Although it was a scoreless draw in Wellington on Sunday between the Wellington Phoenix and Central Coast Mariners, both coaches seemed to be happy with the result, especially Phoenix boss Ricki Herbert whose focus was on keeping a clean sheet.
After two losses and conceding seven goals in those matches, Herbert wanted a sound defensive performance from his men and was pleased with the end result.
Speaking to the A-League’s official website, Herbert said, “Today was real heart on the sleeve stuff, about getting back to basics again and being competitive…it’s given us a platform to start from.
“Obviously, we’ve come into the match after conceding seven goals in two games, but we’ve got decent players at the back and tonight we were a lot hungrier right across the park.”
On the other hand, the Mariners had been in rich goal scoring form leading into this week’s match but couldn’t get past the resilience of the Phoenix defenders despite having numerous chances.
Mariners coach Lawrie McKinna was happy to get a point from a notoriously dangerous trip over the Bass Strait and he too was content with his side keeping a clean sheet.
“I thought we dominated long periods of the match and looked composed all over the park,” McKinna said.
“I’m happy with a point, but a little disappointed that we didn’t get three. It’s a good result to come over here and also to keep our first clean sheet of the season.”
Late in the match, the home side came extremely close to scoring but for the brilliance of Mariners keeper Mark Bosnich who made a superb reaction save from a shot from inside the area, turning back the clock to his days in the English Premier League.