Academy Wrap: Men’s and Boy’s (April 22nd & 25th)

The Central Coast Mariners Men’s and Boy’s Academy had a big few days of action, beginning with five games against Manly United on Saturday. 

The two men’s sides then travelled to Sydney to take on Rockdale Ilinden in the NPL NSW competition, who sat in the top two of both divisions at the beginning of the weekend. 

It was then rounded out with four youth boy’s matches on ANZAC Day, as the sides ventured down south to face off against Wollongong Wolves. 

First Grade vs Rockdale Ilinden 

The Central Coast Mariners men’s first grade side recorded a crucial win on Sunday afternoon, defeating the high-flying Rockdale Ilinden away from home. 

It was Rockdale who got off to the stronger start, with the Mariners holding firm in defence to keep them out. A few smart saves over the first half hour from Pat Beach kept them at bay, with the Mariners looking dangerous on the counter. 

It was the Central Coast who did eventually score the games first, with Miguel Di Pizio, fresh off his A-League debut, playing in a perfect low driven cross. Olayinka Sunmola got on the end of it to steer it home in the 32nd minute, shocking the home crowd. 

One soon became two in the 34th minute, after Di Pizio was brought down in the penalty area looking to drive goalward. Lachlan Bayliss stepped up and converted from the spot, smacking it into the bottom right corner. 

On the stroke of half-time the Mariners further extended their lead through the head of Cameron Windust. Our captain rising above on a corner, firing it in to give the Mariners a 3-0 advantage at the break. 

A consolation goal for Rockdale in the 86th minute was not enough for the home side, as the Mariners rocketed up to 13th place on the ladder. The result keeps the team’s three game undefeated streak alive, with a big game against Sydney United this weekend. 

Under 20’s vs Rockdale Ilinden 

The Central Coast Mariners under 20’s men’s side were back in action after a week off, facing second place Rockdale Ilinden away from home.

It was an even opening 45 minutes of the match, with both sides desperately pushing for an early goal. Despite this the scores remained deadlocked heading into the break, with a crucial second half to come. 

It was unfortunately Rockdale who did score the opener, with Zachary Nikolovski getting his sides first in the 67th minute. With the Mariners looking to their bench to find the equalising goal it unfortunately didn’t come, with the away side collecting the three points. 

The result sees the Mariners sit in fifth place on the competition ladder with 17 points, still with a game in hand over three of the four sides above them. Their attention now turns to Sydney United on Sunday afternoon. 

Youth Boys vs Manly United & Wollongong Wolves 

The Central Coast Mariners youth boy’s teams had a massive few days of football, first taking on Manly United at Cromer Park on Saturday. Four of the five teams then turned around to play again on Tuesday, travelling to face Wollongong. 

The under 13’s began Saturday coming up against Manly, trailing 3-2 heading into the break. Unfortunately, the side were unable to turn it around, going down 5-2 at full time. 

They then travelled to take on the Wolves, again heading into the break with a deficit. The side showed heart and spirit to fight back and record a 3-all draw, a crucial point nearing the midpoint of the competition. 

Our under 14’s team were unfortunate to not come away with a result against Manly, leading 2-1 at the break. Two unanswered goals by the home team saw the final score end 3-2 in their favour. 

The team were able to turn it around on Tuesday, recording an important victory to push the side into 11th. Leading 2-1 at the break the team did not look back, going on to win 5-3 in a high scoring affair.

The under 15’s only played one game this week, taking on Manly on Saturday. Leading 2-1 at the break, a second half strike was enough for the home side to share the points. The draw sees the team sit in third place with a match still in hand as they remain undefeated. 

It was a tough weekend for the under 16’s, going down in tight contests in both of their clashes. With the scores locked at nil-all heading into the break against Manly, a second half double for the home side was enough to secure them the points. 

The side lead 1-0 heading into the break in their game against Wollongong, looking to secure a deserved result. Unfortunately, the home side were able to strike twice to wrap up a 2-1 win. The result places the Mariners in ninth after 10 matches, only a win outside the top five.

The under 18’s rounded out both afternoon’s, fighting for vital points against both Manly and Wollongong. After trailing 2-0 at the break the Mariners fought back on Saturday, looking to get something out of the match. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be, falling 3-2. 

The team were able to secure a point against Wollongong on Tuesday, with the scores locked at 1-all heading into the break. Two extra strikes from both sides saw the points shared, with the results placing the Mariners in fifth after 10 matches.