Mariners' Austin looking for three against City

Central Coast winger Mitch Austin concedes Melbourne City's attacking threat is such that Mariners probably need to score at least three goals to win Sunday's game at AAMI Park - and that is if the visitors defend well.

A-League Rd 19 - Central Coast v Adelaide

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City, mainly through the brilliant playmaking of Aaron Mooy and deadly finishing of Bruno Fornaroli, are capable of scoring multiple goals even when the defence is on its game.

Fornaroli's 17 goals and Mooy's 16 goal assists are both league-leading figures.

Twice already this season, City have beaten the Mariners. It was 3-1 at AAMI Park in round three and 5-1 at Central Coast Stadium in round nine.

City are easily the biggest-scoring team in the competition, with 46 goals in 19 games. Five times they have scored three goals, twice four and twice five.

Central Coast are the worst defensive team in the competition, having conceded 45 goals, but at least their attacking record is not equal to their ladder position of clear last place. They are equal seventh for scoring, with 25 goals.

"Going there and keeping a clean sheet is very difficult," Austin said.

"It would probably be our best performance of the season if we went there and didn't concede at all.

"It's going to be a very tough game. The front three for us are going to have to do very well. We're probably going to have to get more than two goals to try to win it.

"We haven't kept a clean sheet all season, so it's going to be really tough. You've got to have the right mind-set against a team like Melbourne City, you've got to go there thinking 'we're going to achieve something' or you're not going to win.

"Everyone in the team has to play his part defensively. We've still got a couple of days to work on things, so hopefully it will be a positive result for us down there."

City have only played one game this season in which they didn't score, but there is a positive for Mariners in the fact City have also only had one clean sheet.

Austin used last weekend's Melbourne derby as an example of how a team can be on top of City only for City to suddenly tear them apart with one moment of brilliance.

"The first goal from Fornaroli was outstanding, the skill involved in it," Austin said.

"Melbourne Victory were on top until then, but City have got some players who can change the game. Every time City play they seem to notch up two or three goals pretty easily.

"Each time we've played them it's been a high-scoring game and I can't really see it being any different this time, but hopefully we'll be doing most of the scoring for a change.

"We've shown we can do it when we're on our game, like when we played Victory. We easily scored three goals in the first half and they're the reigning champions. Hopefully we can stay strong and get a positive result down there."

Austin, 24. has performed well in his first season in the A-League after playing the first few years of his senior career in the lower leagues in England.

Mariners would need to produce a storming finish in the eight rounds left to avoid finishing last from here, as they are seven points behind ninth-placed Wellington Phoenix, but Austin said there was already reason to be optimistic about next season.

"It obviously hasn't been the best season we could hope for on the pitch, but we've got a really young team and this season has been more a of a rebuilding one for the club," he said.

"It's been about getting younger players in and giving them a start and with that extra experience we should be a pretty good chance of doing well next season. It's been a pretty good learning curve for everyone here."

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4 min read
Published 18 February 2016 at 8:26pm
By Greg Prichard