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Glory unlucky against Mariners: Coyne

Perth Glory assistant coach Chris Coyne believes his team would have held on to beat the Central Coast Mariners on Saturday night if not for a controversial penalty.

A brace for returning star Salim Khelifi gave the Glory a comfortable 2-0 lead against the second placed Mariners, but a pair of spot kicks scored by Socceroo Jason Cummings pulled back a 2-2 draw for the visitors.

The Glory felt hard done by with the first penalty, given for a handball off defender Johnny Koutroumbis, with referee Adam Kersey initially waving play on before reversing the decision after consulting with the video assistant referee.

Coyne said the call changed the momentum of the game.

“Having had the advantage of retrospect and being able to watch the game back, I still can’t work out how that first one’s a penalty,” Coyne told Sports Drive.

“I’ve been in the game a long, long time now, and I still don’t know how, one, it’s a clear and obvious mistake that the referee's made, I don’t get that. Secondly, how the player’s arm is in an unnatural [position] or he’s making himself bigger to stop the shot on goal.

“It gave them the belief they needed to push on and I think if the penalty’s not awarded … I think we were very comfortable.”

While the comeback condemned the Glory to their third draw in four games, the team sits only four points out of the last finals place after a much improved showing since the World Cup break, having only lost once at their temporary home of Macedonia Park.

Coyne said home ground advantage was important but he was also confident in the team’s ability to play on the road.

“From a sort of holistic outlook, I think from where we were at the start of the season as a group, I think we’ve taken massive leaps. I think we’ve gelled together, I think the synergy within the group, the understanding of what Ruben and myself are asking them to do, I think that’s starting to come together,” he said.

“When we start looking at the league table, playing the first five (games) or so away from home probably didn’t give us the start that would’ve helped.

“I know it’s going to sound cliché, if we can just keep a clean sheet and keep a couple of individual errors out of our game, I think we can go anywhere at the moment and we’ve got the resilience and the resolve and the ability.”

The Glory’s next assignment comes against Brisbane on Sunday in the Roar’s first game since the sacking of coach Warren Moon, with Coyne saying they weren’t sure what to expect.

“Previously you’ve got a bit of data and you’ve got your analysis where you can go ‘right, this is what they’ve been doing, this is how they look to play’, new coach comes in, we don’t know what formation they’re going to play,” he said.

“I think we’ve just got to stick to our principles, I think we’ve got to stick to our beliefs, and I think the next 48 hours on the training track are going to be very around what we do and what we control.

“We just have to make sure that in our way of playing and making sure the players understand exactly what it is we want from them and give them a very clear game plan to go out there and get the three points.”

The Glory are on the road for three of their next four fixtures and will head to Ballarat to take on Western United after the Brisbane game.

IMAGE: Perth Glory Twitter.

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