Carl Robinson has hailed the impact of his substitutes after the Western Sydney Wanderers went top of the A-League ladder with their win over Central Coast Mariners on Tuesday night.
In a fiery clash in Gosford, Nicolai Muller came off the bench to strike seven minutes from time to hand the Wanderers a hard-earned 1-0 victory.
While there was very little between the two sides, the decisive goal came soon after the introduction of Wanderers substitutes Muller, Kwame Yeboah, and Bruce Kamau.
Robinson sent on the attacking trio not long after the Mariners had gone closest to scoring after Joshua Nisbet had struck the crossbar.
But the introduction of super-subs swung the momentum of the game back towards the visitors, who have increased their unbeaten run to three matches.
“I’m pleased for [the substitutes],” Robinson told Fox Sports.
“Football is not just about 11 players, it’s about a squad, I knew it would be a battle and a fight and it certainly was.
“The first 45-60 minutes would be that way and then the game opened up a little bit and the subs made a difference and that’s their job.”
Robinson added: “We tactically made an adjustment, we played two up front because I thought if [the Mariners] wanted to be aggressive with the fullbacks, we’d play balls down the side and I thought second half we were in control of the game.
“The goal happens from a scrappy bit of play and a deflection. You can play all the pretty football you want in the world and you can get an average goal, they all count.”
The return to Gosford of former Mariners defender Ziggy Gordon – now playing for the Wanderers – certainly added some spice to the contest.
Less than two minutes had been played when Gordon was on the end of a heavy tackle from Alou Kuol, which saw the youngster pick up a yellow card.
Mariners skipper Matt Simon also got involved in a heated exchange with the Scottish defender, who was booed by the home supporters all night.
“I’m normally liked by the fans but it’s part and parcel of the game, it’s good banter,” said Gordon about his reception in Gosford.
“It was a night of emotions but I think we were professional and we defended really gritty.
“We knew what we were going to get, I knew what I was going to get, I rolled up my sleeves and got on with it. I think we defended absolutely brilliantly from the top to the bottom and we thoroughly deserved it.”
After playing two matches in the space of four days, the Wanderers now have a 10-day break before their next clash against Newcastle Jets on Friday, January 29 at Bankwest Stadium.