All guts, no Glory for Mariners’ youth

For the second time this season, Perth Glory has walked away from Pluim Park with a 1-nil victory, and consequently all three points against the Central Coast Mariners in the National Youth League, today’s win seeing them leapfrog the young Mariners to claim top spot on the table.

For the second time this season, Perth Glory has walked away from Pluim Park with a 1-nil victory, and consequently all three points against the Central Coast Mariners in the National Youth League, today-s win seeing them leapfrog the young Mariners to claim top spot on the table.

Andrija Jukic-s stunning first half strike was all that separated the two sides in the top-of-the table clash, in front of a healthy crowd on a drizzly morning.

"We squandered a lot of opportunities to win that game. One opportunist goal from them off a mistake, we had plenty of chances, but our execution in the final third wasn-t good enough," said Mariners- National Youth League head coach Tony Walmsley.

"We had a couple of golden opportunities, hit the post as well, but couldn-t put it in the net.

"Plenty to work on, but a big opportunity gone."

The home side took it to the youngsters from the West in the early stages, as skipper Panny Nikas, fresh from his debut Hyundai A-League appearance against Wellington Phoenix just three days earlier, saw an effort deflected wide for a corner.

Nigel Boogaard, who missed the Phoenix clash due to suspension, was next to test the Perth defence, showing good strength to turn in the box and shoot at Alex Pearson in the Glory goal.

Boogaard and fellow Hyundai A-League squad member Chris Doig showed their experience at the back soon after to combine in clearing a free kick, while on the break, the visitors were forced into some desperate defending after Nikas found his way into the box.

The good early work from Tony Walmsley-s young charges was tempered though on 16 minutes, as Andrija Jukic picked up a loose ball on the right edge of the area and sent a delightful curling, dipping, first time effort into the top left corner to give his side the advantage.

The Mariners didn-t stop pressing though, Nick Fitzgerald turned his man and squared the ball for Nikas, only for the captain to again be denied on the shot by more last gasp defending.

Former Mariner Glen Trifiro was causing problems, going on a run before sending an effort cannoning into the crossbar on 21 minutes, while at the other end, Shane Huke and Adam Kwasnik both went close in a mad goalmouth scramble, only for Kwasnik-s header to ultimately clear the bar.

Adam Taggart tried to chip Matthew Ryan after being put through by Trifiro but his shot went marginally wide, while there was more frustration for the hosts, who had yet another Nikas shot blocked, while Gavin Forbes couldn-t quite latch on to a rebound after Pearson parried a Huke effort.

Kwasnik saw back to back headers clear the crossbar then hit the woodwork as again luck deserted the yellow and navy, while a left footed thunderbolt from the Hyundai A-League marksman was somehow, yet brilliantly, saved by Pearson with one hand, ensuring the hosts would head into the sheds still down a goal.

Trifiro saw a shot deflected wide as the second half got underway while Kwasnik was trying hard to create chances, a touch marginally too heavy after latching onto a long ball.

Matthew Ryan did well to deny David Price after the substitute launched a stinging effort from outside the area just moments after being introduced, while a Mariners- replacement, Mitchell Mallia, also went close, forcing Pearson into a good save low at the near post after picking up a cut back from Kwasnik.

Ryan again kept the hosts in the match with an excellent one on one save to shut down Adam Taggart, and while Mallia and Kwasnik both had chances late on, the Mariners couldn-t find a way back in, and watched on in frustration as their grip at the top of the table slipped away.

"There are plenty of games left in the competition, we have to go to Perth and play them there, they have the wood on us at the moment but youth football is all about development, they have to learn. They-ve missed an opportunity to go five points clear, now they are one point behind, so there-s consequences for performance," said Walmsley.

A positive for Hyundai A-League football manager Lawrie McKinna would have been the sight of Scottish import Chris Doig back to fitness, getting through an assured hour-s display unscathed.

Walmsley said Youth League games serve an important purpose for fringe first team players.

"It-s not essential that they have an outstanding game for the Youth team, but they have to have the right intention and have to go about it the right way. (Chris) Doig, after two months out almost, did a great job, his leadership was on display for everyone to see and he got through a good hour. (Nigel) Boogaard worked his tail off in midfield, so overall it was a good outing for those guys.

"There were plenty of positives out of the game but you would expect with that much possession, that many goalscoring chances, most times you would win those games, but football is like that sometimes," said Walmsley.

The Mariners- next home match of the National Youth League 2009/10 season will be against the Australian Institute of Sport on Saturday, 9 January. Kick-off is at 4:15pm. Tickets are available online here or by phoning 132 849.

Match Details

Central Coast Mariners 1. Matthew RYAN (GK), 2. Nathan SHERLOCK, 3. Jerry KALOURIS, 8. Nick FITZGERALD (7. Brendan GRIFFIN 62-), 9. Gavin FORBES (11. Mitchell MALLIA 57-), 10. Panny NIKAS (C), 12. Shane HUKE (8. Nick FITZGERALD 70-), 15. Chris DOIG (6. Manny GIANNAROS 62-), 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 17. Matthew LEWIS, 18. Adam KWASNIK.

Unused Subs 20. Nik MATIC (GK).

Yellow Cards Fitzgerald 90+2- Red Cards None Goals None

Perth Glory 1. Alex PEARSON (GK), 2. Ryan PEARSON, 3. Steven HESKETH (C) (9. Brent GRIFFITHS 54-), 4. Sam MITCHINSON, 6. Dean EVANS, 7. Cameron EDWARDS (8. David PRICE 59-), 10. Andrija JUKIC (5. Joshua RISDON 59-), 11. Ludovic BOI, 12. Howard FONDYKE, 13. Adam TAGGART, 14. Glen TRIFIRO.

Unused Subs 20. Tim DOYLE (GK).

Yellow Cards Hesketh 43-, Fondyke 89-, Trifiro 90- Red Cards None Goals Jukic 16-

Referee Ryan SHEPHEARD