The festive season hiatus seems to have done the Central Coast Mariners no harm as they returned to the National Youth League with a comprehensive 3-1 win over the Newcastle Jets. A clinical first half, arguably their best of the season saw the Young Mariners net three goals in the opening twenty-five minutes. The win kicks off a crowded January fo
The festive season hiatus seems to have done the Central Coast Mariners no harm as they returned to the National Youth League with a comprehensive 3-1 win over the Newcastle Jets. A clinical first half, arguably their best of the season saw the Young Mariners net three goals in the opening twenty-five minutes. The win kicks off a crowded January for the home side, and the Pluim Park faithful were treated to a wonderful display of attacking football.
Head coach Tony Walmsley was thrilled with the attacking prowess of his charges, but disappointed that they let Newcastle back into the game late in the second half.
“It was an outstanding performance in possession all the way through the match, and from an attacking perspective we were really good. We were a little bit loose in the second half, and while you can-t allow that, you can understand that happening with young players,” said Walmsley.
“I think it was a case of our guys trying to do nice things, rather than the necessary things, and as a result we let them back into the game in the last ten to fifteen minutes which was disappointing.
“When your front three score, that-s what you want them to do every week if they can. The pleasing thing was they all benefited from hard work from someone else, which is encouraging.
“The players still had ambition to get forward in the second half, which probably left us a little bit open. Consequently with energy depletion, they weren-t quite as sharp after the Christmas break. The possession Newcastle got allowed them to get in the game when they perhaps shouldn-t have, but overall I have no complaints.”
A positive for the Central Coast side was the successful return of experienced players such as Brendan Griffin and Jerry Kalouris. Both Griffin who has been out for over six weeks with a lower leg injury, and Kalouris formed a vital part of the team last season.
“Griff has been out since we last played Newcastle, so it was good to get him back and for him to go out and do a decent job, and Jerry all year has done whatever we-ve asked him to do. He came on and strengthened our backline, so it was very pleasing for those guys to get game time,” said Walmsley.
Boosted by the inclusion of Mustafa Amini for the first time since the early rounds of the season, along with veteran defender Chris Doig, the Young Mariners started the game with all the running. The match was only four minutes old when Mitchell Duke grabbed the opener.
Duke was the beneficiary of some positive lead up play from the flank, and Newcastle custodian Robbie Kolak could do little to stop the powerful header from the striker. For the home side it was the perfect start, and the visitors tried to take the game to the Mariners, but were constantly repelled by committed defense from the hosts. A free kick from about 20 yards was the closest the Jets came to troubling the Mariners in this period. However a composed performance from Sam Gallagher, Alex Manuseto and Jimmy Oates kept the threat at bay.
In the 15th minute the Jets could have, and perhaps should have been back on level terms. However Mariners goalkeeper Nik Matic produced a spectacular double save to thwart the Newcastle attack. In a huge boost of confidence for the young shot stopper both shots came off the boot of Hyundai A-League regulars. The first was from Kaz Patafta, and the second from Zhang Shuo.
The double save inspired his teammates, and five minutes later Mustafa Amini would make the visitors rue their missed opportunity. With a sublime touch, Amini controlled the ball, turned and shot from about 20 yards to give the Mariners a two-goal buffer.
Things got even brighter for the hosts in the 25th minute when Bernie Ibini-Isei netted his 10th goal of the campaign to give the Mariners a lead they would never relinquish. In this instance Ibini-Isei benefitted from a pinpoint cross from Duke that gave the marksman the easiest of finishes.
Keen to inflict maximum damage on the hapless Jets, Amini tried another long distance show, forcing Kolak into a hurried save. Try as they might the Young Mariners couldn-t quite net another goal. However the passing combination between Ibini-Isei, Duke and Nick Fitzgerald nearly saw the Mariners net a fourth just before halftime.
Ultimately the Mariners would have to settle for a three-goal lead at the break.
Upon the resumption of play the Jets tried to catch Matic off-guard, but the young ‘keeper was alert, and the attempted snapshot fell safely into his hands. Matthew Lewis attempted the exact same thing up the other end of the field, but he to was unsuccessful.
The match decreased in intensity as the home side looked to consolidate possession. With both sides calling in the cavalry, neither side could really threaten either goalkeeper. The Mariners went close with a lovely passing moving from Nathan Jagelman and Fitzgerald forcing Kolak into a smart save.
Newcastle-s James Virgili went within inches of netting a reply for the visitors, but Matic had the shot well covered. When Ibini-Isei was thwarted by a solid challenge by Jon Griffiths when he was goal bound it appeared that the goal scoring chances of the match had ended.
Fabian Iacovelli however had other ideas. A shot from distance by a Newcastle teammate forced Matic to make a diving save. The young ‘keeper did sensationally well to tap the ball onto the cross bar, but unfortunately for him the rebounding ball fell to the one Newcastle player on hand; Iacovelli, who tapped the ball home.
There was some concern for Matic who was unable to regain his feet after the incident, and early indications are he has suffered a knee injury after landing awkwardly whilst in the process of making the save.
“It-s disappointing for Nik as he-s about to head overseas for the Nike football challenge. It looks like a medial strain, but we-re hopeful of getting him mobile during the week. We have to wait for a full medical report and go from there.
“We-re very lucky we have such a good replacement in David Bradsevic who has done a good job when given the chance over the last few weeks,” said Walmsley.
Replacement ‘keeper David Bradasevic faced a nervous five minutes but he did well, claiming two high balls to stop the visitors entertaining any thoughts of a late comeback.
Ultimately the Young Mariners held on for a deserved 3-1 victory, and they will be hoping for a repeat performance when they take to the field in seven days time.
In such an even competition, every point counts.
The Central Coast Mariners continue their 2010/11 National Youth League campaign next Tuesday, 11 January, when they take on the Australian Institute of Sport at Pluim Park, Lisarow. Kick-off is at 5:00pm AEDT.
Central Coast Mariners 3 (Duke 4-, Amini 20-, Ibini-Isei 25-)
Newcastle Jets 1 (Iacovelli 88-)
Central Coast Mariners: 1. Nik MATIC (gk) (20. David BRADASEVIC (gk) 88-), 4. Alex MANSUETO, 5. Jimmy OATES, 6. Mustafa AMINI (7. Brendan GRIFFIN 59-), 8. Nick FITZGERALD, 9. Bernie IBINI-ISEI, 10. Mitchell DUKE (2. Nathan JAGELMAN 58-), 12. Matt LEWIS, 16. Zac FREEBURN (3. Jerry KALOURIS 58-), 17. Sam GALLAGHER (c), 19. Chris DOIG.
Yellow Cards: Lewis 72-
Red Cards: None
Newcastle Jets: 1. Robbie KOLAK (gk), 2. Nathan MILLGATE, 3. Mario SIMIC, 4. Jon GRIFFITHS, 5. Kyle EWART, 6. Samuel GALLAWAY (c), 7. Scott PETTIT, 9. Zhang SHUO, (12. Steven VELESKI 56-), 10. Kaz PATAFTA, (8. Jacob PEPPER 46-), 11. James VIRGILI, 14. Tomislav VELESKI (13. Fabian IACOVELLI 56-).
Subs not Used: 20. Jack DUNCAN (gk).
Yellow Cards: Simic 44-
Red Cards: None
Referee: Matthew CROPPER