Appiah-Kubi strike secures point

Central Coast Mariners have drawn 1-1 with Newcastle Jets in the opening round of the 2011/12 National Youth League played at Pluim Park, Lisarow this evening.

Central Coast Mariners have drawn 1-1 with Newcastle Jets in the opening round of the 2011/12 National Youth League played at Pluim Park, Lisarow this evening.

Kwabena Appiah-Kubi-s 60th minute strike cancelled out Chris Payne-s 18th minute opener for the Jets, as coach Tony Walmsley tinkered with his line-up throughout.

After the game, Walmsley expressed his delight that after a “patchy” opening stanza, his players delivered a more fluent second 45.

“It had its positive elements,” Walmsley said. “It probably didn-t live up to the expectations I had before the game, but it-s the first game of the season.”

“Some of the boys started a bit tentative and a bit nervous but to their credit they came out in the second half with a much better frame of mind and delivered.”

The Mariners started the match the better of the two sides, with Mustafa Amini looking the most likely to break the deadlock early on.

The Yellow and Navy fan favourite shot twice from range in early proceedings, however his efforts were well smothered by the Jets defence.

On 18 minutes, the Jets would score with their first real opportunity of the game. Lazy defending down the Mariners right side resulted in the ball being fired across goal, with Payne hitting a well angled drive past Mariners custodian Dylan Mitchell.

The Jets then began to take ownership of the first half, with overage player Mario Simic launching a powerful effort over Mitchell-s bar in the 26th minute, while James Virgili had a shot well blocked by Sam Gallagher just five minutes later.

Walmsley decided to bring on livewire forward Kwabena Appiah-Kubi at the interval, and the tactical decision paid dividends for the team 15 minutes into the second half.

Enterprising play through the heart of midfield by Amini released Appiah-Kubi, whose low right foot shot comfortably beat Jack Duncan in the Jets- goal.

Clearly inspired by his first goal in the National Youth League, Appiah-Kubi became a thorn in the side of the Jets defenders.

His pace and sheer eagerness to contribute to the Mariners cause spurred on the Yellow and Navy as they sought a winner in the junior F3 Derby.

Indeed, it was Appiah-Kubi who cut open the Jets defence to create an opportunity for Mitchell Duke on 70 minutes. Duke-s effort was only denied by some fantastic last ditch defending by the retreating Jets defence.

Mariners captain Jimmy Oates had the final chance to score a winner for the Mariners when he launched a powerful shot at goal from 25 yards in injury time. Unfortunately for Oates and his Mariners teammates, Duncan was up to the task as he spectacularly palmed the ball away for a corner.

The Mariners NYL team will play their next game against Perth Glory Youth on Sunday 30 October at Pluim Park. The match will kick-off at 11am.

Match Details Central Coast Mariners (Youth) 1 (Appiah-Kubi 60-) Newcastle Jets (Youth) 1 (Payne 18-)

Central Coast Mariners (Youth): 1. Dylan MITCHELL (GK), 2. Nikola STANOJEVIC, 3. Trent SAINSBURY, 5. Nicholas LITTLER, 6. Anthony CACERES, 7. Sam GALLAGHER (12. Hayden MORTON 46-), 8. James OATES (c), 10. Mitchell DUKE, 11. Mustafa AMINI (4. Zachary FREEBURN 60-), 15. Brad MCDONALD, 16. Justin HAYWARD (9. Kwabena APPIAH-KUBI 46-)

Subs not Used: 20. David BRADASEVIC (GK)

Newcastle Jets (Youth): 1. Jack DUNCAN, 2. Daniel LAIMAN (13. Scott PETTIT 56-), 3. Mario SIMIC, 4. David VRANKOVIC, 5. Samuel GALLAWAY, 6. Jacob PEPPER, 7. James VIRGILI, 8. Kyle EWART, 9. Chris PAYNE, 10. Andrew HOOLE (14. Nick COWBURN 61-), 11. David TALEVSKI (12. Kale BRADBURY 61-)

Subs not Used: 20. Luke TURNBULL (GK)

Referee: Andrew HIGGINS