Matt Simon and his Central Coast teammates are fired up for Sunday’s cellar-dweller clash against Brisbane Roar - and the Mariners skipper has revealed the reason behind the team's change of fortunes.
Mike Mulvey's men recorded their maiden victory of the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Season in a 2-1 triumph against Melbourne City on Wednesday night.
And Simon admits it was the support of their most dedicated supporter, Jake Banks, who was a key source of inspiration.
- Main image courtesy of Central Coast Mariners
“Banksy came in the day before the game and lifted everyone’s spirits,” Simon said.
“He had a bit of a rough Christmas and was in hospital for a few weeks, so he just let us know.
“Everyone gives him all the time that he needs to address the team, and everyone takes on board what he’s got to say. It’s great to have him around the club.”
Unsatisfied with breaking their 327-day drought, the 10th-placed Mariners are ready to strike against an opponent whose last win came in November.
“[Wednesday’s result was] huge for the club. But it’s the first win we’ve got so we have to build on things and make sure we back it up on Sunday Night.”
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Simon played a major role in the memorable midweek victory, firing home the rebound of his own penalty to score the decisive goal in the dying minutes.
“I was confident stepping up, I scored one in the previous week against Wellington," the club captain said.
“I thought [Melbourne City keeper Eugene Galekovic] might have been watching where I went the week before, so I just tried to give it as much power as possible because there’s always a better chance of it going in, and luckily enough the ball bounced straight back towards me and I was able to put it in.”
Despite a 10-match losing streak and no wins from their Hyundai A-League 2018/19 campaign before Wednesday, the Gosford-based outfit can climb off the bottom rung of the ladder at the Roar’s expense with three points at home on Sunday night.
Simon – who turns 33 on Tuesday – understands the importance of this weekend’s match-up.
“It was a huge result the other night, but it doesn’t really mean anything if we don’t back it up on Sunday," he said.
“We just have to concentrate on what we’re trying to do in each game, it’s all about game management.
“But we go in confident; the belief’s back in the camp.”