First half goals to playmakers Marcus Schroen and Benjamin Garrucio helped Melbourne Heart claim a comfortable 2-0 win in their Foxtel National Youth League encounter against the last-placed Central Coast Mariners.
First half goals to playmakers Marcus Schroen and Benjamin Garrucio helped Melbourne Heart claim a 2-0 win in their Foxtel National Youth League encounter against Central Coast Mariners on Saturday.
The result secured the Heart their third win of the season but a 5-3 victory for the AIS earlier in the day in Adelaide meant the youngsters in red and white stayed in eighth spot on the ladder while Patrick Zwaanswijk-s men are still seeking a maiden triumph after 10 rounds.
For the first time this season the Mariners fielded a team entirely made up of players 21 years and under whilst the Heart sent down three Hyundai A-League players in the form of former Mariner Dylan Macallister, livewire Golgol Mebrahtu and defender Sam Mitchinson.
Macallister and Mebrahtu were heavily involved early and it was no surprise when 31-year-old Macallister had one of the final touches before the Mariners failed to clear out an early Heart attacking raid ball only for Garrucio's shot from close range to clip the underside of the crossbar and nestle in the net for a 1-0 lead after 13 minutes.
Mariners skipper Josh Bingham and Steve Whyte tried hard to bring the Mariners back into contention as the first half wore on with a handful of good passages of play but were unable to breach the Heart's defence.
Schroen, who was one of the Victorian side's best, connected with a Mebrahtu corner in the 38th minute as he outleapt the Mariners defence to head home the visitor-s second.
The Mariners best chance on goal for the match came with the final kick of the first half when Heart goalkeeper Marko Stevanja encroached out of the top of his penalty area whilst in possession of the ball.
Bingham blasted the ensuing free kick at the Heart goal but Stevanja was able to deflect the hard shot over the cross bar.
The Mariners best second half chances came in close proximity when a long-range attempt from in front via Patrick Dixon rattled the bar in the 69th minute. Barely a minute later Bingham should have done better with a free kick attempt from near the left edge of the penalty area which sailed well over the cross bar.
Schroen, formerly of Dutch side Den Bosch, returned to the field in the 73rd minute after having earlier been substituted to cause the Mariners trouble late in the encounter.
However despite attempts from Schroen and substitute Stipo Andrijasevic Joe Palatsides- side couldn't add to their first half score but eased to victory.
Melbourne Heart Youth 2 (Garrucio 13', Schroen 38') Central Coast Mariners Youth 0 Central Coast Mariners Centre of Excellence, Tuggerah
Central Coast Mariners Youth: 12.Tonu Liiband (Gk), 2.Jacob Esposito (16 Daniel McFarlane 61'), 3. Joshua Forbes, 6. Jesse Curran (15. Lachlan Everitt 46'), 8. Nathan Verity, 9.Patrick Dixon, 10. Dominic Ferguson, 11. Josh Bingham (C),13. Hayden Morton, 14 Steve Whyte, 18. Michael Neill (5. Liam O-Dell 36')
Melbourne Heart Youth: 16. Marko Stevanja (Gk) (1. Alastair Bray (Gk) 74'), 2. Jeremy Walker, 3. Philip Petreski (C), 4. David Vrankovic, 5. Sam Mitchinson (14. Ersin Kaya 61') 7. Dylan Macallister, 9. Benjamin Garuccio (10. Marcus Schroen 73') 8. Paulo Retre, 10. Marcus Schroen (6. Alexander Dao 61',) 11. Golgol Mebrahtu (12. Stipo Andrijasevic 61') 15. Baki Efe