Carl Veart acknowledged it was always going to be tough for Adelaide United to hold off Central Coast Mariners with 10 men.
Goalkeeper Joe Gauci was dismissed for the Reds in the 27th minute by the VAR for a last-man challenge as United eventually succumbed to a 3-0 loss in the pouring Gosford rain.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, the visitors were able to withstand a substantial onslaught from the Mariners, until Marcos Urena finally struck on 77 minutes.
Veart said once his side were reduced to 10 men, they altered their tactics, but always knew conceding was a real possibility, given the immense pressure.
“Up until that point the only threat they had was long balls over the top,” Veart told the media in the post-match press conference.
“… We knew defending narrow they tried to play balls in behind us – that seemed to be the story all night.
“If we stayed narrow they weren’t going to hurt us, the first goal was just a little bit disappointing the way we defended the first ball.
“But the boys fought hard, it was always going to be difficult in these conditions to keep them scoreless for such a long period.”
The result leaves Adelaide clinging to third place with teams below them still holding games in hand.
However, Veart said he was not overly worried about their current three-game winless streak and believed if they can capitalise on their favourable run home they should be in a really strong position.
“We just concentrate on ourselves,” he admitted.
“We’ve got six games left and five of them at home, so we know at home we’re a very strong side and we have great support at home.
“And we know if we’ve got those five games at home and if we pick those wins up then we’ll be fine.”
Young goalkeeper, Steven Hall, was impressive when he came on in just his second Isuzu UTE A-League appearance.
The 17-year-old produced four saves in the contest and kept the Mariners at bay for as long as he could.
He was rather powerless for the three goals conceded and Veart praised his temperament.
“Steven is a great young kid,” he said.
“To come on in those situations, it’s always difficult.
“He did well, made some good saves and did well for a young kid.”