Mariners fear for their record

Central Coast Mariners coach Lawrie McKinna fears bogey man Archie Thompson has the form to spoil his A-League side’s outstanding defensive record.

The Mariners have conceded just eight goals in their 13 matches so far, and only once given up multiple goals.

But McKinna acknowledges it will be a huge challenge to keep that record intact against free-scoring Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium tonight, with striker Thompson the big danger.

He has scored a remarkable nine times in 12 games against the Mariners, and McKinna believes the fringe Socceroo is in career-best touch.

“We kept him quiet in the last game, but Archie’s got a great scoring record against us,” McKinna said.

“... I thought his name would have been in the Socceroos squad this week.

“He’s everywhere, he’s not just a striker, he pops up wide, he drops deep to get the ball, for defenders marking Archie’s a nightmare.

“Obviously you get Carlos (Hernandez) popping up with goals ... he delivers passes and sets things up as well.

“They’ve got a solid team ... but definitely Archie is the one to watch and to me he’s at the top of his game at the moment.”

Despite losing 2-0 to the Mariners in their season-opener at the same venue, Victory coach Ernie Merrick was confident his side could unlock the visitors’ defence, with Mate Dugandzic, a new and exciting player to complement Thompson, currently at his best.

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