The Mariners Academy were looking to get back to winning was this week as they faced the 2015 Minor Premiers Spirit FC.
And they did just that, defeating Spirit FC 3-2 thanks to two goals from Trent Buhagiar and an own goal from Spirit FC's Jayden McLeod.
The Mariners Academy welcomed back centre back Nathan Verity who started after six weeks on the sidelines with a groin injury, playing 60 minutes and showing no signs of his injury hampering him. CCMA also welcomed back midfielder Adam Berry who came on off the bench for Verity in the 60th minute after spending 8 weeks out with a knee injury. CCMA also had a new face up front after completing the signing of the talented Shelford Dais from Brisbane Strikers during the week, who troubled the Spirit defence before coming off at half time.
It was the Mariners who started brightly and took the lead in the sixth minute when a mistake at the back from the Spirit FC centre back gifted Trent Buhagiar a golden chance 1 on 1 with the Spirit keeper. Buhagiar made no mistake with his finish and calmly slotted his shot just inside the post.
The Mariners doubled their lead in the 13th minute when captain Reece Papadimtrios' through ball found new signing Shelford Dais. Dais' low cross into the box was deflected by Jayden Mon into his own net to send CCMA 2 goals ahead early into the game.
CCMA went three ahead in the 20th minute when Buhaigars pace drew the Spirit keeper off his line. Buhagiar then calmly finished again to double his tally for the night.
Spirit FC nearly pulled a goal back in the 38th minute when a ball from Spirit FC's winger found an unmarked Nathan Jagelman. Jagelman's acrobatical bicycle kick was heading for the back of the net, only to be well saved by keeper Adam Pearce high to his right.
The Central Coast Mariners Academy dominated the first half and went in ahead at 3-0, controlling most of the possession and not giving Spirit FC any real chances in attack.
CCMA nearly went 4-0 ahead in the 53rd minute when a corner from Papadimtrios found the head of Christopher Hurley. Hurley's powerful header was bound for the back of the net but was very well saved by Spirit keeper Murray Nelson.
The Mariners side had a great chance to make it 4-0 and a hat trick to Buhagiar in the 67th minute when a superb ball over the top from Ryan Peterson was straight into the path of speedster Buhaigar. Buhagiar went 1 on 1 with the keeper but could not find the target, with his shot sailing well over the crossbar.
Spirit FC had a number of chances in the 80th minute but could not find a way past a flying Pearce, making three saves in quick succession. They did pull a goal back however in the 82nd minute via a penalty which was converted by Spirit FC's Daniel Cunningham.
Spirit then scored their second in the 88th minute when an unfortunate slip at the back was capitalised upon by Spirit FC's Mark Mcalpine to make the score 3-2 in the dying minutes of the game.
CCMA held on for the victory after a dominant 90 minutes in what was a very cold night at the home of Spirit FC, Christie Park.
With two important players back from injury, and new signing Dais all performing well against Spirit, it looks to be positive signs ahead for the Academy who will look to keep the momentum running into next weeks game vs Mt Druitt.
Central Coast Mariners Academy 3 (Buhagiar 2, McLeod (OG)) Spirit FC 2 (Cunningham (pen), Mcalpine)
Central Coast Mariners Academy:
Adam Berry, Trent Buhagiar, Joshua Forbes, Christopher Hurley, Brian Jamba, Cade Mapu, Reece Papadimtrios ( C ), Adam Pearce, Ryan Peterson, Daniel Tuddenham, Nathan Verity, Lachlan Wales, Steve Whyte, Shelford Dais, Jack Omally, Cooper Buswell.
Murray Nelson, Daniel Cunningham, Henry Wells, Michael Streeter, Andrew Robertson, Grant Cornwall ( C ), Kim Changyu, David Mavisa, Jayden Mcleod, Alexander Doyle, Mark Mcalpine, Robbie George, Nathan Jagelman, Jaylan Reiher, Liam Taylor
- 18's draw 2-2 (Macey, Kirkman)
- 20's draw 1-1 (Pratt)
Youth Academy - vs Mt Druitt Town Rangers
- 16's draw 1-1 (Kuzevski)
- 15's won 3-1 (Rizzeri, Simmons, Rose)
- 14's won 3-0 (Rose, Phillips-Tapsell, Vukovic)
- 13's won 3-2 (Graham, Sterrett, Hurley)
Women's Academy - vs Northern Tigers FC
- Firsts lost 0-5
- U17's lost 0-6
- U15's won 2-1 (Kroemer, Pratt)
- U13's lost 0-4
The Central Coast Mariners Academy will be in action next weekend against Mt Druitt Town Rangers at Pluim Park Lisarow. Kick off times are :
- 18's : 2:30pm
- 20's : 4:30pm
- First Grade : 6:30pm