The in-form Central Coast Mariners Academy NPL side faces Blacktown Spartans this Sunday at Pluim Park.
Goals from Lachlan Wales, Duncan Stewart and Brenton Fox were enough for our Academy boys to overcome the first placed Marconi Stallions 3-1 on Sunday afternoon.
The win was the side's fourth straight, and sees our boys jump into 5th position. Another win this weekend could see them go as high as 2nd place on the NSW NPL2 ladder.
Despite sitting in 13th place, the recently relegated Blacktown Spartans were comfortably placed inside the top 3 until they were deducted points in round 11 for fielding an eligible player in the early rounds of this years competition.
The Spartans were defeated 3-1 by competition surprise packet St. George on Saturday night, marking an unwanted streak, now having lost their last five consecutive games.
Despite the losing run, Spartans attacker Mohamad Rahimi has been in form in front of goals this season, scoring 7 goals in his first 13 games, and will no doubt be looking to take his tally close to double figures in this weekends fixture.
After signing his maiden A-League contract at the conclusion of the 2016/17 Hyundai A-League season, gloveman Adam Pearce will enjoy a three week break to refresh himself before the commencement of pre-season training, meaning 17 year old Aidan Munford will debut in goals for the Academy after performing well in the u20’s.
Player in Focus: James Enticknap
In a young and enthusiastic squad, it is always important to have a number of senior leaders. Since returning to Australian Shores late last year, James Enticknap has slotted into the heart of Ben Cahn’s midfield, and this week we caught up with the former Brentford Academy man.
"When I returned home from Brentford, coach Ben Cahn gave me an opportunity to play on the Coast for the NYL season. Ive known him for a while as he coached me back in Queensland and it was a 'no-brainer' to join the Mariners. This club has a great history and has always fast tracked youngsters when they think they are doing well, so it was an easy decision for me to come and so far I’ve loved every minute down here."
When asked about the teams stunning form over the past month, ‘Jimmy’ labelled it as just desserts.
"We have been playing good football all year, and in this past month we have really showed that we can beat any side in the competition. After ten rounds it wasn’t looking pretty, but we always knew that we would start to get positive results sooner rather then later."
"We were very fragile in defence and were conceding to many goals in the first 10 rounds of the season, but Cahn and his assistant Will Vasquez stuck at it every morning at training and now we are paying them back with our good form."
"We changed our formation and shape, and a lot of teams can’t really contain us for large periods of the match. There is still a long way to go and lots to improve on, but we are all confident that we will be there come semi final time."
"This weekend will be a tough and physical game, we just have to continue our good form by being strong in defence and ruthless in attack. We are confident we can get the result but we are making sure it stays at confidence and not cockiness because thats when things can easily go back downhill."
Enticknap was quick to praise one youngster who recently moved up into the first grade squad after a minor injury to Reece Papadimitrios.
"We have had young Michael Glassock join us in recent weeks, and he has done a great job. He was captaining the Under 20’s squad and was playing really well. For a 17 year old, he is confident in his own ability, and has walked straight into the squad and made the centre back position his own. He is a great leader and isn’t afraid to steer the ship form the back and that is what is needed in a defender. I believe he has a bright future and that this is only the start for him." he concluded.
Again, our Under 18’s remained undefeated, beating second placed Marconi 4-0, while the Under 20’s went down 2-1.
Kick off for this weekends games against the Spartans are as follows:
Sunday 11th June, Pluim Park
- U18’s: 11pm
- U20’: 1pm
- First Grade: 3pm