The Central Coast Mariners moved into equal first of the Foxtel Y-League’s Conference B with a 2-0 win against Canberra United at Pluim Park on Saturday morning.
Nick Montgomery’s side were almost caught on the back foot with the visitors having a couple of early chances, but found their rhythm to control much of the first half.
20 minutes in the Mariners took the lead, when Harry McCarthy was the first to react to Dan Hall heading the ball down from a corner to sweep the ball home over Sam Brown and in.
The hosts held the ascendancy until the break to go in with a one-goal lead, and with just over 10 minutes to go it was a wonderful strike from Kyle Johnson that double their advantage.
Johnson played a neat one-two with a teammate off a short corner before peeling out towards the edge of the area, and he curled a stunning effort into the far corner of the net to seal the score line for the Mariners.
— Central Coast Mariners (@CCMariners) December 21, 2019
Montgomery was happy to see his side come through and remain undefeated, but admitted the score line could have been more emphatic.
“We knew we needed to win the game, and a clean sheet is always what we aim for,” he said.
“In saying that though, a bit disappointed because we probably should have had 5 or 6 more goals.”
“[There were] some fantastic pieces of play that had a good save at the end or the finish wasn’t good enough, but full credit to Canberra for the way they played too.
The win was vital for Montgomery’s side and tees up a potential conference decider when they take on Sydney FC at Kogarah on Sunday night.
“It’s a massive game next weekend, Sydney are a very good side,” Montgomery said.
“We play a night kick-off, it’ll be a tough game but we’ll go there full of confidence and we’ll go there to try and get a win.”