Central Coast Mariners skipper John Hutchinson has lavished praise on goalkeeper Liam Reddy and attacking midfielder Glen Trifiro for their contributions to Sunday’s dramatic 2-2 draw against Melbourne City at AAMI Park.
Down 2-0 with just ten minutes of regulation time to play, Trifiro bent a sublime free kick beyond Andrew Redmayne to get the Mariners back into the contest, before Hutchinson himself scored the equaliser with the last chance of the encounter with a right foot rocket from outside the box.
Earlier in the match, Reddy produced a series of stunning saves to keep the scoreline in reach for the Mariners – his interventions ultimately proving vital to the final score.
Side-stepping any praise for his own heroics, Hutchinson instead said that the duo of Reddy and Trifiro made the difference in the game, and explained that the team’s celebration following his equaliser proved that the Mariners are very much a united force heading into Wednesday’s Hyundai A-League clash against Western Sydney Wanderers at Parramatta’s Pirtek Stadium.
“We spoke about unity, coming together and fighting for each other and for me Trifiro’s goal summed that up,” Hutchinson said. “It was a great free kick.”
“He’s [Trifiro] been practicing and he deserved his goal, because when he came on he was fantastic. He changed the game for us and gave us a bit more in attack.”
“It’s so good having a ‘keeper behind you that you know can pull off the big saves,” Hutchinson added regarding Reddy. “He’s a big boy and he’s a great character in the change room, and he’s doing wonders for us.”
“Before he [Reddy] signed for us he was ready to quit, then he came here and he saw what the Club was all about and that the players actually like each other and want to fight and win for each other.”
“’Rocket’ kept us in the game, and the boys went on and showed some fight.”
On his goal, Hutchinson said: “I don’t remember much about my goal – I just swung my leg at it and hoped that it hit the back of the net. But it was probably one of the best reactions from a team for a celebration. It’s proven the critics and the people that say we’re not a united team wrong – it dispels the rumours and shows that we are one team.”
“The only thing that I can promise the fans is that we are united and we will be united and fight to the end of every game, and try and win as many as we can.”
Hutchinson has already been involved in many epic encounters against the Wanderers – not least the Mariners’ 2013 Championship triumph over the red-blacks – so he knows only too well that his men face a tough test in Parramatta on Wednesday despite Tony Popovic’s team having yet to register a win in the league this season.
“It’s going to be a tough game,” Hutchinson said. “They haven’t won a game but they are a fantastic team, they’re Asian Champions and they have wonderful players.”
“[Tony] Popovic has done an amazing job there, they’re a big Club and they’ve got a lot of tradition in such a small period of time.”
“But if we execute our game plan right, and with a bit of confidence from the weekend, hopefully we can knock them off,” he said.
Hutchinson recognises that tightening up at the back will be critical to the yellow and navy’s hopes of defeating Wanderers on Wednesday, and again on Sunday when the Mariners welcome Adelaide United to Gosford.
But shutting down the opposition is not merely the responsibility of the backline and goalkeeper according to Hutchinson – every man must earn his keep in the defending department.
“It’s disappointing we’ve conceded a number of goals from set pieces – I don’t think we’ve conceded so many from set pieces in five years,” he said. “But we have to work together – it’s not one person’s fault, it’s the whole team. We’ll have a good look at it, make sure that we’re comfortable doing what we’re doing, and try to stop conceding silly goals.”
Kick-off against Western Sydney Wanderers on Wednesday is at 7:30pm, while the Club hosts Josep Gombau’s Reds at 5:00pm on Sunday 23 November.