WITH just five games remaining in the 2011/12 National Youth League (NYL) season, Central Coast Mariners youth – like their senior team counterparts – are well positioned to claim the premiership crown.
WITH just five games remaining in the 2011/12 National Youth League (NYL) season, Central Coast Mariners youth - like their senior team counterparts - are well positioned to claim the premiership crown.
This Friday, the league leading junior Yellow and Navy play their penultimate home match of the NYL campaign at Pluim Park, Lisarow against Brisbane Roar in an enticing warm-up to Saturday-s Hyundai A-League fixture between the two clubs.
Sitting atop the standings with 28 points from 13 games, Mariners Youth team Head Coach Tony Walmsley said his side achieved one of its season goals following their dominant 4-0 win over the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) on Saturday.
“One of our targets at the start of the campaign was to concede equal or less goals than games played and our result over the AIS on the weekend made that a reality for the time being,” Walmsley said.
“Now the challenge is for the team to finish the season strongly. We know if we can keep it tight at the back then we are a good chance of winning the league.”
The baby Mariners met Brisbane Roar Youth in week 9 of the NYL on December 17 in their final fixture before the competitions- Christmas break. On that occasion, the boys in orange edged the Mariners 1-0 courtesy of a second half strike by former Mariner Nick Fitzgerald.
Walmsley-s team wasn-t without its chances that day, however, and he believes the match could have ended differently had his teams finishing been more clinical.
“Roar youth are a good side and it-s no fluke that they are sitting third in the competition,” he said. “But we didn-t have our shooting boots on that day. At Pluim Park we have shown we are a very tough outfit - we haven-t lost there in 2012 and we are eager to extend that run.”
Indeed, Pluim Park has proven to be an extremely happy hunting ground for Mariners youth this season. In seven matches at the complex Central Coast have lost just once.
And with five wins from as many matches in 2012, few would bet against Central Coast youth extending their stellar run in front of local football enthusiasts in Friday-s meeting between two of Australia's top junior football teams.
Match Details NYL: Central Coast Mariners vs. Brisbane Roar Friday 3 February, 2012 - 5:30pm Pluim Park, Lisarow Entry: Free Twitter: Join the conversation on Twitter. The official hash tag for the match is #NYLccmbri