A shell-shocked Paul Okon admitted his team “weren’t at their best” after they lost 2-1 to Brisbane Roar at home on Saturday night.
It all went wrong for the goal shy Mariners in a game that was overshadowed by a horror stoppage time tackle by Wout Brama on Roar’s substitute striker Corey Gameiro.
Despite some good moments throughout the season – the Mariners are the only team to beat league leaders Sydney FC – the Gosford outfit is now winless in the past nine games and sit three points adrift off the top six.
A dejected Okon said post-match: “We weren’t at our best tonight I think that was obvious. We had some moments, certainly again giving away those goals was extremely disappointing.
“We need to concede less and score more I guess – simple. We’re aware that we need to do better. We’ve had some good performances in recent week.
“We’ve matched up against probably four teams in the top four, lost to Newcastle after dominating the whole game before the red card.
“And the other three games against Sydney, Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory we’re really disappointed that we didn’t get more points to show for it.
“We’ll keep working hard I guess. We’ve got a tough game at home next week against the Wanderers. We’ve got a couple of boys missing so opportunities for other players.
“We’ll keep fighting I guess.”
Watching it all unfold from the stands was one of the team’s better performers this season, Andrew Hoole, but Okon said there was no mystery to his omission from the team sheet.
“No just not selected,” he said.
Trent’s (Buhagiar) been training well, Lachy’s (Lachlan Wales) been doing great, Daniel (De Silva) was back in so, no particular reason just not selected.”
The coach later approached the Roar striker to talk which Brisbane boss, John Aloisi, shrugged off as a “heat of the moment” exchange.
Okon, who has been highly critical of the VAR in the past, said of the tackle: “I wasn’t able to see the replay.
“I saw yellow card being shown and then obviously the referee making the VAR signal with his hand and then reversing the decision with a red card.
“You can’t argue with the VAR. So I’ll just go by that until I can actually see the incident again.”