AN opportunity for Western NSW Mariners FC to lift pressure off their shoulders in their National Premier Leagues 3 relegation battle has slipped by after going down to Granville Rage on Saturday.
In a match with limited scoring chances, and a strong defensive effort from both teams, a goal to the Rage’s Troy Cheung was all that separated the clubs at the final whistle.
A failed Mariners clearance from a corner allowed the Rage to take the lead in the 28th minute.
Mariners couldn’t hit back at Proctor Park and extended their winless run to five games.
Western captain Adam Scimone said it was an ordinary performance from each club.
“It was a real tug-o-war. It was a very defensive game from both sides,” he said.
“We came close on a couple of occasions in the second half but their keeper was on his game.
“These are the games we should be winning before coming across top six teams.”
Scimone is confident his side’s fortunes can turn around with improved player numbers over the coming months.
“We’ve only been going down by a goal or two, so we’re not getting spanked each week, but we’re not doing enough to improve,” he said.
“We had to bring in one of our under 20s boys into our starting 11 after he had already played a solid 60 minutes of football
“Blake Collins was away and Nikki [Spice] and Duncan [Logan] are still out [serving suspensions]. The boys that we’ve brought in are doing well but we’re stuck in a rut that we’re struggling to get out of.
“The good thing is that we’re finding ourselves in the battle for most of our games.”
Mariners currently sit on 95 points in the club championship battle, sitting ahead of Balmain Tigers FC (81) and Rage (75).
Losses for every team – under 18s, 20s and seniors – can result in a 21 point turnaround for a club.
“Thankfully our under 18s and 20s both won so that keeps a bit of pressure off for the moment,” Scimone said.