Central Coast are still searching for a maiden win after nine rounds in the Foxtel National Youth League after they threw away a two-goal lead for the second week running before falling 4-3 to the Melbourne Victory in Tuggerah on Sunday.
Central Coast are still searching for a maiden win after nine rounds in the Foxtel National Youth League 2013/14 after they threw away a two-goal lead for the second week running before falling 4-3 to the Melbourne Victory in Tuggerah on Sunday.
The result sees Melbourne move to 16 points and a share of second spot behind runaway league leaders Sydney FC (21 points).
The Victory, who clinched their fifth win of the season, raced out of the gates when Jesse Makarounas finished off a neat play from the left channel to give Melbourne the lead after only four minutes.
Five minutes later Makarounas had a free kick attempt parried away from the top right corner by Mariners goalkeeper Tonu Liiband.
After a slow start the Mariners came back into the contest with two goals either side of the pre-arranged drinks break, as the temperature passed 31 degrees.
Josh Bingham slid through the ball for Steve Whyte to finish a neat play in the 17th minute.
Bingham featured again when he drove an attempt from 35 metres out to beat Victory goalkeeper Keegan Coulter.
Ten minutes later Tasmanian Jesse Curran's free kick saw Patrick Dixon first make an attempt before the Mariners only overage player Brent Griffiths, returning from suspension, buried his shot into the visitors' net.
A fortuitous goal to former Roar player Anthony Proia, who managed to lift the ball over Liiband, saw Darren Davies' side come back into the match to be down 3-2 at the break.
Having ridden their luck to get back into the game the Victory grabbed the lead back with two goals in six minutes early in the second stanza.
Out of the midfield Christopher Cristaldo played in captain Dylan Murnane for the equaliser in the 51st minute.
After a quiet first half, former Rangers man Francesco Stella found Cristaldo who turned goalscorer with a right-foot strike from just outside the right edge of the box for the lead.
Both sides spurned chances in the final third of the game as the energy-sapping conditions took their toll.
It was a gallant win for last year's title winners considering they only had a two-man outfield bench.
A-League squad member Scott Galloway, who was due to feature, was sent home sick from Melbourne airport just before the squad was due to depart on Sunday morning having played the night earlier in the Melbourne derby.
Central Coast Mariners 3 (Whyte 17', Bingham 25', Griffiths 35') Melbourne Victory 4 (Makarounas 4', Proia 37', Murnane 51', Cristaldo 57') Central Coast Mariners Centre of Excellence, Tuggerah
Central Coast Mariners: 12.Tonu Liiband (Gk), 2.Jacob Esposito, 6. Brent Griffiths (C), 8. Nathan Verity (3. Joshua Forbes 59'), 9.Patrick Dixon, 10. Dominic Ferguson, 11. Josh Bingham (14. Steve Whyte 87'), 13. Hayden Morton (5. Liam O-Dell 42'), 14 Steve Whyte (15. Lachlan Everett 59'), 16. Jesse Curran, 18. Michael Neill
Melbourne Victory: 1. Keegan Coulter (Gk) 3. Milos Ridesic, 4. James Karvelis, 5. Dylan Murnane (C), 6. Jordan Brown (12. Anthony Duzel 62'), 7. Christopher Cristaldo, 8. Jimmy Jeggo, 9. Jesse Makarounas, 10. John Buceto, 11. Anthony Proia (15. Damien Miskulin 62') 18. Francesco Stella