Mariners Youth follow the lead into second spot

On the same afternoon as the Central Coast Mariners Hyundai A-League side went a step closer to securing second spot for the 2010/11 season, the Mariners Youth side has consolidated its place in the top two with a 3-1 win over fellow high flyer Sydney FC.

On the same afternoon as the Central Coast Mariners Hyundai A-League side went a step closer to securing second spot for the 2010/11 season, the Mariners Youth side has consolidated its place in the top two with a 3-1 win over fellow high flyer Sydney FC.

Two goals to Mitchell Duke and a screamer to Jimmy Oates means Tony Walmsley-s side is still a chance of overhauling Gold Coast United and sealing back-to-back minor premierships with two games still remaining in the campaign.

“I-m very proud of this team, to turn in a performance like they did today in this heat was superb,” said Mariners Head Coach Tony Walmsley.

“For the most part there was only one team in it and credit to Mitchell Duke, he thoroughly deserved his two goals, he was excellent again today, as was Matthew Lewis at left-back.”

It was a stifling Marconi Stadium which greeted the two sides, despite the kick-off time being pushed back two hours to account for the 40 degree temperatures gripping Sydney, and it the Mariners were looking to turn up the heat early on, as Nick Fitzgerald showed fast feet on the edge of the penalty area on the quarter hour, before flashing his shot wide with Sky Blues goalkeeper Aaron Liddell left rooted to the spot.

The opening goal was only six minutes away though, as quick distribution from goalkeeper David Bradasevic released Duke who advanced downfield virtually unchallenged and finished with a well-hit low drive from 20 metres.

Oates doubled the advantage ten minutes from the break scoring in similar fashion to the opener. A quick transition from defence to attack resulted in Oates letting fly from the edge of the area with his superbly hit shot leaving Liddell with no chance.

Any hopes of a comeback by the home team were ended almost immediately upon the restart as Duke scored his second with yet another perfect low striker-s finish with Liddell left exposed.?Matthew Lewis almost had the Sky Blues once again red-faced with his incisive run ending with a shot that fizzed past the post.

Oates skied over after being left clear at a Fitzgerald corner, while substitute Max Glanville produced an excellent one-handed stop as the Mariners threatened to run riot.

A disappointing Sydney FC rarely looked likely so score with striker Justin Hayward blazing a rare opportunity over with only the goalkeeper to beat.

The Sky Blues secured a consolation just prior to the end with Brendan Gan rising above a static Mariners defence to nod home a well-flighted free kick played in from the right.

There was still time however for Sydney to earn a penalty with Gan bundled over only for Bradasevic to pull off a fine stop from Blake Powell-s spot-kick.

“We gifted them what was probably a soft goal near the end and then they had the chance to peg back to 3-2 despite never really being in the contest, so we need to get better at closing out games.

“We could have scored 5 or 6 again today but it was still a fantastic effort from the lads, top two is our goal but we won-t give up on catching Gold Coast until it-s mathematically impossible,” said Walmsley.

Match Details

Sydney FC 1 (Gan 86-) Central Coast Mariners 3 (Duke 21-/47- Oates 35-)

Referee: Matthew Cropper