Mariners Youth to put coastal pride on the line

For the second time this season the Central Coast Mariners National Youth League side will lock horns with Gold Coast United, in what has fast become one of the more intense rivalries in the competition. The Mariners head into Saturday’s showdown at Budgewoi battle-hardened after a tough 1-all away draw to Brisbane Roar last start.

For the second time this season the Central Coast Mariners National Youth League side will lock horns with Gold Coast United, in what has fast become one of the more intense rivalries in the competition. The Mariners head into Saturday-s showdown at Budgewoi battle-hardened after a tough 1-all away draw to Brisbane Roar last start.

Mitchell Duke opened the scoring in just the second minute against Brisbane Roar, and the Young Mariners controlled the tempo of the game before a late equaliser from Brisbane saw the match end in a draw.

“The signs are very good,” said Mariners Head Coach Tony Walmsley after the match.

“Our combinations are getting better by the day, we had a lot of players still on State League duty until quite late in the Pre-Season, but on the back of last week-s win over Melbourne, and today-s game, I-m confident we can be a force this season.”

Budgewoi is a long way away from Zibo, China, and the returning players from the AFC U19 Championships will all be fighting for selection in the coming weeks.

After falling short at the final hurdle to a determined North Korean side in the final, and securing a berth at the FIFA U20 World Cup to be held in Columbia; the Young Mariners quartet of Mustafa Amini, Sam Gallagher, Nikola Stanojevic and Marc Warren can now turn their attention to the National Youth League.

In their five previous clashes against Gold Coast United, it is the visitors who hold a 2-1 margin in the head-to-head battle. The Mariners will be desperate to right that statistic when the two teams meet at Budgewoi on Saturday afternoon.

Gold Coast United are the early front-runners of the season. As defending champions they have taken maximum points from their three matches to date. A 2-1 victory over the Central Coast side in round one was followed by a 4-0 win over Sydney FC, a postponed match against the Melbourne Victory and a 2-1 victory last start against second place Newcastle Jets.

The Young Mariners form in contrast has been patchy as they settle into the rhythm of the season. The first-up loss to Gold Coast United was followed by a 2-nil loss to the AIS, a 2-ni win over Melbourne Victory, and a 1-all draw to Brisbane Roar.

Though they currently sit in seventh position on the ladder with four points, the signs from the Mariners have been encouraging as they seek to build on the form that took them to the premiership in season 2009/10.

Historically, matches between the two sides tend to produce many goals. In the five games to date there has been 24 goals scored at a staggering average of 4.8 a game.

While this statistic may suggest otherwise, these games have also produced some stunning saves from the goalkeepers, and some brilliant examples of defence.

Both sides have shown they can fight for the full 90 minutes. Saturday afternoon is unlikely to be any different.

The Central Coast Mariners National Youth League team continue their 2010/11 campaign against Gold Coast United this Saturday 23rd October at Budgewoi Soccer Club. Kick-off is at 3:00pm AEST.

Saturday-s game against Gold Coast United will be the 6th competitive clash between the two clubs.

Previous Meetings

Saturday, 19 Sep 2009 - Central Coast Mariners 3, Gold Coast United 3, Bluetongue Stadium Sunday, 6 Dec 2009 - Central Coast Mariners 5, Gold Coast United 2, Southport Tigers Friday, 22 Jan 2010 - Central Coast Mariners 2, Gold Coast United 2, Bluetongue Stadium Saturday 13 Mar 2010 - Central Coast Mariners 1, Gold Coast 3, Pluim Park* Saturday 18 Sep 2010 - Central Coast Mariners 1, Gold Coast 2, Owen Park Southport

* Denotes semi-final meeting

Central Coast Mariners squad: Mustafa AMINI, David BRADASEVIC (gk), Chris DOIG (OA), Mitchell DUKE, Nick FITZGERALD, Sam GALLAGHER, Max GLANVILLE, Brendan GRIFFIN, Bernie IBINI-ISEI, Nathan JAGELMAN, Jerry KALOURIS, Matthew LEWIS, Mitchell MALLIA, Alex MANSUETO, Nik MATIC (gk), Sam MUNRO (c), Jimmy OATES, Adam ORMSBY, Marc WARREN. *four to be omitted*

Unavailable: Brady SMITH (knee - season), Nikola STANOJEVIC (groin - indefinite)

Gold Coast United Youth squad: Tim ANDERSON [gk], Josh BRILLANTE, Neko VUJEVICH, Ben WEARING, Koh SATAKE, Zac ANDERSON, Chris HAROLD, Bobby RUSSELL, Ben HALLORAN, Elliot RONTO, Mitch COOPER, Matija SIMIC, Steven LUSTICA, Luke MUIR [gk]. *one to be added*

Unavailable: Mitchell BEVAN (hamstring injury - 2 weeks)

Referee: Stephen LUCAS