Mariners Youth come up short

The Central Coast Mariners National Youth League side has watched a one goal lead slip away to a spirited 2-1 loss to Gold Coast United in the opening match of the 2010/11 campaign at Southport this afternoon.

The Central Coast Mariners National Youth League side has watched a one goal lead slip away to a spirited 2-1 loss to Gold Coast United in the opening match of the 2010/11 campaign at Southport this afternoon.

Bernie Ibini opened the scoring for the season 22 minutes in but two late goals to the hosts ensured the young Mariners would head home empty handed.

"I-m reasonably happy with the performance because we never looked in too much trouble, apart from at set pieces," said Mariners Head Coach Tony Walmsley.

"On the downside though, I don-t think we worked hard enough to get something out of the game which is a major disappointment."

The Mariners looked well organized in the opening 45 minutes after strong hit-outs against a Riverina Select XI and the AIS in a truncated pre-season, and held possession for long periods.

Early on, Marc Warren sent in a cross that spilled out to Brady Smith whose shot was saved well by United custodian Scott Higgins - but a few minutes later the Mariners found their opening.

Maintaining their pressure, the Mariners sent in a cross, which met by Chris Doig, whose header hit the crossbar and rebounded to Ibini-Isei, the 18-year-oldmaking no mistake with the scraps and put his side ahead.

The best chance for the home side came with ten minutes remaining ‘til the break, captain Steven Lustica earning a free kick from the corner of the 18-yard box and finding unmarked Zac Anderson, who could not keep his free header down.

Gold Coast came out firing in the second half though, as they looked to claw their way back into the contest, with Mitchell Bevan firing wide from the edge of the area.

Not long after, the Mariners found themselves back on level terms, as Ben Wearing leaped highest to beat goalkeeper Nik Matic to a corner, and head home from six yards.

Gold Coast continued to pile on the pressure and in the 77th minute it paid dividends, as a lovely run from winger Ben Halloran saw him cut into the middle of the park from the left before launching a shot right at Matic.

But Matic couldn-t hold onto Halloran-s drive and the ball spilled into the path of Chris Harold, who was there to tap in his first goal of the new campaign.

"We-ve had a shortened Pre-Season but that-s no excuse. We have been a little bit slow out of the blocks but we have the weekend off next week and six sessions to turn things around and get ourselves ready for a home match against the AIS.

"I have confidence in the squad that they can turn it around and get our first points on the board," Walmsley said.

Match Details

Gold Coast United Youth 2 (Wearing 66-, Halloran 77-) Central Coast Mariners 1 (Bernie Ibini 22-)

Gold Coast United Youth: 20.Scott HIGGINS (OA) (gk), 2.Josh BRILLANTE, 3.Mitchell BEVAN, 5.Ben WEARING, 6.Koh SATAKE (9.Chris HAROLD 46-), 7.Zac ANDERSON (4.Neko VUJEVICH 59-), 8.Steven LUSTICA (c), 10.Chris BROADFOOT (OA), 11.Ben HALLORAN, 12.Bas VAN DEN BRINK (OA), 15.Matija SIMIC (14.Mitch COOPER 59-).

Unused subs: 1.Tim ANDERSON (gk).

Yellow cards: Broadfoot 45+1-, Wearing 61-. Red cards: Nil.

Central Coast Mariners Youth: 1.Nikodin MATIC (gk), 2.Nikola STANOJEVIC, 6.Sam MUNRO (c) (7.Brendan GRIFFIN 60-), 8.Nick FITZGERALD (10.Mitchell DUKE 59-), 9.Bernie IBINI-ISEI (11.Mitchell MALLIA 59-), 12.Matthew LEWIS, 14.Brady SMITH, 16.Mustafa AMINI, 17.Sam GALLAGHER, 18.Marc WARREN, 19.Chris DOIG (OA).

Unused subs: 20.David BRADASEVIC (gk).

Yellow cards: None. Red cards: None.

Referee: Matthew GILLETT