The Central Coast Mariners Academy kicked off their PS4 NPL2 campaign on the weekend against Bankstown City Lions at Pluim Park, Lisarow.
Central Coast Mariners 0 v Bankstown City 3 (Dean Bereveskos 41’, Grant Lynch 72’, Huseyin Jasli 80’ pen)
It was tough start to the season for the Central Coast Mariners Academy first team who suffered a 3-0 defeat at home to an experienced Bankstown City Lions outfit.
With only two players over the age of 21, it was a youthful line up including Hyundai A-League youngsters: Trent Buhagiar, Adam Berry and Tom Heward-Belle, with Bankstown City Lions starting with former Mariner, Michael Beauchamp.
It was a bright start for the Academy who had a good chance through left-winger Lachlan Wales who found the side netting in the second minute of play. Bankstown had a good chance to take an early lead when a great free kick was floated into the box, only to be headed wide.
It wasn't long before Wales was back in the thick of the action, making a break through the defence only to have his one-on-one shot sensationally blocked. It was an end-to-end affair for the first 25 minutes with both teams having a good amount of chances to take the lead.
Bankstown had a penalty shout turned down in the 25th minute when Beauchamp was pulled down in the box from a corner.
With both teams pushing hard for the opening goal of the 2016 season, it was Bankstown who had another great chance, when a curling shot was denied by a stunning diving save by Tom Heward-Belle.
With half time approaching, Bankstown hit the lead when Dean Bereveskos hit a sweet shot from just outside the box onto the crossbar and in.
Both teams came out firing in the second half and it wasn't long before Bankstown could've gone two ahead with Gerard Ouffoue getting in behind the Academy defence putting himself one-on-one with Heward-Belle, only to put his shot into the side netting.
The Lions were very close to doubling their lead once again 3 minutes later when a low cross was flicked on but it was Heward-Belle again who made a point blank save.
It seemed that the Mariners Academy had weathered the storm of Bankstown, when the middle stages of the second half seemed to even out. But it wasn't for long, when a free kick floated into the box and headed home by Grant Lynch who doubled the lead in the 72nd minute.
The Academy pushed hard to find a goal that would've kept them in the mix it but failed to find the back of the net. A tough night got even tougher when centre back and captain, Liam Odell brought down Bankstown City’s striker in the box. The penalty was slotted home to make it 3-0 to the visitors and victors, Bankstown City Lions.
Central Coast Mariners Academy will be back in action next Saturday afternoon against St. George at the St. George soccer stadium. CCMA’s Next home game is Saturday 19 March vs. Macarthur Rams, Pluim Park Lisarow, 6:30pm.
Special thanks to Academy Technical Director Ken Schembri, Football NSW and Bankstown City Lions Football Club for rescheduling the weekend’s fixtures so the Senior Academy teams could support the Mariners Hyundai A-League team vs. Melbourne Victory on Sunday Afternoon.
Central Coast Mariners Academy: 20. Thomas Heward-Belle 2. Brian Jamba 3. Reece Papadimitrios 6. Liam O’Dell (c) 7 Lachlan Wales 8. Adam Berry 10. Ryan Peterson 11. Christopher Hurley 12. Trent Buhagiar 14. Cooper Boswell (4. Joshua Forbes 46’) 18. Steve Whyte.
Bankstown City: 1. Dion Shaw 2. Todd Halloran 5. Michael Beauchamp (c) 8. Domenic Hudap 9. Gerard Ouffoue 10. Chris Gomez (20. Alvaro Malmierca 70’) 11. Huseyin Jasli 13. Daniel Alsaad (7. Joshua Brookes 83’) 14. Dean Bereveskos (22. Kyohei Kimura 83’) 16. Kojiro Hori 23. Grant Lynch.
Central Coast Mariners vs. Blacktown City
U18 WIN 5-3
U20 WIN 2-0
Tier 1 Youth Football results vs. Blacktown City FC