A red card to Reece Papadimitrios in the first half meant our boys were forced to play more than half of the match with ten men, and in true Mariners style the one-man-deficit spurred the Yellow & Navy onto a crucial clean sheet and three points away from home.
Coming in on a high, the Mariners Academy will this weekend face Bankstown City FC at Pluim Park on Saturday evening, who currently sit at the foot of the PS4 NPL 2 men’s ladder. Bankstown pushed third place St. George last weekend, but suffered a narrow 3-2 loss, conceding two late goals in an exciting fixture.
The PS4 NPL 2 ladder is very tight and a win could see the Mariners Academy climb as high as sixth.
The Academy defence will need to be on their toes from start to finish, with City attacker Huseyin Jasli in fine form, scoring six goals in his first 10 matches for Bankstown and will certainly be one to watch at Pluim Park.
They might have Jasli but we’ve got Duncan Stewart who has been scoring for fun. The Mariners’ in form striker found the back of the net again last weekend to take his goal tally to eight in just 11 games, where he currently sits two goals behind former Newcastle Jets striker Sean Rooney.
Since linking up with the Mariners Academy from APIA Leichhardt at the start of the 2016/17 Foxtel National Youth League this season, Stewart has been on fire for the Academy and we caught up with him this week.
“Despite results, this season has been great for us,” Stewart said. “We are starting to hit some form now and I’m confident we will be up there once the season concludes.
“Coming off the back off a strong FNYL campaign, we knew it would be a tough transition into a more physically demanding league, and that is something we are learning week-by-week and helping us grow as a unit.
Despite Stewart’s scoring spree, the young attacker has remained grounded and praised his teammates.
“As a striker, it's always great to get on the score sheet but at the end of the day it's all about the team, winning games and growing as players,” Stewart said.
“Going forward this season, we've been one of the best in the league so confidence is sky high.
“This weekend's game will be tough, like every week. We've lifted our quality and intensity in recent weeks and we'll need that to get a positive result on the weekend,” Stewart said.
The Academy under 18s remain undefeated thanks to a stunning strike from Kyle Johnson on the weekend, ensuring they stayed on the top of the ladder, five points clear of the Marconi Stallions.
The under 20s also had a fantastic result where they defeated Mount Druitt 5-1, with goals thanks to Liam Wilson, Michael Glassock, Matt Cahill and a double from Sallu Kamara.
Entry to Pluim Park this weekend is FREE with kick offs:
- 18s: 2pm
- 20s: 4pm
- First grade: 6pm