The Central Coast Mariners secured a 2-1 win in a behind closed doors friendly against the Young Socceroos today at Central Coast Stadium.
A Jake McGing header looked certain to cancel out a solo strike from Bai Antoniou before Tom Lyons from the Mariners Academy made himself known with almost the final kick of the game to slide home a classy finish and a win for the Mariners.
Lyons has captained the under 20s academy side for most of the PS4 NPL 2 season before earning a regular place in the academy’s first team over the past month.
For the second time this pre-season, Trent Buhagiar and Liam Rose played against the Yellow & Navy as a part of the Under 20s most recent training camp.
Paul Okon’s Young Socceroos are in preparations for the AFF U19 Championship (11-24 September in Hanoi) and AFC U19 Championship (13-30 October in Bahrain) with the ultimate goal to qualify for the FIFA U20 World Cup in 2017.
After an even opening 20 minutes, Young Socceroos opened the scoring thanks to a screamer from Antoniou who shot into the top corner, giving Necevski no chance in goals.
Necevski, Pain, Powell, Faty, Tavares, Neill, Appiah & Montgomery were all substituted in the second half with a range of academy players and trilaists featuring for the Mariners.
Buhagiar and Rose started the second half for the Young Socceroos and Buhagiar wasted no time getting involved. The speedster made his way down the right wing and found himself in a position to shoot but his strike was saved by Necevski. With 10 minutes to play Buhagiar went close again but Paul Izzo was on hand this time to shut down the danger.
Jake McGing levelled proceedings in the 75th minute from a corner. Playing as a central midfielder, McGing jumped above the pack from a set piece and headed home to make it 1-1 with 15 minutes to go.
After subbing on in the second half, Lyons made a clever run down the left and found himself with a one-on-one opportunity that he slotted home with composure to seal a pre-season win at Central Coast Stadium.
Central Coast Mariners starting team: Ivan NECEVSKI, Nick MONTGOMERY, Jacques FATY, Mickey NEILL, Mickael TAVARES, Jacke McGING, Kwabena APPIAH, Blake POWELL, Connor PAIN, Matthew FLETCHER
Young Socceroos (first half): Delianov, Mutch, Flottman, Timotheou, Bandiera, Baccus, Pandurevic, Shabow, Antoniou, Maia, Prasad
Young Socceroos (second half): Sozer. Vella, Ensor, Rowles, O’Toole, L.Rose, Buhagiar, Youlley Lokoli Ngoy, Mells, Champness