The Central Coast Mariners Academy hosted Marconi Stallions on Saturday evening that saw the two sides play out a 5-4 goal-fest at Pluim Park.
Central Coast Mariners 4 (Liam O’Dell, Reece Papadimitrios, Ryan Peterson 2) Marconi Stallions 5 (Marko Jesic 2, Mirjan Pavlovic 2, Simon Valastro)
The Mariners started brightly and nearly had the opener after just two minutes when a curling shot from Lachlan Wales from outside the box forced the Marconi keeper into a crucial save.
Marconi had a good chance in the 5th minute when Marco Jesic brought down the ball on the edge of the 18-yard-box, who then turned and forced Pearce into a smart save high to his right.
After a flurry of early chances it was Marconi who took the lead in the 30th minute when a turnover from the Academy in their own half was capitalised by Jesic for the opener.
In the 49th minute the Academy equalised after Josh Bingham was fouled in the box and Ryan Peterson belted home the spot kick.
Less than a minute later, the away team responded and Jesic had his brace to put his side a goal up.
The Stallions had a great chance to go 3-1 up in the 54th minute but it was Pearce again who saved well low to his left to deny Sean Rooney from just inside the box.
Marconi went 3-1 ahead in the 61st minute when Simon Valastro headed home a corner.
The Academy hit straight back in the 64th minute when a cross from Brian Jamba was cleared straight to Reece Papadimtrios. Papadimitrios pulled the trigger first time and his strike from 25-yards out flew home for what will be contender for goal of the season.
Marconi scored again in the 66th minute when Pavlovic scored his first of the night from close range to put the visitors ahead 4-2.
The Academy hit back again in the 71st minute when Ryan Peterson’s shot from outside the area found the top corner via a deflection to keep the Academy in it with the score at 4-3.
CCMA had a great chance in the 77th minute to level the game at 4-4 through Buhagiar but his shot was just wide.
Marconi went 5-3 ahead in the 82nd minute when a ball was squared to Pavlovic who finished from close range and made the game seem all but over for the Academy.
But Academy weren’t about to go down without a fight, hitting back in the 85th minute when Liam O’Dell’s shot from the side the box was struck low and hard across the goal and into the bottom corner to make it 5-4 with five minutes to play.
Despite CCMA’s efforts in the last five minutes, Marconi held on for an entertaining 5-4 win.
Head Coach Ben Cahn said that his side dominated the early stages of the game but despite creating three golden opportunities, were unable to capitalise. “We should’ve been 3-0 up,” Cahn told Football NSW, but instead, Marconi held a slender 1-0 lead at halftime.
“Individual error cost us the first goal and we were pretty naïve in how we managed the game,” the Mariners coach added. “Once we got back on level terms, we gave them a goal straight away from kickoff, then we went 3-1 down. We came back to 3-2 and an individual error cost us for 4-2. Then it was 4-3 and we missed an absolute pearler of a chance when Trent Buhagiar missed a one-on-one and pushed the ball wide of the post. They went up 5-3 and we just couldn’t find the last one.”
But regardless of Marconi’s quality, Cahn said his young side didn’t defend well. “We didn’t defend well at all. Not from the front, not from the midfield. Ultimately when you concede five goals at home, you deserve to lose the game.”
Despite the loss, Cahn his side scored some excellent goals. Former Marconi player Ryan Peterson grabbed a couple against his old club, Josh Bingham was a presence the whole match and Trent Buhagiar’s speed caused problems for the experienced Stallions. “I thought that we looked like scoring every time we went forward, but unfortunately we’re just missing the finishing touch at the moment.”
The Central Coast Mariners are back in action next weekend vs the Western Sydney Wanderers Academy at Valentine Sports Park, kick off: 9am for u18s, 11am for 20s and 1pm for first grade.
Saturday 23 April 2016
At: Pluim Park No. 1, Lisarow
Referee: Ben Abraham
Central Coast Mariners FC: 1. Adam Pearce (GK), 2. Brian Jamba, 3. Reece Papadimitrios, 4. Cooper Boswell, 5. Daniel Tuddenham, 6. Liam O’Dell (C), 7. Lachlan Wales, 9. Josh Bingham, 10. Ryan Peterson, 11. Christopher Hurley (16. Thomas Lyons), 12. Trent Buhagiar, 15. Nathan Hundley, 18. S. White (8. Cade Mapu)
Unused Subs: 4. Cooper Boswell, 20. T. Heward-Belle (GK)
Yellow Cards: 12. Trent Buhagiar, 1. Adam Pearce 61’
Coach: Ben Cahn
Marconi Stallions FC: 1. Chad Taylor (GK), 4. Simon Valastro, 5. P Pelekanos, 6. Raimond Colletta, 7. Mirjan Pavlovic, 8. Sean Rooney, 10. Marko Jesic, 16. Noah Chianese (11. Sam Perre), 17. Steven Drewery, 18. Brandon Vella, 23. Christopher Nunes (C)
Unused Subs: 3. Ante Markovic, 21. Kristian Sekutkoski (GK), 24. Christopher Godoy Bascur, 25. Phillip Makrys
Yellow Cards: 8. Sean Rooney 80’, Sam Perre 84’
Coach: Jeff Suzor
- 18s WIN 3-2 ( Hambrook x 2, Glassock )
- 20s WIN 4-1 ( Buswell x 2, Pratt, Foster )