Mariners Academy PS4 NPL 2 Preview

The Central Coast Mariners Academy will be looking to get back into the winner’s circle this Saturday evening when they face the Mt Druitt Town Rangers away from home in the PS4 NPL 2.

Despite another impressive performance, it was a disappointing result in last week’s game against North Shore. Cahn’s side will be looking to bounce back at Popendetta Park, with kick off set for 7pm.

Head Coach Ben Cahn will be hoping his side can start turning his side’s attractive football into points on the league table.

The talented young Mariners last weekend stumbled to a 4-3 defeat to North Shore Mariners after holding a 3-2 lead with just seven minutes remaining. Unfortuantely for the Mariners, set pieces proved to be their undoing against a physical North Shore side.

But despite their precarious position, Cahn remains upbeat about his side's potential. 

"We were by far the better team (against North Shore), we missed a host of goals and they scored four goals from four chances," Cahn told Football NSW. "I'm speechless to be honest. They (North Shore) turned up and played very little football.

"We're really disappointed. Every week we play better football than the opposition, we play really well. We dominate but we get out-thought. This week we actually won the fight and North Shore were really uncomfortable dealing with how we played. We defended comfortably from open play and they posed us no threat at all.

"To be 3-2 up with seven minutes to go and to be in complete control of the game for 83 minutes was a real hard one to take. I still believe that we're one of the better sides in the league. If we can just get those one per centers right there's no reason why we can't get a run of eight, nine, ten wins because we haven't played a team yet that I don't think we can't beat. We're just lacking that depth, that experience, that maturity. So hopefully it's not long before someone looks down on us and gives us a little bit of luck."

Popondetta Park is always a difficult place to get a result and the young Mariners will need to be at their best to pick up points.

Central Coast Mariners Academy Goalkeeper, Adam Pearce seconded Cahn’s sentiment and says that the side are in high spirits.

“We are obviously disappointed with the result last weekend, but there were again plenty of positives to take from the performance,” Pearce said. “We know what we need to work on to turn our season around.

“We just need to stay switched on at dead ball scenarios. We let ourselves down last weekend by conceding three goals from corners, and as a squad we know what is required of us.

The Academy will need to be strong from the get go, with Mount Druitt coming off a solid 3-1 win against St.George last weekend, which saw them jump from 8th position to 4th on the ladder.

Former Western Sydney Wanderers Academy attacker Lachlan Roberts has hit form recently and is definitely the man to watch for the Town Rangers.

For the Academy however, Duncan Stewart is in a rich vein of form, scoring seven goals in the first 10 rounds of this year’s competition. Stewart, who also grabbed a number of goals in the Foxtel National Youth League season, sits second in the golden boot standings.

In a welcome addition for the Mariners, defender Shelford Dais will this weekend return from suspension, to bolster the defensive stocks for Cahn’s men. The former Brisbane Roar FNYL player of the year received his fifth yellow card and was forced to sit out the Mariners Derby last weekend, but is keen to be back out on the park this weekend.

“It is always disappointing to miss any game, let alone when it is through suspension, Dais said. “It was good to have a weekend off in a way to freshen up but I am looking forward to this weekend’s game.

“We just need to trust the process and keep playing the way we have been, and the results will come. We just need to tighten up in defence especially off set pieces, because we know we are going to score goals,” Dais said.

The Mariners Academy sit just four points outside the top six, and a win against the 4th placed Rangers this weekend could go a long way to making a charge for finals football.  

Our undefeated U18s will get the ball rolling at 3pm, while the U20s will kick off at 5pm. Entry is free.