Crew Update

The month that was…..
Welcome to the second Crew Update for season 14 and apologies for the delay in getting this one out but there has been much going on behind the scenes at the OSC, so the good news is that at least we have plenty to report.

Upcoming events
The OSC Tour of Duty will be a little different this season, as we have decided to select the game against Sydney FC at Kogarah on 4 January. There will be a dedicated OSC bus to take you from Central Coast Leagues Club to Darling Harbour, where you will have the option of visiting the Maritime Museum for lunch and viewing the exhibits there or enjoy your own choice of other nearby attractions. The bus will then take Members on to Kogarah for dinner at the Leagues Club, prior to attending the game. Return bus travel will drop Members back at CCLC after the game. We are planning to have Six Strings brewery beers and soft drinks available on the bus and can also look to organise discounted admission to the Maritime Museum if there are more than 10 Members that are interested in this. Pricing information will be announced soon, once we have been able to finalise discussions with our event partners and we are sure Members will find it to be great value. Numbers will be limited so make sure you book early and as our Emcee will be the infectious Dan, “Dan the Membership Man”, entertainment is guaranteed! Rumour has it that there could also be an on-bus screening of the 2013 Grand Final on the way to the game, just to get everyone in the mood! 
Gone and Bolted
So, since the last update, the Bolt experiment has now run its course, which in some ways is a relief, as the focus can now be firmly on the team itself. It was certainly an interesting period in the Club’s history, which seemingly bought more positives than negatives and it is certain that the Mariners’ brand is now more widely known that it has ever been before. Our Members will no doubt have their own opinions on the benefits or otherwise of the World’s Fastest Man’s time with our club but many will likely wish him well for the positivity he bought with him and it will be interesting to see if he continues his football journey with another club somewhere else in the world. Those that were at the Campbelltown game can at least say they saw him score and then do his renowned celebration and there will be many people to whom he bought pleasure during his time on the Central Coast.
On the pitch
Round 1 saw the team travel north to Suncorp Stadium to face The Aloisi Brothers’ Brisbane Roar outfit, in a tough opening fixture. Our fortunes in the land of Bris Vegas have not been great in recent years and so this game was always likely to be a hard one to get anything from. Given the injuries that plagued our team’s pre-season, added to the number of players signed late in the window, this game was effectively the first time the team had really played together in anger, added to which, there were no less than 9 debutants donning the famous yellow and navy. All in all, the odds were seemingly firmly stacked against our boys but with Magic Mike Mulvey and Monty in our corner, we surely had a chance?
The opening period was fairly cagey with both sides probing and looking for an opening but it was our boys who broke the deadlock with a swift counter attack that stemmed from Tommy H picking up the ball deep in our own half after defusing a Roar attack and playing a deft through ball with the outside of his boot to an onrushing Connor Pain in the inside right channel. This turned the Roar centre backs around and with Papadopoulos backpedalling, Connor cut inside onto his left foot and unleashed a low shot into the corner of the net past a despairing Jamie Young. He almost repeated the feat minutes later but was denied by the inside of the post, after his driven shot took a slight deflection off a Roar defender, leaving Young a very relieved goalkeeper. Despite making such a bright start, the boys seemed to stop playing attacking football, which inevitably invited Brisbane to take the game to us, however, despite being under an increasing amount of pressure, we were able to hold our lead into the break, thanks in large part to Taggart’s nightmares in front of goal.
Whilst the hope was no doubt that the boys would seek to wrest back some control of the game in the second half, the game continued much as the first stanza had finished, with Brisbane dominating possession and forcing us to defend for long periods. It was therefore no surprise when Brisbane seemingly equalised less than 10 minutes after the restart, only for the VAR to chalk it off for a marginal offside in the build-up. That might be the first time the VAR has actually worked in our favour, however, any smugness that might have resulted in quickly vanished when Cissé had a similarly tight offside call rub his maiden A League goal out minutes later. Our luck finally ran out however in the 65th minute, when Taggart finally found his scoring touch to level the game after some pinball play in our penalty area. Despite their increasing dominance, Brisbane weren’t really forcing the issue overly but it was still something of a relief when the final whistle sounded with the precious point still in our hands to bring back with us.
So, with a point to show for our round 1 efforts, round 2 saw Melbourne City’s expensively assembled outfit visit Central Coast Stadium for our first home game of the season. The press made much of this being the first time Ross McCormack and Lachie Wales had each faced their former teams but it was the former that became the main protagonist, when he was Johnny on the Spot to prod home the opening goal after some hectic play in the City penalty area. His celebrations were understandably muted but it was good to see one of our key attackers open his account for the season and will hopefully be the first of many goals during this campaign. Despite City boasting as impressive a roster as any team in the league, our boys looked comfortably in control for large periods of the opening half, with City largely being limited to half chances. That said, we had again seemed to step off the pace after scoring, which was worrying given that this had handed the ascendancy to Brisbane in the previous round but thankfully City seemed unable to take full advantage of this and it remained 1-0 at the break.
No doubt the coaching staff would have impressed the need to continue playing football in the second half but things did not appear to materially improve after the restart for whatever reason. Thankfully City were equally unable or unwilling to grasp the initiative and it looked for all money like we might hang on for a win that no pundit predicted. Alas, it was not to be and City were able to snatch a scrappy equaliser with just five minutes of the half remaining but at least we were able to hold on until full time, as our opponents finally sparked into life at the death.
