Central Coast Mariners stole a share of the spoils and managed to extend their unbeaten streak to seven matches after a 2-2 draw with Northern Tigers at North Turramurra.
Central Coast Mariners 2 (T Lyons, Y Petratos) Northern Tigers 2 (JSmylie, M Rolston)
After a goalless first half, the Tigers raced to a 2-0 lead through goals by Jordan Smylie and Michael Rolston but failed to convert a penalty that would've given them a commanding 3-0 advantage.
Two-nil is often a much maligned scoreline in football, and the young Mariners confirmed that theory with lightning quick strikes at the death to Thomas Lyons (86th minute) and Yerasimakis Petratos, who struck the equaliser two minutes into stoppage time.
Mariners coach Ben Cahn acknowledged that the missed penalty was a big turning point in the game.
"At 2-0 it became a difficult challenge for us," Cahn told Football NSW. "Then (Mariners goalkeeper) Adam Pearce made a really good save from the pen. Three nil probably takes the game away from us at that point. But the boys stuck together, never turned on each other, never stopped believing in each other. And showed real desire to protect that seven game unbeaten record and scored two really good goals to help us. I think a draw over the whole 90 minutes was probably fair but that was certainly the toughest game we've had in a long time.
"The Tigers are a serious football team, they've got excellent players all over the pitch, a clever coach, and a really good club. I think they'll be challenging for all sorts of honours at the end of the season."
When asked what impressed him the most about his side's performance, Cahn replied: "It was another home game for us that we had moved down to Sydney. We played our home game at their home ground so while playing away is never a determining factor, it adds to all the small factors that contribute to the end result.
"The fact that the boys just get on with the job and believe in what they're doing and keep adapting and adjusting to different types of opposition and different challenges and just their general attitude and place they're in is impressing me at the moment.
"It was an eventful game, lots happened for both teams and a draw was probably a fair result."
Next up for the Mariners Academy is an away trip to Seymour Shaw in southern Sydney, where the Yellow and Navy will take on second placed St George FC, with kickoff 5:00pm on Sunday 2 July.
- Under 20's: Tigers 2 CCMA 1
- Under 18's: Tigers 6 CCMA 1
Youth Academy results v Bankstown City:
- Under 16's: CCMA 2 BCFC 2
- Under 15's: CCMA 7 BCFC 0
- Under 14's: CCMA 3 BCFC 0
- Under 13's: CCMA 3 BCFC 2