Central Coast skipper John Hutchinson has described his side’s first-half showing as “unacceptable” as the Mariners were bundled out of the Westfield FFA Cup by Adelaide United on Wednesday night.
The Reds set up the semi-final win with a dominant first half, totally out-playing a lacklustre Mariners side with goals to Sergio Cirio and Awer Mabil making it 2-0 at the break.
While the Mariners were much better in the second half and eventually went down 3-2, Hutchinson was disappointed with his side’s lack of quality in the first 45 minutes.
“The second half was good but that first half was unacceptable,” a clearly shattered Hutchinson told Fox Sports.
“It doesn’t matter how many changes we made to the team from the weekend, for a Mariners team to play like that in the first half was not good enough.
“We conceded two goals we should have kept out. (But) If we can turn our season around with that second half it would be nice.”
Coach Phil Moss threw caution to the wind at the break, brining on both Matt Simon and Anthony Caceres for the ineffective Malike Mane and Kim Seung-yong.
And the pair combined to drag the Mariners back into the contest, Simon scoring just three minutes after the re-start for his first goal after a lengthy lay-off with injury.
It appeared all the momentum was with the visitors until Simon was forced off just 10 minutes later with a quad injury.
“He’s been chomping at the bit to get a gig up front and I’m really disappointed he got injured,” Hutchinson said of Simon.
“He came on and showed his qualities. He epitomises the Mariners culture and what we’re all about.
“He’s full of hard work and makes it uncomfortable for opposition players. We need to lift and stay united and make sure we fight for the cause.”The Mariners, who have now lost four matches in a row in all competitions, travel to Melbourne to take on a resurgent City on Sunday afternoon.