CHASING a one goal deficit for more than 50 minutes, the Western NSW Mariners looked as though composure would get the best of them at Mudgee on Saturday.
But a moment of clarity in the 88th minute from Mariners substitute Ricky Guihot changed that storyline, seeing the home side finish 1-1 with Hawkesbury City.
Minutes after being subbed on to Glen Willow Regional Sports Stadium, Guihot was the eventual receiver of an Adam Scimone cross from the Mariners’ right-hand wing. An experienced Mariners campaigner, Guihot kept his cool to smash the equalising shot.
Western NSW Mariners coach, Andrew Fearnley, said he was glad Guihot was on the mark in the game’s final minutes.
“Ricky is an experienced player,” Fearnley said.
“I said to him before he went on that he had to be in the middle of the park and get into good positions but stay up near the front. I think he took it well. He was experienced enough to take a touch, stay composed and nail it.”
Guihot’s substitution for midfielder John Henry was part of a tactical ploy by the Mariners that also saw fullback John Rimmer move into the forwards.
After the goal Orange’s Rimmer quickly resumed his position at the back to help hold on for the draw.
The Mariners and Hawkesbury City had limited opportunities to put each other away in a match that saw plenty of pressure on key play makers.
Hawkesbury landed its cruel blow mid-way through the first half when Henry made a passing error in the centre.
The turnover saw Western on the back foot and, working a two-on-one advantage, Paul Cooper slotted home for the visitors.
“It was a bit disappointing to concede early because we lost possession and turned it over and they punished us. The first 20 minutes were ordinary but the second 20 minutes of the first half we stepped up,” Fearnley said.
“The second half was much, much better. It was good to get at least a point - if we jagged something else we get three [points].
“In last week’s game we scored first and went on whereas in this game we were trying to chase our tails and had to have that urgency. We were probably a little bit desperate too early.
“I think we were more willing to try and win the game than they were. Hawkesbury were trying to hold on [to their lead]. Two weeks now with points so that’s a positive.”