The Central Coast Mariners fought hard at home after a short turnaround to fall 4-3 at Pluim Park against St. George with Trent Buhagiar, Steve Whyte, and Cooper Buswell all featuring on the score sheet.
Central Coast Mariners 3 (Trent Buhagiar 3’, Steve Whyte 54’, Cooper Buswell 85’) St George 4 (S de Jesus 32’, Y Konagaya 26’ & 50’, B Pivato 33’)
Despite playing midweek, the Mariners started brightly and took the lead in the 3rd minute via Buhagiar who found himself on the end of a pinpoint Lachlan Wales cross
St. George restored parity in the 27th minute when Yuta Konagaya found some space in the box, Konagaya went onto pull the trigger with a confident finish.
Controversy struck in the 31st minute when Josh Forbes was seemed to be pushed in the back from a corner, the referee had other ideas awarding St. George a penalty. Stefan De Jesus made no mistake and converted the penalty to send the visitors ahead 2-1.
St. George extended their lead to 3-1 in the 33rd minute when Bruno Pivato drove from just inside the 18-yard-box-which found the roof of the net leaving Adam Pearce with no chance in goals.
10 minutes later St. George went down to 10 men after a challenge from Billy Darwich on Trent Buhagiar resulted in push and shove between the two sides.
The home side went close to pulling a goal back just before the break through Wales who had a promising chance to shoot but his shot was just off target.
Ten men St. George found themselves 4-1 up in the 49th minute when Konagaya capitalised on a loose ball in behind the defence and doubled his tally for the day.
The Academy side fired back when Steve Whyte scored in the 53rd minute after making the most of a pin point cross from Shelford Dais.
Central Coast Mariners Academy were also down to 10 men in the 72nd minute when a challenge from captain Reece Papadimitrios was deemed to be a straight red card from referee Samuel Grasso.
After a few opportunities the home team scored in the 81st minute when an Adam Berry cross found the head of Cooper Buswell. Buswell's header found the back of the net, to make for a grandstand finish.
The Academy nearly levelled proceedings in the 90th minute when Buhagiar squared his cross which found an unmarked Buswell just inside the box. Buswell made great connection but couldn't quite put his shot on target.
Despite a flurry of chances in the dying stages, St. George FC came away with a 4-3 win.
Mariners coach Ben Cahn was disappointed with his side’s performance.
“It was another frustrating week for us, we again controlled more than most of the game and wasted numerous opportunities,” Cahn said. “We were fragile and naïve defensively and it cost us again.
“Based on the balance of the game we were a better team than them. We just gifted them goals. There were a couple of decisions, including one that led to their penalty, that were very dubious. But we have to look at ourselves because we’re conceding too many goals. It’s okay to say that we’re young and developing but ultimately we’re well into the second round of the competition and if some of these players are serious about progressing then they need to take some responsibility for their performances.”
“I don’t want to be over critical of the players and the team because again the majority of our performance was very good. But at key moments in the game we were let down by individual errors and individual decision-making. At the moment I feel we’re okay structurally, we control large amounts of the games we play. We always create more chances than the opposition but struggle to convert them and we’re making costly errors at the other end and gifting teams opportunities to score. In our last two games we’re probably responsible for five of the seven goals we’ve conceded.
“On a positive note, structurally we were a better side than them. There were some okay individual performances and new players like Shelford Dais showed a good work ethic.
“Trent Buhagiar, with the A-League season around the corner, is scoring one or two a game which is an excellent confidence builder. He’s that dangerous at the moment that he’s getting four chances a game. Those are the positives on what was a really disappointing game.”
Central Coast Mariners Academy : 1. Adam Pearce (GK), 9. Shelford Dais, 4. Josh Forbes, 14. Nathan Verity, 11. Chris Hurley, 3. Reece Papadimitrios, 8. Adam Berry, 10. Ryan Peterson, 18. Steve Whyte, 12. Trent Buhagiar, 7. Lachlan Wales
Subs: 16. Cooper Buswell, 5. Daniel Tuddenham, 2. Cade Mapu, 20. Jack O’Mally (GK)
Yellow Cards: Trent Buhagiar 42’, Josh Forbes 30’
Red Cards: Reece Papadimitrios 73’
Coach: Ben Cahn
St George FC: 1. George Bouropoulos (GK), 3. Ali Nasreddine, 4. Jonathan Kontalis, 5. Billy Darwich, 6. Reuben Lagos, 7. Stefan De Jesus, 9. Stevan Ilic, 10. Nicolas Rouco, 11. W Hijaz, 13. Peter Vassillis, 16. T Menton, 17. Bruno Pivato, 18. Y Konagaya, 19. D Zakilas, 50. M. Stivic (GK), T. Buyukkopru
Yellow Cards: Jonathan Kontalis, T Menton, Bruno Pivato
Red Cards: B Darwich 42’
Coaches: Nass Martino and Ivo De Jesus
- 18s: WON 4-1 (Johnson, Andrews, Glassock, Lozada)
- 20s: LOST 3-1 (Pratt)
Congratulations to the female Central Coast Mariners Academy first grade side who picked up their first point of the season. They played out a 0-0 draw against Nepean FC at Cook Park.
The Central Coast Mariners Academy u18s and u20s will be in action midweek against Bankstown City Lions away at Jensen Park. Kick-off times are 6:30 for u18s and 8:30 for u20s.
All senior squads are away to Macarthur Rams next Saturday away at Lynwood Park. Kick off times:
- U18s: 3pm
- U20s: 5pm
- First Grade: 7pm