Sounds pretty simple, right?
Central Coast Mariners’ defeat against Melbourne Victory in Gosford on Saturday was the second time this season the struggling side has jumped to a 2-0 lead but lost the match 3-2.
It happened earlier this season against Wellington Phoenix. The Mariners were unable to shut up shop and things were made far tougher by Kye Rowles’ sending off at Westpac Stadium.
But this time around, Mike Mulvey’s men had 11 able men on the pitch and could not hold on, pegged back by goals from James Troisi, Kosta Barbarouses and a bizarre Ben Kennedy own goal.
The loss left more questions for Mulvey in a season where there have been more of those than answers, and with just another problem to solve on the training ground during the week.
All up, it was the ninth time this season Central Coast have dropped a lead to either draw or lose matches.
Winger Andrew Hoole, who put the Mariners into a cushy 2-0 lead with a pair of delightful free kicks, said the solution to their inability to hang onto the lead was a simple case of “common sense”.
Hoole wants to see his Mariners teammates continue to advance up the pitch rather than recoil into a defensive shell.
“I think we can take positives from the matches, especially the first halves … there’s a little bit of a gap where we need to be better in the second halves,” Hoole said.
“I think if we do that, we’ll win games 110%. 2-0 up twice now and being beaten in the second half … it’s a focus and mentality thing.
“Going up and thinking ‘if they get one goal, here we go again’… we just need to stay strong and make sure that we don’t give them a sniff back into the game.
“If you’re 2-0 up in the second half, you need to keep putting pressure on them. Attack is the best form of defence as they say.
“That’s only common sense and if we can do that, we keep them up the other side of the park and they don’t come near our goal.
“That’s common sense and we need to make sure that happens.”
The Mariners still have just one win to their name this campaign, a 2-1 triumph over Melbourne City in January.
Central Coast have a golden opportunity to bring up win number two on Saturday when they visit the out of form Western Sydney Wanderers.
The Wanderers themselves will be chasing just their third win of the season, one of which came against the Mariners at Spotless Stadium, Saturday’s venue.
That was their most recent win too, all the way back on 7 December.
Markus Babbel’s men have conceded 11 goals in just three weeks.