Western quest awaits Mariners Youth

Friday’s 2-all draw with Gold Coast United has seen the Mariners retain a narrow two-point lead at the summit of the National Youth League table heading into this weekend’s clash against Perth Glory.

Friday-s 2-all draw with Gold Coast United has seen the Mariners retain a narrow two-point lead at the summit of the National Youth League table heading into this weekend-s clash against Perth Glory.

The Young Mariners played arguably their worst half of football all campaign in the opening half, and ultimately it was late goals from defender Jerry Kalouris and striker Bernie Ibini-Isei that allowed the Young Mariners to get a share of the points against the Gold Coast.

Head coach Tony Walmsley was clearly not impressed with the efforts of his side in the first-half colorfully labeling it as a "pig-s ear of a mess" as his side almost allowed the visitors to run away with the match by constantly producing fundamental errors. Walmsley knows his side cannot afford a similar start against Perth.

"The second half against the Gold Coast was a true demonstration of our attacking capability.

"Perth is a very well managed team and hard to break down, but if we can replicate the ball speed and movement of last week then we can create chances against them," Walmsley said.

It was an uncharacteristic performance from the home side but the team showed great character to fight back in the second half and display the type of form that has taken them to the top of the table.

Saturday-s trip to the West will not be an easy match for the Young Mariners as they strive to pick up all-important points in the final stage of the season. Adding to the pressure of the longest road trip in the domestic National Youth League, their opponents having lost second spot on the table on the back of goal-difference will be desperate for a result.

Perth also have the luxury of being well rested having last laced a boot in anger eleven days ago. After going unbeaten in their last nine matches, including an unprecedented seven consecutive wins the Glory will be fuming at having lost 2-1 in their last start against Adelaide United.

The men from the west will be relishing the prospect of taking on the team from the Central Coast. In their last two matches against Tony Walmsley-s charges the Glory have managed to take home all six available points after two 1-nil wins. It is a result the Mariners are hoping to reverse as they compete for one of four finals positions.

The Young Mariners are not daunted by the challenge that awaits them and have been preparing in earnest for what looms as a season-defining clash.

"The challenge of beating Perth has proved too great in 2 home games, but in both we have had tight affairs and squandered decent chances.

"In addition to the travel the players will have to contend with the loss of Manny Giannaros (groin) and the possibility of Mitch Mallia stepping up into first grade," Walmsley said.

At its core, football is a basic game with the intention of scoring goals and stopping the other team from doing the same to you. It is a simple methodology that Walmsley hopes his side will be able to execute with precision against Perth.

"Our objectives will be simple with ball retention our priority on the back of a tight defence.

"This is our third game in a row against top 4 opposition and so far we have shown a decent level of mentality to go on with the job," Walmsley said.

Saturday-s clash with Perth Glory will be the 6th competitive clash between the two clubs, and the third of this campaign.

Previous Meetings

Fri 26 Sept 2008 - Central Coast Mariners 0 Perth Glory 1, Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford. Sat 29 Nov 2008 - Central Coast Mariners 2 Perth Glory 1, Members Equity Stadium, Perth. Sat 3 Jan 2009 - Central Coast Mariners 2 Perth Glory 2, Frank Millington Field, Buff Point. Sat 28 Nov 2009 - Central Coast Mariners 0 Perth Glory 1, Pluim Park, Lisarow. Sat, 3 Jan 2010 - Central Coast Mariners 0 Perth Glory 1, Pluim Park, Lisarow.

Perth Glory Squad: Tommy AMPHLETT, Ludovic BOI, Tim DOYLE (gk), Cameron EDWARDS, Dean EVANS, Howard FONDYKE, Brent GRIFFITHS, Steve HESKETH, Mario MARCINKO, Sam MITCHINSON, Alex PEARSON (gk), Ryan PEARSON, David PRICE, Joshua RISDON, Glen TRIFIRO, Reece VITTIGLIA, Aleks VRTESKI (gk) *two to be omitted*

Unavailable: Million BUTSHIIRE (knee - 6 weeks), Anthony SKORICH (suspended)

Central Coast Mariners squad: Mathew RYAN (GK), Nikodin MATIC (GK), Shane HUKE (OA), Jonathan BROWN (OA), Panny NIKAS (C), Matthew LEWIS, Matthew LIDDALL, Nathan SHERLOCK, Brady SMITH, Jerry KALOURIS, Brendan GRIFFIN, Nick FITZGERALD, Bernie IBINI-ISEI, Luka DUKIC, Adam ORMSBY, Gavin FORBES, Mitchell MALLIA. *two to be omitted*

Unavailable: Manny GIANNAROS (groin - 1 week)

Referee: Mathew CHEESMAN

The Central Coast Mariners National Youth League team is in action this Saturday, January 30th against the Perth Glory at Clipsal Stadium, Inglewood. Kick-off is at 5:00pm WST.