Academy Wrap: Men’s first grade (April 15th)

The Central Coast Mariners Academy men’s first grade side were the only men’s or boys’ team to play this weekend, coming up against Sydney Olympic on Saturday night. 

In front of a sizeable crowd at Our Paradise, with kick-off after the A-League Men’s match, the Mariners came out firing. Against a team that included numerous ex-Mariners players including Roy O’Donovan and Ziggy Gordon, the side were determined to continue their recent string of positive performances.

After an even first half hour the Mariners got a well-deserved opener, with some beautiful linkup play from the Bayliss brothers creating the goal. James passing to brother Lachlan, with him back-heeling it to him. 

James Bayliss then dribbled through multiple defenders before firing off a shot. Olympic’s goalkeeper was able to get a hand to it, only doing enough to palm it into the path of Miguel Di Pizio. 

The youngster smacking it into the underside of the crossbar and into the net, with the Mariners taking the lead in the 33rd minute. 

The away side did level it up in the 42nd minute, with O’Donovan scoring off his own rebound. 

The Mariners didn’t let that lead last for long however, with Lachlan Bayliss turning from provider to goal scorer. Di Pizio taking a shot from outside the penalty area, with Olympic’s goalkeeper again unable to hold onto the initial effort. 

Bayliss the first to it to bury it into the back of the net, with the Mariners going into the break with a 2-1 lead. 

It was another even start to the second half, with the two sides having chances to get an important goal. Sydney Olympic eventually getting an equaliser, with Benjamin van Meurs heading it in from close range. 

An Ayden Hammond long range shot went just wide of the goal for the Mariners, one of the teams final chances of note for the match, with the scores ultimately ending level. The sides second consecutive draw kept the team in 15th after eleven rounds, as the Mariners continue to push for even more positive results.