Academy Wrap: Men’s and Boy’s (April 8th)

The Central Coast Mariners Men’s and Boy’s academy sides had a mixed weekend of results, facing off against Hills United and St George FA. 

Starting the day against Hills at Landen Park, the boys were locked in a tight battle with the home side throughout the divisions, with all games except our 8-1 win in the under 16’s being close contests. 

Late goals in both our under 20’s and first grade matches saw St George secure two draws, going against the run of play after strong performances from both Mariners Men’s sides. 

First grade vs St George City

The Central Coast Mariners put on a valiant display against a strong St George City outfit at Penshurst Park on Saturday night. Finishing 1-all after a tight battle, an unfortunate late goal was all that denied us the three points. 

The Mariners had the better of the early chances, with Olayinka Sunmola having our first shot in the second minute. 

The contest became a lively one with both teams looking for the go-ahead goal, as the two keepers needed to pull off strong saves to keep the scores deadlocked. 

Heading into the second half it was again some Pat Beach heroics that kept the scores level, with the keeper needing a fingertip save in the 56th minute for a long-range shot. 

It was Mariners captain Cameron Windust who gave us the lead, with the central defender rising above the pack after a corner was headed back into the six-yard area. 

The goal giving the Mariners a 1-0 lead in the 73rd minute, a deserved one after a strong performance. 

St George did ultimately find an equaliser in the 87th minute, with Auden Mostofi getting on the back of some sloppy play in the box to get his sides first. 

Neither side were ultimately able to get a match winning goal, with both sides having the settle for a point. The result keeping the Mariners in 15th on six points, as the team look to climb the ladder with a few extra positive results. 

Under 20’s vs St George City 

The Central Coast Mariners under 20’s continued their unbeaten run, now sitting at five matches with a 1-all draw against St George FC. 

Heading into the half time break without a goal, it was the Mariners who struck first in the second half. Bailey Brandtman netting one in the 52nd minute, handing the Mariners a 1-0 lead. 

The side tried to hold on for the victory, as St George were on the hunt for an equaliser. The home side eventually getting one in the 81st minute through Bilal Rachid, with the full-time score ending 1-all. 

The Mariners sit in fourth in the under 20’s following the result, currently on 17 points. This is equal with Western Sydney, trailing on only goal difference, as the side come up against 15th placed Sydney Olympic this weekend. 

Youth Boy’s vs Hills United 

It was an extremely even contest between Hills United and Central Coast on Saturday in the youth boy’s, with both sides securing important results across the age groups. 

The day began with the under 13’s, with the scores level at 1-all at half time. A second half winner for Hills United seeing the score end 2-1, as the Mariners aim to bounce back next weekend. 

The under 14’s match also saw the scores level 1-all at the break, with Hills United coming out strong in the second half. The home side eventually running out 4-2 winners, with Central Coast’s eyes now turning to next Saturday. 

The under 15’s continued their undefeated beginning to the 2023 campaign, drawing 2-all against Hills United. A strong start saw the side take a 2-0 advantage into the break, with the team aiming for an eighth straight win this season.

Unfortunately, two second half goals from the home side meant that the points had to be shared, with the Central Coast still sitting in second. 

Our under 16’s side got the Academies first win of the day, completing a dominant 8-1 victory. Heading into the break leading 4-1, the Mariners didn’t take the foot off the pedal, scoring an extra four in the second half. The victory pushing the Mariners into sixth after eight rounds. 

The day ended with another draw in the under 18’s, with both sides having to settle for a point. The home team took a 2-1 lead into half time, however a determined second period from the Mariners saw us grab an equaliser to see the match end 2-all. The point resulting in the Central Coast finishing the round in fourth on 15 points.