTE A-League ladder.
“In football you want to be in big games and games that have meaning. For it to go down to the last game of the season and for it to have as much meaning as it does, we have all fought really hard to put ourselves in that position,” he said.
“We have got good form heading into the finals series with one game to go in the league and everything to play for.”
Looking back to last weekend’s F3 Derby, the head coach was pleased with the composure shown by the side after the Jets grabbed an early lead. After 20 minutes of action the Mariners took control, with Montgomery happy to have secured three vital points away from home.
“I’m really happy with the result. It was important for both teams, they were fighting for their life to have a chance to get in the playoffs and we are still fighting for the second spot. On reflection it was a massive three points for us and for the fans. It’s a massive one for the fans to get the piece of concrete, the F3 and bring it back to the training grounds,” he said.
“We didn’t start as well as we should have done and as we could have done. Things happen and we composed ourselves, I think they put up a fight for 20 minutes and after that I thought it was pretty much one way traffic.
“They looked to catch us on the counterattack, and we had control of the game. Just disappointed we didn’t score more goals because the second half with the man advantage that we had, we had so many chances, but we just didn’t really kill off the game. Three points, three goals and we move on.”
Montgomery was especially pleased with the incredible support that Mariners fans have shown the side over the entire season, but especially the past two matches.
“The support was amazing. And I know that the club had a big push of really getting behind the team and they’ve done that this year,” Montgomery said.
“For the Melbourne game getting ten thousand plus, then to go to Newcastle and almost get ten thousand. It was a massive effort from both sets of fans and was a fantastic game.”
Looking ahead to Adelaide and Montgomery is prepared for what will be a tough battle. With high stakes and what is expected to be a vocal South Australian crowd, he believes that the side are ready for match.
“We know Adelaide are a very good team. They’re very good at home, there’s going to be another good crowd. Hopefully that experience for the last couple of games with the crowd, we can take that into this game against Adelaide,” he said.
“It’s going to be a fantastic game. We know that they want to win the game. We want to win the game. I think both teams are going to go out to win the game. They had a fantastic last-minute equaliser in the 99th minute against Perth so no doubt that took a lot out of them as well.
“And then they’ll travel back, and we’ll travel there on Thursday. It’s going to be a fantastic last round, there’s quite a few games that have got a lot of meaning. But for us we just focus on the game as normal. We go there and try to win the game.”