Saturday, November 04, 2006


Making the Numbers Count - update

Lawrie McKinna must be a worried man at the moment. He was unsparing in his criticism of his team last night, when they failed to score against nine men in the second half, while allowing Danny Allsopp an equalizer in the final minutes of normal time.

It is not the first time a numerical advantage has been more of a curse than a blessing for the Mariners this season. Against Newcastle recently, McKinna’s side lost the plot after Paul Okon was sent off for tripping a goal-bound Adam Kwasnik; they soon conceded a goal, and in fact should have conceded a penalty as well.

Apart from demonstrating that Vuko Tomasevic simply should not be playing in defence, what last night’s game appeared to indicate was that the Mariners are uncomfortable playing with a numerical advantage.

I feel – and this is mere speculation – that the Mariners may have taken their “underdog” status too much to heart.

The constant message we received last year from both the media and McKinna was that this was a club without “stars”, who relied on hard work, good organization and collective spirit (perhaps a significant word, that last one, given the provenance of most of the original Mariners players).

All true, of course. And the horrible sequence of injuries they suffered last season made their eventual achievement in reaching the grand final all the more impressive. McKinna has much to be proud of.

But such a reputation can have an effect on the players’ mentality, and the “thriving in adversity” tag that the Mariners have attracted perhaps engenders a sense of confusion when they suddenly become the favourites.

That’s about the only explanation I can offer for the team’s listless performance in the second half last night, and their meek surrender to Newcastle in the derby a few weeks ago.

hi mike, yeah what can you say..the debate rages over at the ccm forum,and the head of spenny is (again) being called for. It is a disturbing trend, and whats worse, a mind thing. "we" can pull apart any team on "our" day, but go ahead too early, and a panic sets in...the game has us ccm fans going schitzo too, cheering the first half, and wailing about the second. Melbourne could win this comp with nine men if they wanted too. May I just give a plug to the radio coverage, both sen, coastfm and all the other radio stations put out a great service, reminds me of listening to frank hyde as a kid.The last five minutes of the adelaide/newcastle game on (adelaide) was just unbelievable to listen to! Anyone who cant afford foxtel, try the radio/webcast!
It's the sort of situation in which they need their captain to give them a kick up the arse and set them straight. Spencer, however, simply isn't doing that this season. Gumprecht, even though he's not the captain, gives them a good kick up the arse and leading so it's yet another reason why they're missing him.

That said, I don't think it was just a case of confusion for the Mariners in the second half last night. For mine, they also appeared to settle for a one goal lead against nine men, looking to wind down the clock by keeping possession in the opposition half. Of course, they really should've looked to put on another one or two goals. I mean, one of their specialties are players breaking forward from midfield, but they didn't do it! Well actually they did, right at the end when they were desperate to score and Mrdja backheeled through the Victory defence to McMaster, and it gave them their best chance of the second half.

Along with the team, I think McKinna's a bit green in these situations too. He coached a struggling Northern Spirit team in the NSL and had to get through an awful lot with the Mariners last season. He's a bright, attentive coach though, so I expect these "confusion" matters to be growing pains for him as a coach in the long-run.
They spread the ball wide but ever so slowly, it should have been quicker & more often from touchline to touchline to stretch and run Melbourne. It was so slow that Melbourne could slide from side to side in cover.

That said CCM also didn't get to the goal line enough and were putting insufficient balls in from further out than ideal, playing into Melbourne's hands. It needed someone to take it by the balls, quicken the tempo a little and use the extra men effectively.
..."It needed someone to take it by the balls, quicken the tempo a little and use the extra men effectively."

As I said, Gumprecht.
Perhaps Melbourne players and crowd deserve a little credit?
"Perhaps Melbourne players and crowd deserve a little credit?"

No question about that.
..."Perhaps Melbourne players and crowd deserve a little credit?"

No question about that....

Absolutely no denying that, but eleven professional footballers should be able to pick off a nine-man team of roughly the same standard (I know Melbourne have stepped up a gear this year, but they're hardly in a different league from the Coasties).

Good point you make about spreading the ball wide, too, Gilby...I find this is a very common problem for teams that go a man up. You've got to stretch the opposition quickly and often to make the nuerical advantage count, IMO.
Its time to give Melbourne some credit. They deserve it. They could easily have scored two more goals in the second half alone.

As ever the Melbourne fans were great, more than 28,000 of them.
And the CC deserve some credit too, for being the first team to put three past MV in Melbourne in the A-League, and doing so inside the first 23 minutes and when MV still had 11 players (effectively anyway, in the case of their third goal).

Sorry, but it just seems to me like the Mariners have received nothing but criticism in A-League fan/media circles for their performance when they gave a compelling match a fair share of its best moments. Not that it makes up for their second half, but you would think that they lost an entire match while two players up throughout judging simply by the post-match reaction.
"And the CC deserve some credit too"

Agreed in the first half they were very competitive, more competitive (against Melbourne) than Sydney in Sydney for example.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?