Honours Even in Junior Coastal Battle

The Central Coast Mariners and Gold Coast United have played out an entertaining 3-all draw in Round 2 of the National Youth League at Bluetongue Stadium.

The Central Coast Mariners and Gold Coast United have played out an entertaining 3-all draw in Round 2 of the National Youth League at Bluetongue Stadium.

For the young Mariners, captain Panny Nikas netted a brace with Adam Kwasnik completing the scoring, while for the visitors Chris Harold also notched a double with Reuben Way also getting his name on the score sheet.

The opening minutes can best be described as tentative as both sides struggled to get into a rhythm particularly with their passing games.

It was the visitors who calmed the nerves first opening the scoring in the 9th minute.

Reuben Way completed a regulation finish after the Mariners were dispossessed deep within their half.

Gold Coast almost doubled their advantage minutes later with only a fine save by goalkeeper Nik Matic denying Chris Harold.

To their credit the young Mariners began to press forward and were well rewarded in the 21st minute with Adam Kwasnik netting a fine goal from the edge of the penalty area, after some strong lead up work from midfield.

The momentum changed again shortly after when the visitors nearly netted a potential third with only the boot of David D-Apuzzo denying the Gold Coast attack.

Fortune swung the Mariners way in the 38th minute with captain Panny Nikas launching a 25-yard thunderbolt that had Robbie Bajic well and truly beaten.

The second half began with much more intensity as the young Mariners continued the attacking raids that had begun shortly before halftime.

Nikas had the first real chance of the second half when he just failed to connect with a well timed cross.

The Gold Coast counter attacked almost immediately with Luka Dukic showing true desperation to clear the ball of his line only sixty seconds later.

The relief was short-lived as Chris Harold notched a goal in the 54th minute and the scores were level again.

Brady Smith had a chance to put the home side ahead again on the hour mark but was unable to get a shot away under pressure.

Gold Coast United striker Harold put his side ahead, scoring his second in the 69th minute with a spectacular shot from thirty yards. It was a well-timed shot, and Mariners ‘keeper Matic could only watch as it sailed over his head.

David D-Apuzzo had the chance to make the scores level again minutes later but his shot sailed harmlessly wide.

As the match ticked down into its final minutes Ahmad Elrich hit the post as the Mariners searched for an equalizer.

In a match of high drama David D-Apuzzo was taken down in the box in the 92nd minute and the Mariners were awarded a penalty.

Nikas stepped up and drilled the ball low and to his right with a text-book penalty to ensure that for the second successive week the young Mariners would escape with a draw.

The Marines could have snatched all three points seconds later but a shot from Elrich sailed over the cross bar.

NYL Head Coach Tony Walmsley conceded the match was a fair result for his side.

"It was a fair result for us as the Gold Coast were clearly the better side in the first half," Walmsley said.

"It was a nervous start but that-s to be expected as the players are still getting used to a new level and new expectations.

"It was a heavy first half but a tactical switch to be more aggressive saw the tempo rise in the second half."

The Mariners- National Youth League campaign continues on Saturday, 3 October when they take on Sydney FC at Seymour Shaw Park. Kick off is at 3pm.

Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season are now available online by clicking here or by phoning 1300 767 442.

Match Details

Central Coast Mariners 20. Nik Matic (gk), 2. Ahmad Elrich, 4. Matthew Liddall (3. Jerry Kalouris 60-), 5. Luka Dukic, 6. Emmanuel Giannaros, 7. Matthew Lewis (11. Mitchell Mallia 62-), 8. Nick Fitzgerald (9. Gavin Forbes 62-), 10. Panny Nikas (c), 12. David D-Apuzzo, 14. Brady Smith 18. Adam Kwasnik.

Unused Subs 1. Matthew Ryan (gk)

Yellow Cards None Red Cards None Goals Kwasnik 21-, Nikas 36-, 90+2-

Gold Coast United 1 Robie Bajic (gk) (20. Timothy Anderson (gk) 58-) , 2. Steven Topalovic, 3. Ryan Mottin (12. Bobby Russell 58-), 4. Richard Greer (13. Callum Hare 58-), 5. Ben Wearing, 6. James Brown, 7. Zachary Anderson (c), 9. Chris Harold, 10. Koh Satake, 14. Joshua Brilliante ,15. Reuben Way (11. Ben Halloran 58-)

Unused Subs None

Yellow Cards Brown 31- Red Cards None Goals Way 10-, Harold 54-, 69-

Referee Stuart Wolfe