The Central Coast Mariners’ inaugural National Youth League (NYL) campaign now includes goals and competition points after the Mariners’ young prospects scored a deserved 2-1 triumph over the Melbourne Victory at Bluetongue Stadium yesterday.
The Central Coast Mariners- inaugural National Youth League (NYL) campaign now includes goals and competition points after the Mariners- young prospects scored a deserved 2-1 triumph over the Melbourne Victory at Bluetongue Stadium yesterday.
The Mariners had Hyundai A-League stars David D-Apuzzo and Dylan Macallister to thank for their historic first goals in Australia-s new competition for elite young players after Melbourne-s Dimitri Hatzimouratis had earlier given the visitors the lead from the penalty spot.
However, the character shown in response to this early setback from the yellow and navy ensured that the home side would take all three points and ignite their debut campaign which up to this point had returned no goals and no points from the first two rounds.
“This performance was unquestionably our best of the NYL to date, defensively we were sound and moving forward we looked quite comfortable,” said Mariners NYL Head Coach Alex Tobin after the match.
“Coming from one goal down to take the win was particularly pleasing and we-ll now look to build on this result in coming weeks as we look to post more wins and to further improve upon our general play, but this result was certainly a good starting point.”
There was Hyundai A-League talent in abundance at the opening whistle, with the Mariners including goal scorers D-Apuzzo and Macallister in addition to Nik Mrdja and Paul O-Grady, while Danny Vukovic made his return from a five-match suspension in goal.
Melbourne had the likes of Leigh Broxham and Nick Ward in midfield, while Steven Pace and Mitchell Langerak provided Hyundai A-League nous in defence and in goal respectively.
Each of the Mariners- senior inclusions made the contributions asked of them, with backline starters Nathan Sherlock, Steven Tibbetts and Scott Wright each earning special praise for an exceptional defensive showing that was easily the Mariners- most assured in the NYL to date.
That Melbourne-s goal came from the penalty spot was an adequate reflection of the Mariners- defensive steel, with Vukovic seldom called upon but impressive when needed.
D-Apuzzo-s strike came just before half time, with the former Qantas Joey slotting home from reasonable range after some sound lead up work by Hyundai A-League team-mate Mrdja.
Macallister-s winner was clinical – the season four newcomer on hand to head home a fierce drive from Tibbetts from barely a metre in front of goal.
The Mariners- breakthrough triumph sees them jump three points clear of the bottom placed Victory ahead of a one-week break from NYL competition due to their first bye of the campaign.
“We-ve got some time off now to work hard in training and build upon what we-ve learned so far, but certainly the early signs from this playing group are very encouraging,” said Tobin.
“There have been some impressive individual contributions over the past three weeks but the character and spirit that we-ve developing as a squad is what I-m most pleased with and when we return in two weeks, we-ll be hoping to again take another step in the right direction.”
The Mariners- National Youth League campaign continues on Friday, 24 October when they host northern rivals the Newcastle Jets in a curtain raiser fixture to the Mariners- Hyundai A-League match up against the same opponent at Bluetongue Stadium. Kick off is at 5.15pm.
Tickets for this match are on sale from Ticketek outlets, from the Ticketek website – www.ticketek.com.au, or via phone on 132 849.
Central Coast Mariners 20. Danny Vukovic (gk), 2. Steven Tibbetts, 5. Nathan Sherlock (10. Glen Trifiro 90-), 7. Matt Lewis, 8. David D-Apuzzo (13. Laurence Braude 55-), 9. Brady Smith, 10. Glen Trifiro (17. Sean Mitchell 59-), 12. Scott Wright, 15. Dylan Macallister, 16. Nik Mrdja (6. Ty Owens 59-), 21. Paul O-Grady
Yellow Cards Trifiro 14-, O-Grady 14-, D-Apuzzo 20-, Braude 67-, Macallister 80-
Red Cards None
Goals D-Apuzzo 44-, Macallister 65-
Melbourne Victory 1. Mitchell Langerak (gk), 2. Robert Wynne, 3. Ante Cicak (5. Fabio Di Lizia 61-), 4. Matthew Foschini, 6. Steven Pace, 7. Aziz Behich, 9. Mathew Theodore, 10. Nick Ward (8. Stephen Hatzikostas 50-), 11. Dimitri Hatzimouratis, 12. Leigh Broxham, 13. Andy Jerez (14. Samuel Gallaway 61-)
Unused Subs 20. Mijo Marinovic (gk)
Yellow Cards Ward 48-
Red Cards None
Goals Hatzimouratis 15-P
Referee Tim McGilchrist