The Mariners' Ross McCormack and Stefan Mauk of the Roar compete for the ball at Suncorp Stadium on October 21 last year.  Picture: Dan Peled/AAP
The Mariners' Ross McCormack and Stefan Mauk of the Roar compete for the ball at Suncorp Stadium on October 21 last year. Picture: Dan Peled/AAP

Aston Villa snatches back Mariners striker

CENTRAL Coast striker Ross McCormack has played his last game for the A-League side after being recalled by parent club Aston Villa.

The Mariners announced McCormack's departure in a statement on Saturday, saying they had received an "official notice of recall" from Aston Villa.

"I would like to thank the Central Coast Mariners and the fans for welcoming me on the Central Coast with open arms. Although I was only there for a short period, everyone made me feel very welcome from day one," McCormack said in a statement.

"The opportunity for me to return to the UK is something that I couldn't turn down and will allow me to see my children more, which is something that is very important to me.

"I wish the playing group and coaching staff all the best for the rest of the season."

After watching his side get pumped 5-2 by Sydney FC on Friday night, Mariners coach Mike Mulvey suggested some serious changes were afoot in Gosford.

The loss stretched their historic winless start to a season to an 11th game.

"I think you guys (the media) need to be fair and have a look at the performances and say, 'these guys are still playing,'" Mulvey said.

"They're having a go. They're giving as much as they possibly can.

"But there'll be something happening in the next few days."

Asked whether that meant player signings, Mulvey said: "Yes."

Pressed further on whether that meant a replacement for McCormack, Mulvey was diplomatic.

"I can't say anything until ... Aston Villa is the parent club," he said. "But yes, we will be active."

McCormack was considered a major part of yet another Central Coast rebuild this season, having been loaned out by Aston Villa on the eve of the campaign.

However, the 32-year-old will depart after just five games and one goal for the club, after suffering a knee injury in November.

His exit leaves the last-placed Mariners with a serious gap in star talent.

The former Brisbane mentor reached for positives in Friday night's lopsided result and also believed his team were victims of some refereeing inconsistencies against the Sky Blues.

"Alex Wilkinson is a beautiful guy, but he went in on a two-footed challenge. If my player had not moved his left out of the way, that's a leg break," Mulvey said.

"Why don't we have a consistency in football? That was worse than Cisse's tackle. Or at least if the referee deemed that was a foul in the first place, then that's got to be a foul."

He also criticised the referee's decision to award Sydney FC a penalty for their second goal, despite replays showing Jacob Melling caught Adam Le Fondre with his trailing leg.

"I don't know any ex-footballer, or footballer who's still playing, that would give that if they were in that position," Mulvey said.