Mariners Youth ready for a red challenge

After a tough 2-1 win against Sydney FC last start, the Central Coast Mariners National Youth League team is chasing back-to-back wins for just the second time this campaign. Sunday’s matchup against Adelaide United is a challenge the Young Mariners are eagerly anticipating.

After a tough 2-1 win against Sydney FC last start, the Central Coast Mariners National Youth League team is chasing back-to-back wins for just the second time this campaign. Sunday-s matchup against Adelaide United is a challenge the Young Mariners are eagerly anticipating.

The Mariners did it the hard way against Sydney, relying on late goals from Mitchell Mallia and Bernie Ibini-Isei to get the points against a desperate Sky Blues outfit. The concentration displayed in the critical final minutes highlighted a steely resolve that belies their years. Clearly it was a game the Young Mariners wanted to win.

Captain Sam Munro was relieved to get the three points.

“It-s a huge relief to get that victory as it-s been a while since we last celebrated one. It-s a credit to all the boys, and now hopefully we can get a role on now and really get our season going.”

“When we weren-t winning, it was easy to lose confidence, and I think you could see it in our games. We just weren-t clicking together the way we should have been. In attack we couldn-t manage to hit the back of the net, and I think that frustrated us a lot. As a team we-re starting to come together nicely,” said Munro.

With player development being the overriding aim of all players in the National Youth League, the latest graduate from the National Youth League got his first taste of Hyundai A-League experience last week. After playing the first half against Gold Coast a fortnight ago Trent Sainsbury made his debut against the Newcastle Jets in the first F3 derby of the season. He joined three other National Youth League alumni in the squad; Mathew Ryan, Mustafa Amini and Matthew Lewis. It proves that the NYL is now a genuine pathway to professional football for Australia-s most talented prospects.

The team is attempting to mirror structures similar to the Hyundai A-League squad, with adjustments made according to the abilities of the personnel within the youth side. Coach Tony Walmsley concedes it is a work in progress.

“We work on support, ball speed, body shape; all the things that high level footballers need to deliver every time they-re involved in a game in possession. Out of possession we-re working on transition and getting a compact defence just the same as the first team,” Walmsley said.

The coach however couldn-t fault the efforts of his side against Sydney FC.

“I-m pleased for the lads because they have been working hard and haven-t had much luck in the early part of the season which led to a lack of confidence, and when we gave the goal away we were looking comfortable but the confidence dropped really quickly, but credit to them, they stuck at it and deserve everything they got,” said Walmsley.

The skipper agrees with his managers- assessment of the Young Mariners campaign thus far.

“I think our combinations are definitely getting better. Up front our passes are starting to find their target, and in defence we are defending with a much better structure.

“We-ve struggled to string together a full game this season. We-ve had a good first half and led 1-nil, and then lost concentration in the second and dropped the game,” said Munro.

When asked whether it was a concern about the Young Mariners defence leaking goals late in matches Munro didn-t mince words.

“I think it-s very much been a concentration issue. It-s a lesson we needed to learn. You can-t slacken off especially in the last 20 minutes, which we have tended to do. I think if we can perform for the full ninety minutes we will play to our potential.”

Adelaide United is having a similar season to the Young Mariners, and is desperate to get the points when the two sides meet at Budgewoi on Sunday. The visiting Reds won-t fear the prospect of travelling either, they are coming off their own 2-1 victory when they defeated the Brisbane Roar in Brisbane last start.

The Young Mariners are pleased the match is on their turf, even if the unseasonably wet weather has played havoc with their normal training preparations.

“It-s always nice playing at home. Budgewoi is a fantastic football ground, the turf is very smooth. The rain has disrupted training a little bit this week, but there-s no excuses. The boy-s are definitely ready to go for Sunday,” said Munro.

With three points on the line on Sunday morning, and with both sides coming off a win it should be an entertaining match.

Sunday-s clash with Adelaide United will be the 7th competitive meeting between the two teams.

Previous Meetings

Friday, 3 Oct 2008 - Central Coast Mariners 0, Adelaide United 3, Hindmarsh Stadium Saturday, 15 Nov 2008 - Central Coast Mariners 1, Adelaide United 6, Bluetongue Stadium Sunday, 25 Jan 2009 - Central Coast Mariners 0, Adelaide United 2, Bluetongue Stadium Friday, 11 Sep 2009 - Central Coast Mariners 1, Adelaide United 1, Hindmarsh Stadium Sunday, 1 Nov 2009 - Central Coast Mariners 2, Adelaide United 1, McKellar Park Friday, 15 Jan 2010 - Central Coast Mariners 0, Adelaide United 0, Hindmarsh Stadium

Central Coast Mariners squad: Nik MATIC (gk), David BRADASEVIC (gk), Sam MUNRO (c), Marc WARREN, Sam GALLAGHER, Mitchell DUKE, Nick FITZGERALD, Zac FREEBURN, Max GLANVILLE, Nathan JAGELMAN, Jerry KALOURIS, Mitchell MALLIA, Alex MANSUETO, Jimmy OATES, Adam ORMSBY.

Unavailable: Brady SMITH (knee - season), Nikola STANOJEVIC (groin - 12 weeks), Brendan GRIFFIN (ankle - 4 weeks).

Adelaide United squad: Jordan ELSEY, Jackson GROVES, Matthew HALLIDAY, Kym HARRIS, Evan KOSTOPOULOS, Perry MITRIS, Francesco MONTEROSSO, Matthew MULLEN, Nick MUNRO (gk), Mitch NICHOLSON, Bradley NORTON, Luke OSTBYE (gk), Brett RAYNER, Daniel SCORDO, Jordan SPADEVECCHIA, Allan WELSH *one to be omitted*

Unavailable: Liam WOODING (illness - indefinite)

Referee: Matthew Cropper

The Central Coast Mariners National Youth League team is in action this Sunday, 5 December when it takes on Adelaide United at Budgewoi Soccer Club, Budgewoi. Kick-off is at 10:00am AEST.