With 2 points from two games, we welcomed our third-round opponents to CCS in the form of Adelaide United, who were coming off the back of their midweek FFA Cup Final triumph over Sydney FC. Whilst some may have been hoping that we might benefit from a cup hangover effect, a winning team often has the knack of continuing to win, so the pundits were once almost exclusively backing the away team to take the 3 points. With a win in this game being the next objective in the team’s development after two backs to the wall draws, we were all no doubt hoping that the boys would be able to make it difficult for Adelaide. However, they are a well drilled and disciplined side and it unfortunately did not take them long to demonstrate this, with the impressive Goodwin finishing off a swift counter attack in the ninth minute by heading the opening goal after a dangerous cross from Stamatelopoulos, albeit via a deflection off the unfortunate Kye Rowles. Our woes were further compounded seven minutes later after some more deft counter attacking play down our right flank, saw Goodwin return the favour to Stamatelopoulos allowing Adelaide to double their advantage, after some hesitation from Kennedy enabled the ball to be squared for a simple finish. As disappointing as the concession of two goals was, of more concern was our apparent inability to fashion any sort of attacking threat in response. Our only meaningful chances to score both fell to our Captain, whose efforts were unfortunately both wide of the target and it was therefore something of a relief that the scored remained only 2-0 at the break, so that the team could try to regroup during half time.
Disappointingly, our fortunes did not improve significantly after the restart, with Adelaide continuing to enjoy the upper hand in general play and no discernible improvement in our output. 11 minutes after the restart, Adelaide were awarded a free kick some 25 metres from our goal, which Goodwin lined up to take. Whilst the resulting shot was well struck, it was hardly world class and Kennedy appeared to have it covered when the ball inexplicably slipped through both his hands and into the goal, to compound a thoroughly miserable afternoon. Whilst the boys were able to create some half chances in the second half, the reality was that our former keeper was rarely troubled given Adelaide’s relative dominance, Whilst our substitutions did seem to inject some positivity in our play the truth is that Izzo was only forced into making one save of note in the second half in response to a well struck shot from Tommy Oar. It was therefore something of a relief when the final whistle sounded without any further damage having been inflicted on the scoreboard.
Round 4 saw the team travel south to square up against a stuttering Melbourne Victory outfit, who had only notched their own first win of the season the previous weekend at the Jets. With much reflection on the Adelaide result having no doubt taken place, we were all hoping to see a reaction from the team in this game and the boys certainly started brightly enough against another tough opponent, with both teams embracing the contest energetically. As encouraging as the boys’ start was, Victory had already carved out two very scoreable chances when a telegraphed pass from Golec in our defensive third allowed Victory’s marquee man Honda gleefully to seize the ball and drive forward with purpose and to then fire the ball into the corner of Kennedy’s net for the opening goal on 30 minutes. 10 minutes later, Victory had their second goal after some loose possession in midfield allowed our opponents to create a swift counter attack that was deftly finished off by Troisi after an incisive Antonis through ball that we failed to deal with. Salt was well and truly rubbed into our wounds, when Brown was able to sweep the ball home after some hesitant defending in our penalty area on the cusp of half time to make it 3-0 at the break.
We can only imagine what was said in the changing room at half time but the introduction of Hoole and Shabow for Oar and McGlinchey certainly seemed to give the team a lift, with Super Mario pulling a goal back on 62 minutes with a clever backheeled finish. There were chances to get a second goal, which would have made for an interesting run-in but these unfortunately went begging and another disappointing game was capped off when Victory netted a fourth goal after catching us on the break in the 94th minute to seal a 4-1 win and send us home utterly empty-handed.
So, a haul of 2 points, a -6 goal difference and 10th place on the ladder caps off the first four rounds, which is incredibly disappointing on the face of it, especially given our collective hopes for an improvement in the team’s fortunes this time around. As disconcerting as the start to the season may be, the truth is that the team is still a work in progress and we do not yet have all our players fit and available for selection. The challenge may have become a little harder due to our poor start to the campaign but it would be very premature to write our fortunes off any time soon. Hopefully the international break will have allowed the players and the coaching staff to regroup and focus on eliminating the mistakes that are costing the team dearly as well as working on their structures and rotations. It will therefore be very interesting to see how the team lines up and plays against a very strong looking Perth side this weekend but hopefully we will see an improvement over the performances so far and come away with something from the game. That would then give us something to build on for the next home game against Sydney FC on 1 December and hopefully all fans will still be doing their best to get behind the team that afternoon, as the boys need our support now more than ever.
Other news
Don’t forget that our sensational membership offer is still available, where you have the chance to win a Free season 2019/20 Gold Family Mariners membership. This offer is open to any OSC member who joins or renews by 20 December, with the winner to be announced on New Year’s Eve. As if that wasn’t reason enough, any new or renewing members will also receive a free GA ticket each to one home game this season, meaning the cost of your OSC membership is pretty much covered by the value of that alone.
Remember also, that family membership options are also available this season, which saves $10 from the cost of individual memberships and is therefore a great way for you to get your whole ‘crew’ to sign up.
Our unique OSC polo shirts are always available to purchase at every home game, so why not come and see us in Palm Tree Parade to try one on?
We also have our raffle to win a signed 2018/19 shirt, so make sure you get your tickets from us at our new home on Palm Tree Parade before any home game.
Go the Mariners!!