Mariners continue pleasing pre-season with tough match against Sydney FC

The Central Coast Mariners positive pre-season continued against Sydney FC on Thursday in Sydney, with Nick Montgomery’s men taking part in three 45-minute periods of football. 

With another friendly set to take place against Melbourne City FC this weekend, Montgomery opted to split the squad with half of them travelling for today’s fixture. 

The initial 90 minutes ended with Sydney leading 1-0, with the final 45 minutes that saw many Mariners academy prospects take the field ending 1-all. 

A front three of Beni Nkololo, Garang Kuol and Paul Ayongo would cause Sydney FC havoc, dominating throughout the match. Their presence up front would lead to the Mariners having double digit corners as they regularly troubled Sydney’s defence. 

The game was also the club debut for Jakob Cresnar, with the former academy player looking comfortable in a strong Mariners defence. 

After an evenly contested opening, it would be Ayongo who would have the first meaningful chance from either side, with his effort saved by Redmayne. 

Sydney ultimately scored the matches opening goal, with Rhyan Grant finding space behind the Mariners defensive line. The right back would cut the ball back to the six-yard box, with Adam Le Fondre finishing the play off to give Sydney a 1-0 lead. 

Nkololo almost drew the scores level shortly after, with the Frenchman converting a Kuol cutback. Controversially the goal was ruled out, with the referee deeming that the ball had gone out before the youngster could cross it. 

Central Coast continued to create chances late in the first half, with Sydney FC holding onto a slight 1-0 lead over the Mariners at the break. 

Le Fondre would find space behind the Central Coast defensive line to begin the second half, with a crucial one-on-one save from Vukovic denying the Englishman his second of the day. 

Kuol went close soon after, with the youngster finding room behind Sydney’s defence. It would take a Redmayne clearance to stop the 18-year-old, with the Mariners continuing to push for an equaliser. 

The Central Coast were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty shortly after, when a Brian Kaltak header was stopped seemingly by a Sydney defenders hand. It was ruled a corner, with the match continuing on. 

Nkololo had the Mariners last chance of the opening 90 minutes, coming from a beautifully worked short corner. The attacker would get a shot away, testing Redmayne who would tip the effort over. 

Ben Duncan scored the Mariners sole goal of the last 45-minute period. The youngster cut in off the left, finding space before rocketing the ball into the top corner, leaving Sydney’s keeper with no chance. 

The match was another positive hit out for the Mariners, as they look to put the finishing touches on a pleasing pre-season. 

Eyes now turn to Saturday’s friendly against Melbourne City, with every pre-season match a step closer to our season opener against the Newcastle Jets at Central Coast Stadium on October 8th.