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Arnold rues Mariners penalty woes

Central Coast coach Graham Arnold says he will look to appoint a specific penalty taker in the run-up to the A-League finals.

Central Coast coach Graham Arnold says he will look to appoint a specific penalty taker in the run-up to the A-League finals.

The Mariners suffered a 1-0 loss to Western Sydney on Saturday in a match in which Central Coast goalkeeper Mathew Ryan missed a penalty.

The Wanderers’ win, their eighth in succession, came thanks to an 81st-minute goal from substitute Labinot Haliti, which broke the deadlock in an entertaining fixture.

The home side should have been ahead had Ryan nailed his penalty attempt, awarded when the Wanderers’ Dino Kresinger was ruled to have pushed Patrick Zwaanswijk in the back.

However, Ryan, the Mariners’ third different penalty taker in three games, drilled his attempt straight at Wanderers shot-stopper Ante Covic, who managed to trap the ball between his legs for an important save.

The result sees the Mariners relinquish first place to the A-League’s newest team and has left Arnold frustrated at his side’s form from the penalty spot.

The coach was clear where the responsibility lay.

“Senior players … if you have got goal-scorers out there, the goal-scorers should be the ones that want to take it,” he said.

“But it’s probably got to the stage were you have got to designate someone specifically now and he has to take the responsibility that even if he misses he backs up and does the next one. ”

Despite Arnold’s pending change of tactics when it comes to penalties, he was adamant Ryan still has the ability to score from the spot.

“Matty took one in the shoot-out last year in the preliminary final,” he said.

“So it’s not like we are just plucking people out of nowhere.

“Matty was confident to step up and confident to take it. Give him credit for doing that.”

Ryan joined Daniel McBreen and Nick Montgomery in having missed a penalty in the last three games, but Arnold was philosophical.

“These things happen, everyone misses penalties,” he said.

“But it is frustrating we threw three points away in the (AFC) Champions League on Wednesday night and we have thrown three points away tonight as well.”

Despite the result, Arnold wasn’t completely disconsolate.

“Footballing wise, we dominated but we didn’t take our chances,” he said.

“If you don’t take your chances then you cop one up the backside up the other end and that’s what happened.”

Sat 2 March, 2013
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