Mariners Academy: Finals locked in after big day of results

There was plenty of action at Pluim Park on Sunday afternoon, including a seven-goal game as our Men’s first grade side kept their grip on first and our Women’s team secured finals football for the third year in a row.

 

NPL2 sponsored by State Road Constructions |

A win early in the weekend hoisted NWS Spirit above Nick Montgomery’s side on the table of the NPL2 NSW, but a thumping win against St. George on Sunday lifted our Men’s Academy team back to the top of the table.

Having now scored 34 goals in nine matches, the Mariners wasted no time getting started on Sunday with Mikey Katsoulis teeing up Matthew Cahill for the opener before he was involved again, this time with a hockey assist as Harry McCarthy laid the ball off for Harrison Steele’s strike.

Katsoulis’ corner created the third for Damian Tsekenis to head past the St. George goalkeeper, while Max Balard struck the post as Monty’s side went in search of more goals.

Balard again hit the frame of goal early in the second half, but Tsekenis picked up where he left off to begin the second stanza, heading home a cross from Louis Khoury and then being played in by Katsoulis again to score.

Cameron Windust added the sixth and although there was a consolation goal at the end for St. George, a dominant performance mostly pleased Monty at the end of the day.

“Coming up to the bye weekend we knew how important it was to get 3 points,” he said.

“To do it in such emphatic fashion showed great character and we could probably have won by more, and were unlucky to have a goal ruled out too.”

“I’m happy with the result but still disappointed that we conceded a goal late in the game that cost us a clean sheet. I’m always demanding concentration from the players so those lapses are frustrating.”

Cahill and Tsekenis now occupy the top two spots in the golden boot race with nine and eight goals respectively, and Montgomery highlighted the contribution of a stacked forward line this season.

“[Damian] Tsekenis has had to be patient but with Jordan Smylie injured who was having a fantastic season, he took his chances the last few games and has scored five in that span. But with those guys, plus Matt and Alou we have plenty of competition for places which is healthy.”

A bye week now approaches this weekend, with an in-house game planned as Monty seeks the return of a number of injured players ahead of a blockbuster final round clash with Bonnyrigg at Pluim.

1st Grade: Central Coast Mariners 6 (Matthew Cahill, Harrison Steele, Damian Tsekenis (3), Cameron Windust) def. St. George 1

U/20’s: Central Coast Mariners 2 def. St. George 0

 

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A narrow win against SD Raiders secured an important three points for Dan Barrett and the Women’s Academy side on Sunday as they secured a spot in the NPL2 NSW Women’s top four.

There were chances at both ends in a tough encounter and Raiders came close as they crashed an effort off the upright, but the Mariners took the lead late as Betsy Blackwood fired home with twenty minutes to play.

A big run forward from Liz Shorter created the chance and after getting in behind the Raiders’ backline her cross found Blackwood at the back post, and with her initial effort saved by the goalkeeper she reacted first to poke the loose ball home and put her side ahead.

After a four game winless run halted their early season form the Mariners have bounced back in recent weeks and Barrett said post-game that he is pleased with where the side is at heading towards finals.

“I have gained a lot of confidence from our last two matches in particular,” he said.

The squad really reminds me of the first squad I put together here.”

“That team was built on organisation and effort, no flashy stuff, and everyone putting in to do the hard stuff.”

“That’s what I have seen from this group the last two weeks and the way I see it, teams like that win finals.”

Barrett’s team now have a fortnight off with byes before finals, and they will learn their opponents for the semi-final over that time.

1st Grade: Central Coast Mariners 1 (Betsy Blackwood 70’) def. SD Raiders 0

Reserves: Central Coast Mariners 7 def. SD Raiders 0