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Cummings pen saved, Mariners draw with Utd

Central Coast striker Jason Cummings has been left to rue a poor late penalty that cost him a hat-trick and the Mariners three points in their 2-2 A-League Men draw with Western United.

Leo Lacroix threw Marco Urena to the ground in the 90th minute to gift Central Coast a shot at victory.

But Jamie Young batted away Cummings’ poor spot kick to ensure Nikolai Topor-Stanley’s record-breaking 359th league appearance ended with a point.

“It’s a shocker. It’s a terrible penalty, man, I’m fuming,” Cummings told Paramount Plus.

“The boys (had) done well today as well and we bring it back to 2-2 there and then I’ve got a chance to score from the penalty spot. I should score there, man. I’m gutted.

“I let the boys down a wee bit there at the end, so I’m fuming. I’m always fuming after games but that’s my bread and butter that, so I’m just gutted I missed.

“… Should have been three points, man. I’m not going to sleep tonight.”

Coach Nick Montgomery backed Cummings and said his side’s disappointment at only snatching a point from second-placed United reflected how far they’d come.

“He’s clearly disappointed, he’s a top class striker, he’s on for his hat-trick and not only that, it’s three points. So obviously there was a lot at stake,” he said.

“But he’s scored a lot of penalties in big games and the best players in the world miss penalties.

“But the boys picked him up in there and told him to stop moping around when we’ve got a game on Tuesday.”

The Mariners snatched the lead in the 36th minute when Young attempted to claim Noah Smith’s corner but missed the ball and it fell to Cummings, who scrambled a header home.

There was a VAR review as Cummings’ header appeared to glance off his arm en route to goal but the decision was upheld.

“From live I thought it was a handball but I didn’t see the replay after that,” United coach John Aloisi said.

“The referee said that he couldn’t tell because the monitor was too small. That’s strange for me.

“If they called him over they clearly thought it was handball and then if they have a bigger monitor or a bigger screen then they need to make the decision.”

United hit back in the 47th when Smith headed Neil Kilkenny’s free kick into his own net.

In the 63rd minute, Lachie Wales brilliantly lofted a perfectly weighted ball for Aleksandar Prijovic to nod home and a minute later, Cummings slammed a wonderful strike past Young to restore parity.

Both teams had chances to snatch victory before the dramatic late penalty.

United’s Rene Khrin (hamstring) failed a pre-match fitness test while Connor Pain (ankle) hobbled off in the 56th minute.

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