Spirited Mariners denied by late Sydney show

The Central Coast Mariners’ National Youth League (NYL) side has suffered a heart-breaking 2-1 defeat at the hands of southern rivals Sydney FC at the Sydney Football Stadium this evening.

The Central Coast Mariners- National Youth League (NYL) side has suffered a heart-breaking 2-1 defeat at the hands of southern rivals Sydney FC at the Sydney Football Stadium this evening.

Brady Smith-s goal just before the half time break put the Mariners in an ideal position to score what seemed an unlikely win over the table-topping Sydney side, whose second half response from Brendan Gan and then Kerim Bulut in the final minute of regulation time ensured the continuation of the sky blues- unblemished record in the NYL.

Ultimately, the Mariners were perhaps unfortunate not to come away from their first visit to the Sydney Football Stadium with at least a point to show for their efforts, but will be heartened by what was a strong showing away from home against the benchmark team of the NYL to date.

"There is a lot that we can take away from tonight that we can be very satisfied with and although we lost and we lost in such a cruel fashion, our boys can hold their heads up high," said Mariners NYL Head Coach Alex Tobin after the match.

"Our goal was very well constructed and equally as well taken by Brady and there were plenty more times where we looked quite promising going forward without landing that killer blow.

"Credit to Sydney FC, they-re a very strong side and showed today why they-ve been so successful in this competition."

Hyundai A-League foursome Andre Gumprecht, Andrea Merenda, Matthew Nash and Greg Owens were each utilised from the opening whistle - the former two earning their first starts of the NYL 2008/09 season.

Each would make a telling impact on a first half where the Mariners more than matched their more fancied opponents and justifiably took a one-goal advantage into the break.

Smith-s header was the perfect finish to a delightful sweeping movement from the visitors that started with Gumprecht before landing at the feet of livewire left back Scott Wright, who then provided an inch perfect centre for Smith, whose back post finish was expert and clinical.

Shortly after the break, Gan drew the home side level with a neat finish from close range, thus commencing a fairly regular sequence of Sydney raids on the Mariners goal that was more often than not confidently dealt with by the Central Coast defence.

In particular, central defenders Nathan Sherlock and Steven Tibbetts were outstanding - each denying their Sydney counterparts with last gasp tackles or goal line clearances at some stage throughout the match.

However, there was no denying Bulut the match winner on the stroke of full time, ensuring that Sydney FC remain at the summit of the NYL ladder after six rounds with the Mariners at the opposite end, despite a showing that belied their lowly position.

"All in all, we-ll take a lot out of tonight and build on this performance in the coming weeks," said Tobin.

"We have one week off to reflect on what has been a very tough introduction to the National Youth League and I-m confident that the spirit and character that exists within this playing group will see us bounce back well in the coming weeks and months."

The Mariners- National Youth League campaign will continue when they return to their Bluetongue Stadium home on Saturday, 15 November to face Adelaide United. Kick off is at 4.45pm.

Tickets for this match are on sale from Ticketek outlets, from the Ticketek website - www.ticketek.com.au, or via phone on 132 849.

Match Details

Central Coast Mariners 1. Matthew Nash (gk), 2. Steven Tibbetts, 5. Nathan Sherlock, 6. Andre Gumprecht, 7. Matthew Lewis, 9. Brady Smith, 11. Darko Vidovic (8. Ty Owens 62-), 12. Scott Wright, 13. Laurence Braude, 15. Greg Owens (10. Glen Trifiro 62-), 21. Andrea Merenda (4. Sean Mitchell 61-)

Yellow Cards None Red Cards None Goals Smith 37-

Sydney FC 20. Vedran Janjetovic (gk), 2. Rhyan Grant, 3. Marc Warren (8. Anthony Musumeci 61-), 4. Chris Triantis, 6. Chris Payne, 7. Robbie Mileski (5. Jared Lum 62-), 9. Sean Rooney (15. Kerim Bulut 61-), 10. Zach Cairncross, 11. Kofi Danning, 12. Ibrahim Haydar, 14. Brendan Gan

Yellow Cards Cairncross 73- Red Cards None Goals Gan 52-, Bulut 89-

Referee Gary Vandeburgt